American Conservation Experience - EPIC & CORPS
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • CO, USA
  • $500/ week
  • Other
  • Internship
  • EPIC

Summary:  American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, is seeking TWO AIM Interns to dedicate 20 weeks in assistance to BLM Biologists in completing this year's Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) objectives.

This opportunity is intended for enthusiastic professionals with a background in botany, biology, conservation, ecology, natural resource management, or a closely related field, with a deep interest in jointly advancing their career goals and the stewardship of Colorado's natural resources through purposeful fieldwork and research. 


Start Date: TBD; Late April- Early May

End Date:  TBD; September


Location: San Luis Valley Field Office (SLVFO) Monte Vista, CO


Project Background and Objectives:  Under the direction and supervision of the BLM Biologist the participants will monitor areas within the 500,000 acres of public lands managed by the BLM's San Luis Valley Field Office (SLVFO). This area presents myriad ecosystems, ranging from alpine desert to the majestic Sangre de Cristo Wilderness on the eastern side of the Valley. Range allotments across the field office will be inventoried and/or monitored for permit renewals as well as determining the overall condition of the landscape. The participants will manage all aspects of vegetation monitoring on the treatments using the Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) methodology and an understanding and experience with identifying vegetation to species is essential for the position.

Within all plots vegetation will be identified to species, line-point intercept will be used to gather species cover and composition data, shrub density will be measured, and soil descriptions will be required. All point data will be gathered using a GPS unit and stored in an ArcGIS geo-database. Once fieldwork is completed, the data will be entered into a DIMA (Database for Inventory, Monitoring, and Assessment) database, analyzed, and synthesized into a report for future land management planning.

Site Information and History:  The SLVFO is located in south-central Colorado, the San Luis Valley covers Alamosa, Rio Grande, Costilla, Conejos, Saguache, and Mineral counties. Within the SLVFO, there are seven Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, three Wilderness Study Areas, and four Solar Energy Zones. 

The SLVFO is home to the Congressionally-designated Rio Grande Natural Area. It is also deeply connected on a landscape scale with the recently named Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in the Taos Field Office. The San Luis Valley has a rich cultural landscape that includes traces of the mammoth hunters of the Late Pleistocene (ca. 12,000 BC), Hispanic settlements and the gold mining camps of Bonanza and Duncan. Stone structures throughout the Valley suggest a possible Puebloan influence, and culturally peeled trees reflect the migrations of the Utes and Jicarilla Apaches.

The Valley's wetland environments drew people from as far away as the high plains to exploit the rich game resources that included waterfowl, fish, elk and bison. The Valley also boasts segments of the Old Spanish Trail (1829-1848) and the newly established Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.

The SLVFO manages a diversity of wildlife habitat ranging from low-elevation wetlands to mid-elevation ponderosa pine forests. Waterfowl, shorebirds, amphibians and other wildlife inhabit the rich wetlands, while species such as the Gunnison prairie dog live in the dry low elevation grasslands. Black bear, mountain lion and mule deer are prevalent in the low and mid-elevation forests and bighorn sheep inhabit some of the steep rock terrain managed by the field office. Special status species in the area include: Mexican spotted owl, Mountain plover, the Southwest willow flycatcher, Gunnison prairie dog, and the Yellow-billed cuckoo.


Compensation:  $400 to $500 per week living allowance, depending on experience.  Typical workweek will be 8-10 hours/day, 4-5 days/week.  Some survey protocols will require an adjustment of the workday, however bi-weekly totals will amount to 80 hours.

AmeriCorps: This position may be eligible for an AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of internship service hours. Additional AmeriCorps enrollment is required. Award may range from $1,500 to $2,887.

Housing: Housing is not provided and the participants will be responsible for finding their own housing. A number of rental units exist within and around the Alamosa area.


Position Description:  Approximately 90% of the work will be outdoor fieldwork and 10% will be office work.  Fieldwork will be in an outdoor environment where climate, weather, and terrain require can be demanding.


Training: The crew will attend a training provided by the Jornada Experimental Range and the BLM's National Operations Center. They will also be trained in Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health.  AIM crews will be paired with a staff Biologist to provide oversight and mentorship, and are encouraged to network with SLVFO BLM staff.  CPR and First Aid Training will be provided if a participant's certification is out of date.


Qualifications: Applicants should have degree in ecology, botany, range science, wildlife biology, natural resource management, biology, conservation biology, or related field.  

The applicant must have experience identifying plants to species and experience with a taxonomic key is essential to the position to identify flora to species. A familiarity with southern Colorado and northern New Mexican flora is beneficial.


  • Interns must have a high a high fitness level and an interest in backcountry travel on foot
  • Interns must be US citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Must be 18-35 years of age
  • Must have a valid driver's license, clean driving record, and use of a personal vehicle
  • Experience traveling in a backcountry environment
  • Plant identification skills
  • Ability to work alone/in a small group with minimal supervision
  • Experience and/or ability to learn use of GPS unit
  • Must be able and willing to work outdoors and be capable of lifting 50 lbs
  • Must be able to take initiative, work independently, and participate in collaborative efforts
  • Must be able to communicate clearly and concisely with resource professionals
  • Proficiency in English
  • Ability and willingness to undergo a federal criminal background check is required


  • Ability to apply GIS and related technology in support of natural resource management
  • Practical knowledge of the general land use-planning process and land management programs
  • Bilingual applicants are encouraged and welcome

AIM/ACE Crew must be willing to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner.  Drug users should not consider applying, as ACE reserves the right to require drug testing.


To Apply: Please submit a thoughtful resume and cover letter along with 3 professional references using the APPLY NOW section, located on the upper right hand corner of the position listing on our website here:

NOTE: Early consideration will be given as applications are received.  If you have any questions regarding this position, please feel free to contact BLM AIM Program Coordinator, Katelyn Jordan at 385-377-4116 or at

American Conservation Experience - EPIC & CORPS
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