Discover for yourself what tens of thousands of volunteers have learned: Volunteering for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is fun and rewarding in many ways. Master new skills. Meet new friends. Enjoy a sense of accomplishment from doing your part to further wildlife conservation for the pleasure of generations to follow.

The refuge offers a variety of volunteer opportunities, including staffing the visitor center and assisting in education programs. A work camping program, bartering an RV campsite and utilities in exchange for work hours, enables individuals from all walks of life to enhance the refuge using their individual experiences and expertise. Pocosin Lakes NWR offers remote rural RV campsite locations as well as locations located at the Red Wolf Center near Columbia, NC.

The Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society, a nonprofit local organization, was established to provide support for continued maintenance of the refuge and its educational programs, and to recruit volunteers for continuation of this process.


National Wildlife Refuges in North Carolina offer a variety of internships. The primary purposes of the intern program are to identify potential employees for the National Wildlife Refuge System and to introduce potential employees to the National Wildlife Refuge System. For this reason, internships are usually filled by college students or recent graduates. Interns provide a valuable work force for these refuges. Having an interest or goal of future employment with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not a requirement for those applying to be refuge interns.  Interns live in housing provided by the refuge.

Pocosin Lakes and Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge Internship

This internship is an opportunity to work & gain experience in all refuge functions on the 50K acre Mattamuskeet and the 110K acre Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuges.  Projects include water quality on Lake Mattamuskeet, pocosin wetland restoration, visitor services, and general maintenance. Interns will work independently or with refuge staff or volunteers.  Work assignments with refuge maintenance could include mowing, trimming, trail work, sign maintenance, light carpentry, trash collection and pickup. Biological work could include identification, mapping and treating invasive plant species, collecting weekly water quality data, and changing filters in an air quality monitoring station.  Pocosin wetland restoration includes clearing, monitoring and measuring water control structures to record hydrology levels within a habitat management unit. Visitor services assignments could include greeting visitors, answering questions, presenting/assisting with educational programs, restocking brochures across the refuge and occasionally assisting in the visitor center or rarely in the headquarters office. This internship consists of approximately half your time in maintenance, and half in bio/visitor services. Opportunities are possible to visit and work at other refuges in the area. General refuge internships run from mid-May through August, with possible extensions to stay through October to finish out bio work and assist with our Wings over Water event.  The Mattamuskeet and Pocosin Lakes refuges are remote/rural sites but interns can stay in a bunk house with moderately fast internet, a full kitchen, 3 bedrooms and two full bathrooms.

All interns may be involved in more than one refuge program. This gives an intern a well-rounded look at and direct involvement with many aspects of national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

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operations. This experience often proves useful when searching for jobs after your internship. Interns often have the opportunity to spend a few days at a nearby U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service fish hatchery. Interns may have the opportunity for wildland firefighting training and exposure.

To Apply

Resumes are accepted all year. Resume reviews begin in October for selection for the summer intern positions, which run mid-May through the end of August. If the refuge has work, sometimes one or two interns are asked to remain through October. 

It is highly recommended that you apply as early as possible. A cover letter, resume and three references with email contact information are required. No matter when they're received, all resumes will be held and considered.

You will increase your chance of being selected if you’re open to internships at any of the four refuges. We typically receive many more applications than the positions we have to fill.

In most cases, to be considered for an internship position, an applicant must be able to stay a minimum of three months. However, in rare cases, slightly shorter internships have been scheduled.

Internships are volunteer positions. However, housing and a small monetary award is provided.

To apply, mail a resume, three references, and a cover letter indicating your specific interests and dates available to Tracey Rock tracey_rock@fws.gov . In your application, indicate your specific interests and describe your background and experience relating to the following:

  • Forestry management techniques
  • Wildlife identification and surveys
  • GPS concepts and applications/general computer skills
  • Basic plant taxonomy
  • Public interpretive programs
  • Canoeing
  • Operation of ATV & motor boats
  • Maintenance (trail and other)

Be sure to provide your dates of availability!