National Wildlife Refuge System

Summer Jobs for Youth

Apryl Bantom, 2011 Career Discovery Intern in Northeast Region
Apryl Bantom, 2011 Career Discovery Intern in Northeast Region
Credit: USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the country’s 556 national wildlife refuges, hopes to hire more than 2,300 young people this summer, as it did in 2011. Apply now to work on a national wildlife refuge or other public land.

Start here to learn about 2012 job opportunities for young people in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Scroll down to “Student Employment Opportunities” to learn about jobs through program partners such as the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and AmeriCorps. For other opportunities on refuges, such as those through the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), contact your local refuge (using the “Find Your Refuge” feature on the Refuge System homepage). 

For young people, jobs on national wildlife refuges can stimulate learning and personal growth. In some cases, the experience can even be life-changing, say some with firsthand experience:

  • Kiara Ford, a sophomore at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, was a summer 2011 Career Discovery Intern at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. Among the agriculture/business major’s responsibilities: greeting visitors, building a trail and monitoring the growth of marsh plants used by tundra swans — a measure of sea-level rise. “I loved everything about [the experience],” she said. “It really broadened my horizons.” 

  • Isaac Coleman from Atlanta helped protect nesting sea turtles as a 2011 Career Discovery Intern at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in coastal Alabama. “By the second week I felt part of the team,” he says in a Youtube video. He adds, “I feel lucky to actually have this experience.” 

  • Lionel D. Grant, who works as a park ranger at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois while earning a masters degree in forestry at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, first crossed paths with the Service in 2008 as an SCA intern at Cape May National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey. He tagged horseshoe crabs, surveyed bats and helped visitors. The experience got him thinking: “I really like working with animals, I love working with people and I love being outside. With a career with the Service, I can do all three.” He has pursued that since, as a Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) hire at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (summer 2010), Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Minnesota (summer 2011) and Crab Orchard Refuge (fall 2011-2012). “The Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) is a great way to get your foot in the door,” he says. “SCEP is a great way to secure your career.”

Learn about other 2012 conservation jobs and internships with the Department of the Interior (DOI) at and Read about DOI’s Youth in the Great Outdoors program. Listings are for both permanent and temporary jobs. DOI manages the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and other bureaus and offices.   See videos and personal stories from young people working in the Service’s Northeast Region.

Youth job candidates are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Most internships include a stipend, and others are volunteer positions.

Last updated: February 21, 2012