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Manteo, NC
United States

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U S Fish and Wildlife Internships


Locations: Alligator River, Pea Island, Pocosin Lakes and Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuges

                  North Carolina


           Red Wolf Caretaker/General Internship: January – April; May – August and September –                                      December, 3 Yearly


            General Internships mid. May – August (or October if needed and available) 9 Yearly



Intern descriptions

Below is the link to our refuges web site. Internship information is under 'Get Involved" and 'Internships'


We accept resumes all year. We begin resume review in October  for selection for the summer intern positions, mid- May through August 2018, with a 1-2 intern option to remain through October if the refuge has work needs. It is highly recommended that you apply as early as possible. We require a cover letter, resume and three references with email contact information. All resumes will be held and considered.


  As you may or may not be aware, our Red Wolf Recovery Program has been under review. One result is the lack of need for a full time specified Red Wolf Caretaker. The difference will be that the Red Wolf Caretaker will feed, monitor wolves and enclosures, Monday, Wednesday and Friday (1-2 hrs. max) and will otherwise perform general refuge Intern duties.  All interns, including the Red Wolf Caretaker, will be involved in all other refuge programs. We have a Turtle Patrol and Turtle Watch program all summer. We train interns, in May, on our ATV's to patrol the beach for turtle crawls. We have a later training for Turtle watch, which is monitoring turtle nest and hatchlings at night. Our Interns have the opportunity to spend a few days at a nearby fish hatchery, as well as assist on our refuges with water management, bird nesting closures and bird surveys. Each year refuge Interns participate in Pelican and Tern banding trips in June and July. We have public programs for recreation and Interpretation such as canoe trips and "Turtle talks", tram tours and bear tours, as well as the Red Wolf Howling; Interns are trained to lead these trips. They also help out in our Visitor Centers if needed.

All Interns, Red Wolf Caretaker included, assist with refuge maintenance, as does all refuge staff, i.e. mowing, trimming, trail work, invasive plant control (spraying herbicides)  and other maintenance as it comes up.  This Internship is about 1/3 Bio work, 1/3 Public programs and Visitor Center, and 1/3 maintenance work.

General refuge internships run from mid-May to August 31st, each year. We also ask one or two Interns each year to stay through October to finish out bio work and assist with our “Wings over Water” event.


We are also recruiting Interns for Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife refuge, (check them out on the web and see descriptions below)


Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is in need of two General Refuge Interns each summer. This internship is an opportunity to work & gain experience in all refuge functions including waterfowl management, pocosin wetland restoration, visitor services, and general maintenance on a 110k acre wildlife refuge working 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; pocosin wetland restoration includes clearing, monitoring and measuring water control structures along with manipulation of those structures to regulate hydrology levels within a habitat management unit. Visitor services assignments could include greeting visitors, answering questions, restocking brochures across the refuge and occasionally assisting in the visitor center or rarely in the headquarters office.  This internship consists of approx. half your time in maintenance, and half in bio/visitor services. Other opportunities are possible to visit and work at other refuges in the area. Pocosin Lakes Interns will also have the opportunity to participate in the Turtle Patrol & Turtle Watch program throughout the summer on Pea Island refuge and receive ATV/UTV training to patrol the beach and look for turtle crawls.  Turtle watch is monitoring the nests for boils and hatchlings.  Our Interns also have the opportunity to spend a few days at a nearby fish hatchery if desired, as well as assisting with bird nesting closures and bird surveys on nearby refuges.  Interns also participate in the annual pelican and tern banding trips. General refuge internships run from mid-May to August 31st with possible extensions to stay through October to finish out bio work and assist with our Wings over Water event.  The Pocosin Lakes refuge is a remote/rural site but offers a bunk house located on the water’s edge of Lake Phelps. This bunkhouse offers satellite internet, full kitchen, 3 bedrooms and two full bathrooms.


Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge needs one Intern each summer, mid- May through August 31st and one fall Intern,.

This internship is involved with all Refuge programs including biology, visitor services, and maintenance.  Interns work with the refuge Biologist to collect monitoring data on the refuge.  Interns will learn how to monitor water-quality and hydrology in the lake and surrounding canals and ditches, conduct osprey and tern productivity surveys as well as shorebird and waterfowl surveys depending on the season, and monitor and control invasive plant species. Interns will have the opportunity to assist with the development of electronic data collection platforms at the refuge. Additionally, interns will learn how to manage and analyze data using excel and other statistical programs.  Interns with GIS skills can assist with the development of a Refuge GIS database.  Interns will also be encouraged to complete an independent research/interpretation project of their interest related to refuge Biology; these can include environmental education programs or a small research project on a topic of interest to both the Refuge and intern.  This internship is designed to provide a well-rounded experience to students interested in a career in natural resource management.  Due to the fact that much of the work on this Refuge is done from boats, Interns must be comfortable on the boats and working over water and possess the ability to swim.  Boating and trailering experience is a plus.

Interns are also given the opportunity to participate in other refuge programs, as scheduling allows i.e. Pelican and Tern banding as well as Turtle patrol and turtle watch.  

The fall Internship: a 12-week internship would ideally cover the months of December - Feb.  Start date could be slightly flexible depending on school schedules, but ideally, they could assist with Swan Days (Sat., Dec.9).  The intern would be responsible for running the duck hunts and assist with our ground counts (both field data collection and data entry).  Interview questions:

1)  How comfortable are you interacting with the public?  Are you providing instruction to a group of 20-30 adults?  Are you comfortable handling money and checking people out for hunts?  Please provide examples of appropriate experience.

2) A primary duty of the job is to run the public hunts on the Refuge. Are you supportive of a Refuge hunt program? Are you comfortable identifying and handling dead birds?  Are you prepared to start work between 4:30 and 5:00 am?

3)  The other primary duty of the job is working with our biologist/bio tech to perform routine ground counts and enter the data into our IWMM database.  Do you have experience identifying and counting birds?  Are you comfortable identifying waterfowl?  Do you have experience recording and entering data?  Can you provide examples?

4)  Winter is the busy season on the Refuge.  We may on occasion need help in the visitor center.  Are you amenable to helping in the visitor center and answering phones?

5) The Refuge is located in a remote part of North Carolina, 15 miles from the nearest dollar general and 45 minutes from the nearest supermarket.  You will be sharing a comfortable bunk house with other staff.  Do you have experience living and working in a remote field station?  




Obviously, being open to any of these refuges' Internships will increase your chance of being selected as we have over 75 applicants and a total of 13 positions each year. 


A few goals achieved in a USFWS Internship:

1. You will learn and gain field experience in bio work, bird nest protection, banding and surveys, turtle patrol, and turtle nest monitoring, just to name a few....


2. You will successfully lead public educational programs and become more comfortable in the Interpretation role.


3. You will learn to safely use appropriate maintenance equipment for bio and refuge work, ie  ATV training, tractor /mower use, herbicide use ...


4. You will follow USFWS policy and work (as a new hire would) in abiding by these regulations and working with refuge staff and other volunteers in a professional manner.


5. All of this will help you in learning more about your chosen field of work and about yourself, to help  guide you in your decisions about future career goals. 


To apply, please email a cover letter with interest and dates available, resume and three references with email contact information to



We look forward to hearing from you. 



How to Apply:

Applications are accepted year round. Selection begins in September for the following summer. Email your resume, cover letter and three references with email contact information to or call 252-473-1131 ext.227 for further information.