Connecting Latino Youth to Natural Resource Conservation: Northeast Urban Wildlife Refuges Program

The US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) have partnered to connect diverse college students to careers in natural resource conservation. This internship program was designed to hire and train undergrad and graduate students at national wildlife refuges throughout the Northeast (locations are listed below). As part of the Service's Urban Wildlife Conservation Program, the partnership will also expand the agency's connections with Latino communities. 

Project Goal & Objectives

The partners’ long-term goal for this project is to build a strong number of inspired, skilled, culturally, ethnically, and economically diverse young people who have experienced natural resource careers. This will result in a diverse workforce of conservationists that reflects the composition of the regional population.

Through this project, HAF will select and oversee seven highly motivated students, ages 18-35, who will be introduced to natural resource careers through 12-week paid internships involving hands-on work with, and training by, natural resource professionals employed by the USFWS. Each intern will receive a weekly stipend of $400 based on a 40-hour workweek, plus a commuting stipend if needed. Local or on-site housing and travel expenses will be provided for out-of-state students. Students will be introduced to various real-world public education, interpretation, and communications, conservation, and rehabilitation activities through work assignments at seven USFWS sites and through informal and/or formal training sessions provided by USFWS employees. Participants will receive specialized training, mentoring and ongoing support from HAF to effectively carry out their assignments and to build or enhance skills such as culturally appropriate or bilingual community outreach in a manner consistent with local site priorities. Young adults will gain an understanding of the opportunities for careers in natural resources and will build skills and experience required for success in these careers.   

Basic Eligibility

  • Local candidates strongly preferred; priority will be given to applicants currently living in the Northeast region (including the states of MA, CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA, MD, and DC) or individuals with previous community ties in the region.
  • Ages 18 to 35
  • Possess US citizenship or US work authorization
  • Be enrolled in a post-secondary educational program or have graduated from college within the past year
  • Have a strong interest — or relevant experience —  in areas pertaining to natural resource management, wildlife management, biology, community outreach, environmental education
  • Bilingual skills (Spanish/English) are preferred but not required for all positions


  • Applications must be submitted by February 10, 2017.
  • Highest priority will be given to applications received by January 31, 2017.  
  • Top candidates will be selected for interviews by the first week of March and will receive additional details about specific assignments.
  • Final placement decisions and assignments will be made by the end of March 2017.
  • The 12-week internship period will generally begin in late May and conclude in August 2017, depending on specific requirements of the project site.

Selection criteria 

Candidates may express interest in specific sites. Specific assignments will be based on best fit with the unique requirements of each FWS refuge. Final candidates will undergo a background check before beginning their assignment. Applications will be reviewed and rated according to the following criteria: 

  • Relevant educational and work experience
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Professionalism, technical knowledge, and expertise
  • Adaptability and ability to work effectively with diverse audiences. 


Available Positions

The available internship assignments with USFWS and The Urban Wildlife Refuge Program are listed below. The Urban Wildlife Refuge Program is a national USFWS program that works to connect urban communities to local natural resources.

Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
Oceanville, NJ
Natural Resource/Outreach Intern
Read Full Description 

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Basom, NY
Biological/Outreach Intern 
Read Full Description 

Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge
Springfield and Hadley, MA
Urban Outreach/Fisheries Intern  
Read Full Description 

Positions Currently Being Filled

The application period for the following positions has been closed. HAF is in the process of selecting interns for these sites.

Wallkill River & Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuges
Northern New Jersey (Basking Ridge, NJ)
Natural Resource and Environmental Interpretation Interns
Read Full Description 

Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge
Springfield and Hadley, MA
Natural Resource and Environmental Interpretation Intern 
Read Full Description 

Patuxent Research Refuge
Laurel, MD
Environmental Education and Interpretation Intern  
Read Full Description 

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
Philadelphia, PA
Environmental Education and Interpretation Intern   
Read Full Description 

Positions Filled

  • Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex – Providence, RI
    Environmental Education and Interpretation Intern 
  • Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge – New Haven, CT
    Environmental Education and Interpretation Intern