ACE EPIC USFWS NORTHEAST REGION: 10 At-Risk Species Conservation Fellows

American Conservation Experience Hadley, Massachusetts
Job Type Seasonal / temporary

Summary: American Conservation Experience, a Nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), is seeking 10 At-Risk Species Conservation Fellows to contribute to some of the Northeast region's greatest conservation opportunities in 2019.

Region 5 of the Service is implementing a new program to conserve At-Risk species before it becomes necessary to invoke regulatory protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The At-Risk species effort includes many species under review for ESA listing, but the Service has prioritized species that can benefit from immediate coordinated action to address conservation needs or resolve uncertainties about their status.  Top-priority At-Risk species in Region 5 include the frosted elfin butterfly, wood turtle, spotted turtle, saltmarsh sparrow, Chesapeake logperch, and many others. To expedite surveys and conservation action for these species, close coordination among Service programs, National Wildlife Refuges (NWR), state wildlife agencies, and other conservation partners is essential.  The Service is addressing this need by creating a total of 10 seasonal At-Risk Conservation Fellowships. Two of the Fellowships will be designated as Fellowship Coordinators with team leadership responsibilities and additional compensatory award.  The Service is seeking the highest caliber candidates who are committed to careers in conservation science.  At-Risk Conservation Fellowships are not internships designed for the inexperienced'fellows will be expected to have experience, to learn independently, and to provide problem solving and leadership to address the region's top conservation challenges.  In return, they will be exposed to high-profile conservation projects, seasoned conservation scientists, and leading organizations.     

Start Date:  April 29, 2019 (on or about)

End Date: 16 weeks from the start date (with the potential for extension at the end of the term)    

Location: Two At-Risk Conservation Fellows will be stationed at each of the following National Wildlife Refuges: Eastern Massachusetts NWR Complex (Massachusetts), Ninigret NWR (Rhode Island), Wertheim NWR (Long Island, New York), Edwin B. Forsythe NWR (New Jersey), and Blackwater NWR (Maryland).  Fellows will be required to travel overnight, and may be temporarily stationed at alternative locations, including campsites, to complete short-term conservation projects.

Project Website:To learn more about the USFWS Northeast Region, please visit To learn more about ACE EPIC Internship Program, please visit:

Compensation: The ACE Fellows will contribute ~40 hours/week and receive a living allowance of $700/week paid out biweekly for food and incidental living expenses. Fellowship Coordinators receive a living allowance of $750/week paid out biweekly for food and incidental living expenses.  Unless seasonal housing is assigned by the Service, a housing allowance of $100/week will be paid out biweekly.  Vehicles to use during work hours will be provided.  A travel allowance will be allocated to each individual. 

 PLC Competitive Hiring Authority: This position is authorized by the Public Land Corps (PLC) Act of 1993 and expanded by the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2013. Interns who meet basic requirements during their term of service may be eligible to receive their Noncompetitive Hiring Eligibility Certificate to be used when applying to future federal jobs. Requirements are: (1) Intern must be between the ages of 18 to 30 and (2) Intern must complete at least 640 hours on a federally approved PLC Project. More information can be provided upon request. 

Work Schedule: Fellows will generally work Monday-Friday, although weekend field workmay occasionally be required.   

Position Description:  At-Risk Conservation Fellows will conduct surveys and engage in diverse conservation efforts to benefit At-Risk species in the Northeastern United States. Fellows will work both on and off NWR land, in coordination with conservation partners, and sometimes travelling overnight to remote locations. Although Fellows will be expected to operate independently throughout the season, and to independently study the identification and biology of target species, they will receive valuable field training and guidance throughout the season from a team of the region's top wildlife biologists. The highest-priority task will be to conduct surveys for the frosted elfin butterfly and submit data when the surveys are complete. Subsequently, they will engage in restoration activities, such as finding suitable sites for the collection of host plant seeds, establishing plantings, clearing vegetation with hand tools, and providing hands-on assistance to partners engaged in restoration. Fellows will typically leave the NWR facility each day to conduct surveys or restoration activity on partner-owned properties or private lands, in coordination with Service and State biologists.  When frosted elfin surveys are complete, Fellows will follow a schedule of survey and restoration activities developed by the project managers to benefit other At-Risk species, potentially including turtle surveys, saltmarsh sparrow restoration, engagement with zoo propagation efforts, and assistance with partner research efforts. Fellows will be exposed to a range of habitat restoration techniques, potentially including controlled burning.    

Additional Responsibilities and Requirements for At-Risk Fellowship Coordinators: At-Risk Conservation Fellowship Coordinators will perform all the tasks described for At-Risk Conservation Fellows, and serve as leaders within the team of 10.  The Coordinators will serve as a responsible point of contact for project managers seeking to disseminate administrative information to the team, and as point of contact for team members seeking administrative information from project managers.  Coordinators will ensure the team members attend scheduled meetings and training as necessary.  Coordinators will provide assistance arranging travel and procuring supplies within the allotted project budgets and with the approval of project managers. Applicants for Coordinator positions must display leadership traits, provide leadership recommendations, and demonstrate experience leading groups or teams in projects or the workplace.

Physical Requirements: This internship position requires physical exertion such as walking long distances over wet and rough surfaces while carrying up to 40 lbs; bending, crouching, stooping, lifting or reaching. Hand and finger dexterity and physical coordination may involve fine and precise procedures, delicate adjustments or exact measurements.

Qualifications:At-Risk Conservation Fellows and Fellowship Coordinator positions require a higher level of independence and leadership than typical seasonal internships due to the complexity of working with numerous conservation partners, diverse field methodologies, multiple properties, independent learning and navigation, and responsibility for remote activities.  Fellows will be required to solve problems independently in the field and quickly adapt to changing circumstances. Through independent study, applicants should be familiar with the biology and identification of the species described here. Fellows will expected to be prepared for inclement weather at all times.


  • Fellowship is available to US Citizens and Permanent Residents only
  • Fellow must be between the age of 18 and 30 (up to 35 for military veterans)
  • Must have a valid driver's license, be 21 years of age to drive a vehicle, provide documentation of a clean driving record; and have a personal vehicle (recommended)
  • Must take all measures possible to ensure the safety of yourself and othersand understand all safety precautions involved
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills (e.g. structured decision making and issues identification skills)
  • A working knowledge of ArcGIS
  • Good organizational skills (e.g. data management, files management)
  • Ability and willingness to undergo a Federal criminal background check
  • Experience conducting independent field work
  • Basic knowledge of Northeast wildlife and habitats, including pine barrens, riparian habitats, and salt marsh.  
  • Skill in recognizing Northeast plants and wildlife and/or knowledge of the anatomical features of butterflies, turtles, and other taxa
  • Required coursework includes GIS, ecology, botany, and/or zoology with a field practicum component.
  • Use of handheld GPS devices, familiarity with GPS applications accessible on smartphones, navigation to remote sites, and documenting coordinates
  • Adept at using spreadsheets to enter data
  • Willing to travel and work long days in hot sun and/or wet conditions
  • Fellows must supply their own phone and computer for data entry


  • Strong desire to enter the public service field as a conservation professional
  • Experience and/or knowledge in the mission of the USFWS and other federal land management agencies
  • Ongoing or completed Master's level education
  • Experience working outdoors in varied weather
  • Applicants interested in working in Rhode Island or Massachusetts/New Hampshire who can provide their own housing may be preferred
  • Ability to begin work in April will be strongly preferred

Fellows must be willing to represent ACE and the FWS in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner.  ACE reserves the right to require drug testing.


To Apply: Please submit a thoughtful resume, cover letter, and transcript 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: 

Fellows will be assigned to one of the five locations (described above) based on interviews with US Fish and Wildlife Service. Applicants interested in the Fellowship Coordinator positions should be sure to address the qualifications described in the "Additional Responsibilities and Requirements for At-Risk Fellowship Coordinators" section in their cover letter.

NOTE: Early consideration will be given as applications are received.  If you have any questions regarding this position, please feel free to contact ACE EPIC USFWS Recruitment and Member Manager, Melissa Early at (801) 573-8984 or

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.