Interpretation Member (Oconaluftee) - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

American Conservation Experience

Cherokee, North Carolina

Job Type Paid Internship
Salary Details 600/week
Deadline Oct 13, 2023
Required Experience 0 - 1 years


American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the National Park Service, is seeking ONE Interpretation Member to assist with implementing and delivering interpretive programming to park visitors alongside Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) staff. 

For more information about ACE, please visit: www.usaconservation.org.

For the full position announcement and to apply, please visit: https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/997968.html

Start Date:  Nov 5, 2023 (flexibility may be available for the right candidate)

Estimated End Date: May 4, 2024 (or 26 weeks from the start date)

*a 26-week minimum commitment is required*

Location Details/Description: Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Cherokee, North Carolina

The Smokies are world-renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal life, beautiful scenery, and the size and integrity of the wilderness sanctuary within its boundaries where hikers can experience over 800 miles of trails. With more than 19,000 species documented in the park, no other area of equal size in a temperate climate can match the park’s diversity of plants, animals, and invertebrates. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park also celebrates the rich cultural tapestry of Southern Appalachian mountain culture. Humans have lived here for more than 9,000 years and the park preserves diverse archaeological sites and historic structures, including one of the largest collections of Appalachian log buildings.

This position is based in the park’s South District at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, near Cherokee, NC. It is also home to the Mountain Farm Museum,  which includes a farmhouse, barn, apple house, springhouse and a blacksmith shop. During the summer, the farm often hosts chickens, pigs, horses or other animals.

For more information regarding the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or the National Park Service, please visit: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.

Position Overview: In support of the mission of the National Park Service, the primary duties of the Interpretation Member will include:

Resource Education- Educate visitors about the significance and uniqueness of park resources, conservation, and ecologically sound practices and the laws, rules, and regulations developed to protect park resources and provide for their safe and non-consumptive use.

Resource Protection- Preserving the natural and cultural resources of the park by preventing degradation of ecosystems, historical structures and artifacts and by preventing the loss and theft of objects, flora, and fauna through information and education.

As the Interpretation Member for the South District, you will work closely with the Lead Ranger and Mountain Farm Museum Manager. You’ll assist with resource education and interpretive programs for youth and adults across western North Carolina, from the Cataloochee Valley to Fontana Lake. This includes activities such as Junior Ranger programs, recreational fly fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, guided hikes, geology talks, heritage farming, cultural demonstrations, wildlife education, astronomy programs, and much more. Members will have the opportunity to focus and develop programs on their own skills and interests within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park interpretive theme matrix. 

Schedule:  Interpretation Members should anticipate working nights, holidays, and weekends. Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides visitors services 365 days a year. Members will be assigned lieu days (days off) at the start of the season and be on a 5-4-9 schedule. A 5-4-9 schedule means you work five 9-hour days one week and three 9-hour days and one 8-hour day the second week of a pay period, for a total of 80 hours per pay period (two weeks). This gives Members a three-day weekend every other week. Typical shifts begin as early as 7AM and end as late as 12AM.

For example, you might work Thursday – Monday 8 AM – 5:30 PM in week one, with Tuesday and Wednesday off, and Thursday – Saturday 8 AM – 5:30 PM and Sunday 8 AM – 4:30 PM in week two, with Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off.

Position Benefits

Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute ~40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $600/week to cover the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.

AmeriCorps Education Award Program: This position may be eligible for one 900-hour AmeriCorps Education Award while serving under the EAP 2022/23 grant year program, valued up to $3,247.50 upon successful completion of a complete service term and 900 hours. 

Loan Forbearance: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for federal loan forbearance. Additional enrollment steps are required.  

Qualifying Child Care Coverage: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for qualifying child care coverage. Additional enrollment steps are required.  

Public Land Corps Hiring Authority: Members serving under this agreement may be eligible for a federal hiring authority upon completion of their term of service. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship. Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility, or view general information online here

Housing: The ACE Member will be accommodated in park housing at no cost for the duration of the term. All housing is furnished with basic amenities and is typically in a 2- or 3-bedroom house with shared common space (kitchen, living room, deck with fire pit, laundry) and a private, lockable bedroom. Pets are not allowed, but ESAs will be accommodated. Wi-Fi may be available in housing, depending on the assigned unit.

Cell phone reception is not always reliable and a personal vehicle is required, due to the remoteness of the site. There is no reliable public transportation. Wi-Fi is always available for ACE Member use at the Oconaluftee administration building. Groceries and medical facilities are available within a 15-30 minute drive. The ACE Member will have use of a government vehicle for project-related travel.

Provided Training/Orientation: ACE Members will receive position specific training and an orientation outlining ACE policies and procedures, clear guidance on prohibited activities, and networks for support. In addition to safety training, the Member will receive training in park resource knowledge, delivery of audience-centered / curriculum-based programs, report writing, and other position-related skills.



  • Members must be US citizen or Permanent Resident, as required to comply with U.S. government contracts
  • Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner.
  • Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
  • A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request)
  • A personal vehicle
  • Willing to undergo and must pass the required three-part criminal history check.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Must be able and willing to serve outdoors in varying weather conditions
  • Must be able to communicate clearly and concisely with resource professionals within the NPS
  • Must have effective communication skills with diverse audiences
  • ACE Members will need to complete bi-weekly timesheets, beginning of term feedback forms, end of term evaluations and for longer terms, a mid-term evaluation.
  • Members may not participate in any prohibited activities as listed in the Member Service Agreement or as defined by AmeriCorps.
  • To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website https://www.usaconservation.org/epic/#eligibility-requirements


  • Demonstrated commitment to applying JEDAI (justice, equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion) values in all aspects of work.
  • Willingness to work effectively on a team with a diverse range of people. 
  • Experience or interest in working with underserved communities.
  • Practical or academic knowledge of the principles of interpretation, environmental education, public speaking, farm management, livestock care, and/or Appalachian lifeways.
  • Ability to accept professional feedback and integrate it into daily conduct and performance.
  • Desire to work in a fast-paced environment and ability to respond seamlessly to competing priorities.
  • General knowledge of or ability to learn Microsoft Office Suite products.
  • Bilingual applicants are strongly encouraged to apply!

Please submit your resume, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/997968.html 

This position was posted Thursday, August 17, 2023. Early consideration will be given as resumes are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC Recruitment and Outreach Manager, Victoria Yee, at vyee@usaconservation.org

EEO: American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.

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

Category Environmental Education, Outdoor Recreation
Tags Naturalist, Nature Center