Since we welcomed our first Intern in 2012, our Wilderness Internship program has been probably our most successful program that the ABWF offers. Since then we have had a total of 22 Interns serve in the A-B Wilderness, doing everything from trail building and maintenance, to pulling and spraying invasive weeds, to providing leadership on volunteer trail projects, to teaching young kids about Leave No Trace and other wilderness values, to collecting data as members of a number of citizen science outings, doing restoration work on the Froze-to-Death Plateau, and assisting the Wilderness Patrol rangers. The Wilderness Internship has become a cornerstone of our stewardship efforts in the A-B Wilderness!
Each summer we hire 3-4 college-aged young people for 12 weeks who are interested in the conservation of wild lands. Typically we have hired our volunteers through the Student Conservation Association (SCA) or the Montana Conservation Corps (MCC). Both organizations have an excellent, long-standing record of providing high quality prospects for the kind of work that we do. If you’re looking to apply to an internship with the ABWF, read on, but also start by going to the SCA Website.
Recently we hired our first Winter Intern to help us bring more education to school groups and invite them to the Forest for excellent outdoor educational programs.
When we hire we are especially looking for the following skills and experiences, on the application and on the resume you attach:
- You already have some experience backpacking for multiple days in a backcountry setting. You would preferably have a solid degree of self-sufficiency and comfort back-packing, knowing what to bring, packing your backpack, preparing your own meals in a backcountry setting, basic navigational skills, comfort camping on your own. This probably is not right for you, if you are a first or second time backpacker.
- You should be strong, tenacious, and physically fit in order to work 8 days in a row doing quite physically strenuous work at altitude, hiking up to 10-15 miles in a day. Your application should show some measure of your fitness for working in a rugged and remote mountain environment.
- Some experience volunteering in the past, preferably with previous exposure to doing trailwork or other outdoor endeavors.
- Some skills working as a camp counselor, hike leader, outdoor educator, etc.
- Better than average public speaking skills as you may be teaching, talking to wilderness users and contacting people you meet on the trail.
- A passion for public lands and spending time in them: Wilderness Areas, National Parks and Monuments, Forest Service and BLM lands, etc.
- Some scholastic background/interest in the natural sciences—geology, biology, geography, naturalist, conservation.
Our interns get excellent training (much of it from the Forest Service). They work alongside other seasonal paid Forest Service personnel and get a strong foot in the door by doing this work. Some of our interns have gone on to earn paid positions as trail crew and backcountry rangers with the Forest Service. It’s hard work, but the rewards are high!
Wilderness Internship Opportunities Flyer
Have a look at our wilderness internship flyerDownload Wilderness Internship Opportunities Flyer