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Vegetation Management Intern

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Vegetation Management Intern
Southeast Conservation Corps

Title: Vegetation Management Intern

Reports to: Brian Roberts; Supervisory Forester, Resource Management and Science division, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Locations: Based in Gatlinburg, TN

Status: Seasonal, Full-time, Exempt (450-hour AmeriCorps National Service Term)

Stipend: $600/week – paid bi-weekly  

Other Benefits: Housing may be provided in the park, uniform shirts, protective equipment, and training. $1,824.07 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of the service term.

Start/End date:   08/12/2024 – 11/01/2023 (12 weeks)

Positions Available: 2

Position opened until filled. 


Southeast Conservation Corps:  
SECC empowering young adults to cultivate compassion, responsibility, and grit through community service, hard work, and environmental stewardship.  

The Southeast Conservation Corps (SECC) is a non-profit, AmeriCorps-affiliated organization. The SECC selects young adults, ages 18-30, to complete conservation work projects on public lands throughout the Southeast. SECC programs encourage environmental stewardship, foster community partnerships, and emphasize experiential learning. SECC serves a diverse population that is representative of the Southeast, including youth, graduates, veterans, and a cross-section of ethnicities and income levels.  


Site Description:
With 800 square miles of protected forest between two national forests and bounded by the Eastern band of the Cherokee and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) is world recognized for its biological diversity, scenic beauty, and hiking opportunities. GRSM is the most visited national park in the U.S. with 12.5 million visitors in 2019. More Information about the park is available at: Great Smoky Mountains National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (



The Vegetation Management branch of the Resource Management and Science Division at Great Smoky Mountains National Park has several main objectives: management of invasive exotic plants and invasive forest pests, grassy bald restoration, and native plant restoration. Our agency’s mission is to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources of the NPS system for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations. 

Interns are needed to assist with accomplishing the goals of the Vegetation Management branch. Current employee staffing levels are not adequate to achieve current management goals. The interns will benefit the natural resource by restoring the landscape through control of non-native invasive plant and forest pest species and restoring native species. 


Position Responsibilities:


Control invasive and exotic plants using integrated pest management techniques.

  • Work with supervisor to identify invasive and exotic plant sites for treatment.

  • Gather equipment (PPE, chemical, tools), and/or maps/ GPS receiver.

  • Travel to and from treatment site, apply management techniques; take notes on amount of plants treated and volume of chemical used.

  • Record field data on forms and check for accuracy, backcountry safety and emergency procedures.


Control forest insects and diseases with systemic insecticides and treatments.

  • Work with supervisor to identify trees that need treatment.

  • Gather equipment (PPE, chemical, tools) and/or maps/GPS receiver.

  • Travel to and treat site; take notes on amount of trees treated and amount of chemical used.

  • Record field data on forms and check for accuracy, backcountry safety and emergency procedures.


Assist with Appalachian grassy balds and native plant restoration activities.

  • Planting native plants, controlling invasive vegetation on two grassy balds using hand and power tools.

  • Work with supervisor to identify work site.

  • Gather equipment (PPE, tools, fuel) and any needed backcountry camping equipment.

  • Treat site and record any treatment parameters for the site (species, number of plants, hours worked) and provide data to supervisor.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Successful completion of 2 years of study that included at least 12 semester hours in any combination of courses such as forestry, agriculture, crop or plant science, range management or conservation, wildlife management, watershed management, soil science, natural resources (except marine fisheries and oceanography), outdoor recreation management, civil or forest engineering, or wildland fire science. Experience may substitute education; please document on resume.

  • Ability to hike/backpack in mountainous terrain both on and off trail up to ten miles per day in hot or cold humid conditions. May require overnight backcountry camping.
    Note: Exposure to poison ivy and biting/stinging insects is likely so those highly allergic should carefully consider this issue.

  • Education or experience in biology, entomology, plant pathology, botany, horticulture, agriculture or related experience.

  • Ability to work cooperatively and safely as a group member and learn new skills.

  • Must be able to use pesticides in safe manner following required handling, application and disposal instructions, including wearing of personal protective equipment.

  • Ability to learn safe use of cutting tools (manual or powered).

  • Agency (SECC) provided uniform is required wear to be identifiable to the visiting public and act as a representative of the National Park Service while serving as an intern.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • First aid/CPR (can be provided on site)

  • Plant and/or invertebrate identification skills beneficial.

  • Ability to lift 50lbs.


AmeriCorps Qualifications: 
To qualify, you must be between the ages of 18 and 30 and a US citizen that has received a high school diploma or GED. All offers of employment are conditional upon completion of an acceptable check of the National Sex Offender Public Registry and federal criminal background check. Must be eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Education Award. 


Trainings provided:

Species identification, management techniques, Hazard communication- Worker Protection-Right to Know information about hazards associated with pesticides, required personal protective equipment and how to properly use it, treatment methods, GPS use, backcountry safety and emergency procedures, first aid/CPR and bear awareness.



A personal vehicle is not required but is recommended due to the limited public transportation. Other seasonal employees and interns live nearby so ride sharing is usually available.


Interns are paid a living stipend of $600 per week ($1,200 dispersed bi-weekly) before taxes, via direct deposit. Upon successful completion of the term of service AmeriCorps members will earn an AmeriCorps Segal education award to be used for student loans, qualifying programs/classes, or tuition for traditional Title IV accredited colleges. 


Participation and Expedition Behavior:

  • Work effectively as a member of a team despite potentially stressful and difficult conditions. This may require problem-solving on an interpersonal or group level as well as a willingness to accept differences.

  • Contribute to a safe learning environment, no harassment of others for any reason.

  • Willingness and ability to complete all aspects of the program including conservation projects, education, training, and national service. Members must commit to participating in all crew/team activities, including service days in local communities where applicable.

  • Effectively communicate ideas and concerns as they arise directly to supervisors, colleagues, and organization staff.

  • Have the cognitive ability to learn necessary skills and apply them to effectively carry out the service work requirements.

  • Appropriately always represent the Program and AmeriCorps to the public and project partners.

Outdoor Skills (where appropriate):

Learn and safely perform fundamental outdoor work skills as appropriate to the project. Additionally, remain adequately hydrated, fed, and properly dressed to remain generally healthy and safe, avoiding environmental injuries.  


Substance Free:

In accordance with a drug-free workplace, alcohol and drugs are prohibited while participating in AmeriCorps and program activities and while on organization property. 


Additional Notes:

All applicants are required to perform a criminal history check, offers of employment are contingent upon results.


This program is available to all, without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or expression, political affiliation, marital or parental status, genetic information, and military service. Where a significant portion of the population eligible to be served needs services or information in a language other than English, the recipient shall take reasonable steps to provide written material of the type ordinarily available to the public in appropriate languages.  


To Apply: 

Follow the SECC link and complete the application. Please include 3 references, resume, and copy of your transcripts (unofficial okay). You can put the references in a word doc and upload it alongside your resume. A cover letter is encouraged but not required.


If you have questions about the position, please contact:

Brian Roberts

Forester, Resource Management and Science

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

(865) 436-1707


If you have questions about the application process, please contact:

Ray Wilson

Individual Placement Coordinator

Southeast Conservation Corps

(423) 422-4976

Job Type
Full Time Experienced, Internship
Gatlinburg, Tennessee United States
Posted on
Expires on
Desired Start Date
Not provided
How to Apply