Great Sand Dunes begins recruitment for Conservation Internship Program


SAN LUIS VALLEY — Great Sand Dunes is actively recruiting energetic, committed young adults who are interested in a career with a federal land agency for this year’s Conservation Internship Program.

The internship program recruits young adults from San Luis Valley communities to work at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve to learn skills, contribute to meaningful park projects, and create experiences that will make them marketable in a career with a public land agency. Since the program was piloted in the summer 2019, the park has hired 8 interns to support resource management projects, work alongside rangers in the visitor center, and complete important facility management projects. The program is administered in partnership with Conservation Legacy, an organization committed to fostering conservation service in support of communities and ecosystems.

This year, the park will offer multiple internship positions working alongside the Branch of Interpretation and Visitor Services as well as the Branch of Facility Management. The park will select multiple candidates for the following opportunities:

  • 12-week (3 month) internships, starting mid-May and ending in mid-August receiving a weekly stipend of $480. This internship is ideal for a recent high school graduate or degree seeking college student. Interns will provide customer service at the visitor center, make connections with visitors on park trails, and assist with event planning and social media posts.
  • 13-week (3.5 months) internships, starting early May and ending early August receiving a $520 weekly stipend. This internship is ideal for college students seeking a degree or certification in a trade school program. Interns will work alongside Facility Management employees performing routine maintenance such as: waste management at high visitor use areas; equipment maintenance, repair historic park structures, provide a full range of sanitation duties, and trail and road maintenance.
  • 18-week (4.5 months) internships, starting late April and ending mid-August receiving a weekly stipend of $560. This internship is ideal for college students or recent college graduates looking to apply their coursework in a professional work environment. Interns will work with the park’s seasonal Education Technician to offer virtual educational programs, outdoor education during school field trips, and plan and implement the park’s Youth Archeology Summer Camp in June and July. Interns will also have opportunities to work at the visitor center and present ranger programs.
  • 24-week (6 months) internships, starting in June and ending in December receiving a weekly stipend of $580. This internship is ideal for recent college graduates looking to apply their certification or degree with a public land agency. Intern will work within the Branch of Facility Management assisting with general maintenance repairs and needs throughout the park, while also advancing the park’s backlog of maintenance projects.

Upon completion of the program, interns will receive an educational award, varying in amounts and based on the length of their term. Individuals who complete an internship that is 18 weeks or more will also qualify for Direct Hire Authority. Direct Hire Authority allows students who excel in their internships and meet any other job-specific education or training requirements to be hired without competition into permanent positions within the National Park Service and other select bureaus of the Department of the Interior for which they are qualified. The park will cover uniform and training costs.

The park will train and mentor interns to prepare them for a career in public lands management and offer them professional development to put on their resume. Trainings will cover resume building, federal government job application process, interviewing tips and techniques, and public speaking. Opportunities to learn more about the various jobs at Great Sand Dunes and within other federal agencies in the San Luis Valley will be covered during field trips, job shadowing or presentations. Networking and mentoring opportunities with National Park Service and other public lands management staff will be made available to further inspire a career interest with a federal land agency.

Eligible applicants must meet the requirements outlined in each job description. However, all applicants must:

  • Be a US citizen, 18 to 30 years of age (or a veteran up to age 35)
  • Have reliable transportation
  • Must live within the commuting area and reside in the San Luis Valley
  • Be willing to complete a state and federal background investigation

To apply for these internship positions, visit:

and Search “Great Sand Dunes.” Applicants must have an updated resume and complete the online application process to qualify. The application period for each internship varies and can be extended to ensure a good sampling of candidates.

For more information, contact Great Sand Dunes Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services, Kathy Faz, by email at Kathy_Faz@nps.govor by phone at 719-582-0258.