2017 Biology Internships

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
Internships - Paid
20 miles east of Des Moines, Iowa,


Do you have a passion for prairie? Opportunities are available to gain experience and contribute to one of the world’s premier tallgrass prairie reconstruction sites! The Friends of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge are sponsoring several Biology internships at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge for 2017. Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is a unique ecological restoration project featuring endangered tallgrass prairie and oak savanna ecosystems. Located 20 miles east of Des Moines, Iowa, it is one of the first large-scale prairie reconstruction projects ever attempted. Since its inception in 1990, the 5600-acre Refuge has become a home to hundreds of prairie plant species; re-introduced bison, elk, and regal fritillary butterflies; rare grassland birds; and many other species dependent on large areas of prairie or grassland. Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Duties: Biology interns will be a crucial part of monitoring and performing prairie and savanna restoration work, including monitoring plants and possibly wildlife, propagating plants in a greenhouse, planting seedling prairie plants, hand-harvesting seeds of native prairie plants, and data entry and management.


Benefits: Internships will run 9 - 12 weeks each. Timing of internship is flexible, with positions available spring, summer, and fall. Each intern will receive a stipend of $3600 to $4800 for 9-12 weeks. Housing will not be provided, but nearby housing is available for rent. Refuge staff will work with students to fulfill internship credit requirements at individual universities. Non-students are also eligible to apply.


Qualifications: Any qualified person 18 years or older with a valid driver’s license is eligible for an internship.


Biology interns must have an interest in native plants and a strong desire to learn about prairie and savanna ecosystems and restoration. Experience identifying prairie plants is strongly preferred. Must enjoy working outdoors and be willing to walk through dense, tall grass, do physical work outside during hot, humid weather, and tolerate stinging and biting bugs and plants and other discomforts of working in nature. Most important are sincere interest, enthusiasm, and a good work ethic. Other desirable skills for Biology interns include experience in greenhouse propagation, GPS, computer skills, writing skills, and research field experience.


To Apply: Submit the following:
1) a one-page cover letter highlighting your qualifications and describing why you would like to participate in this internship program and what you hope to gain from this experience. Please include dates you are available
2) a detailed resume noting education, experience, and skills, including 3 references and their contact information
3) a letter of recommendation written by an educator or employer.

For Biology Internships, information should be mailed to: Karen Viste-Sparkman, Wildlife Biologist, Neal Smith NWR, P. O. Box 399, Prairie City, IA 50228. Applications received via email or fax will not be considered.

Intern applications including letters of recommendation must be postmarked by February 10, 2017.


For additional information visit http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Neal_Smith/or http://www.tallgrass.org/ or contact Karen Viste-Sparkman at (515) 994-3400.