Alaska State Parks Volunteer Program and Volunteer Internship Positions
Natural History Interpreter
Note: Please be sure to check the general information page for instructions on how to apply! Click here to return to the list of position types.
NATURAL HISTORY INTERPRETER (1 position)
Park/Area: KODIAK DISTRICT
The Kodiak archipelago in the Gulf of Alaska is home to the famous Kodiak brown bear and many species of marine mammals and birds. The community of Kodiak, with a population of approximately 14,000, is one of the nation's busiest fish processing ports. Kodiak residents live next door to some of the most productive salmon streams in the world. Besides fishing, other popular pastimes include sea kayaking, hiking, birding and whale watching. The park units include a historic park, three recreation sites, and the remote island parks of Shuyak and Afognak Islands.
Main Tasks: Develop and present interpretive programs highlighting the park's natural history and WWII history. Schedule and conduct guided tide pool exploration walks. Organize a weekly series of presentations, lectures, or walks given by local natural, cultural, and military history experts. Schedule, arrange, and publicize park events. Assist in sales and visitor services at the Fort Abercrombie Visitor Center. Other duties may include reports/publications for the local newspaper and radio stations.
Special Projects: Varied, depending on skills and interests.
Required Skills: Must possess a valid driver's license; minimum of one year undergraduate studies; ability to work independently with little or no direct supervision; ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing; computer skills in word processing and desktop publishing; physically able to hike fair distances and an enthusiasm for the outdoors. Applicants are required to submit a writing sample with their application to be considered for this position.
Desired Skills: College-level course work in biological or natural resource fields, and/or creative writing, and field experience in natural or military history interpretation and/or outdoor education. Experience in developing interpretive programs, the ability to be self-motivated to learn as much about the area as possible with little supervision, and experience working with children.
Internship: Park Staff Will assist volunteer in internship requirements and paperwork.
Allowance/Housing: Monthly food subsistence payment, 12x20 cabin with gas stove and propane refrigerator/freezer, shower and internet access available in the Visitor Center after-hours.
Time Commitment: At least June – August, possibly as long as May 20 - September 30.
Send Application to:
Alaska State Parks - Kodiak
phone: (907) 486-6339
NATURAL HISTORY INTERPRETER (1 position)
Park/Area: KETCHIKAN AREA STATE PARKS - TOTEM BIGHT SHP, SETTLERS COVE SRS, REFUGE COVE SRS.
Southeast Alaska’s temperate rainforest is a unique part of Alaska. A group of 10,000 islands in the Alexander Archipelago snuggle up to a narrow strip of mainland on the west side of the Coast Mountains, also known as the “Inside Passage.” Ketchikan, an island community, has a population of 14,500. It is noted for its rich Alaska Native Culture and totem poles, extreme geography, diverse and lush vegetation, abundant land and marine wildlife, fishing, and of course lots of water! Other popular recreation activities include hiking, sea kayaking, sailing and scuba diving. The diversity of state parks in the Ketchikan area includes: a Native cultural/historic site, 2 recreation sites, and 2 remote marine parks, one with a public use cabin. The primary emphasis for the interpreter will be accomplished at Totem Bight State Historical Parks and Settlers Cove State Recreation Sites.
Main Tasks: Arrange and organize for speakers, or present interpretive programs highlighting the historic and natural resource values of the area parks. Coordinate the junior park ranger program for youth ages 8-12. Conduct weekly guided tours of the historic park for all age groups. Develop interpretive and informational displays for bulletin boards. May assist in the visitor information center.
Special Projects: Varied depending on skills and personal interests.
Required Skills: Field experience in natural history interpretation or outdoor education; enthusiasm for the outdoors, good communication and public speaking skills. Must work independently.
Desired Skills: Two years of undergraduate study in natural resources, environmental studies or interpretation. Computer skills beyond basic knowledge.
Internship:Will assist volunteer in internship requirements but preference given for field experience.
Allowance/Housing: Monthly food subsistence payment. Vehicle and housing needs are the responsibility of the volunteer.
Time Commitment: As long as desired between May 15 - September 15.
Send Application to: Ranger Aaron Ostby
Alaska State Parks - Southeast
phone: (907) 247-8574
NATURAL HISTORY INTERPRETER (Up to 5 positions)
Park/Area: CHUGACH STATE PARK - EAGLE RIVER NATURE CENTER
The half million acres that make up Chugach State Park are filled with rugged mountains, ice caps, and sweeping glaciers. Wildlife abounds, including brown and black bears, Dall sheep, moose, wolves, lynx, bald and golden eagles and all five species of salmon. Anchorage has grown up next door to this amazing wilderness and residents and visitors find a quick retreat in the park.
Recreation includes hiking, climbing, wildlife viewing, rafting, mountain biking and horseback riding. With mountains rising almost 7,000 feet in elevation just above the Nature Center, it’s no wonder that Walter Mendenhall called the Eagle River Valley a “miniature Yosemite”. Yet, the Nature Center is just a short 45-minute drive from Anchorage. The Nature Center is the trailhead to 26 miles of the most scenic part of the Historic Iditarod/Crow Pass Trail. The trail system also includes a short ¾ mile interpretive trail (Rodak Nature Trail); a 3-mile loop trail that takes you to the shores of the glacially-fed Eagle River; and a backcountry trail that takes you above the valley to Dew Lake.
Friends of Eagle River Nature Center, Inc. assumed management of the Nature Center in 1996 from Chugach State Park. The organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to serving the community with educational and recreational programs, maintaining and improving the surrounding trails, protecting and restoring habitat, and providing visitors with information about the area and park.
The Friends of Eagle River Nature Center, Inc. raises funds through memberships, donations, parking fees, fundraisers, corporate contributions, grants, facility use fees, gift shop sales and group instruction.
Main Tasks: Provide indoor information services (in person and over the phone); operate cash register for snack, gift and membership sales. Lead daily 1-hour guided nature walks. Light maintenance, including watering flowers, letter pickup, cleaning restrooms, emptying trash and vacuuming.
Special Projects: May include developing formal interpretive displays or programs. Trail maintenance.
Desired Skills: Ability to interact with people; flexibility; good communicator; organization; enthusiasm for the outdoors; willingness to “jump in” when needed; self-motivated to learn as much about the area as possible with little supervision.
Internship: Dependant on intern's requirements and will be determined case-by-case.
Allowance/Housing: Monthly subsistence payment; individual cabin (no electricity or water, gas stove for heat) One larger cabin with a wood stove is available for couples. Modern amenities inside the Nature Center include a private restroom with shower, small shared kitchen, and internet access. Use of a vehicle for trips to Eagle River for laundry and shopping.
Time Commitment: Minimum requirement - 60 days (May-September). Preference will be given for longer time commitments (April 15-September 30) and for people with a background in natural history interpretation or natural sciences
Note: Additional information about the Nature Center is located at www.ernc.org For specific questions contact Asta Spurgis, Director at firstname.lastname@example.org (please include "Volunteer Inquiry" in the subject). You may send applications up to one year in advance. We prefer to follow-up on preliminary applications by e-mail.
Application requirements: Completed Alaska State Parks application; short cover letter explaining your motivation for pursuing a volunteer position at the Nature Center; and a resume limited to one page. Please do not send any additional information.
Send Application to: Laura Kruger, Manager
Eagle River Nature Center
phone: (907) 694-2108
NATURAL HISTORY INTERPRETER (5 positions)
Park/Area: INDEPENDENCE MINE STATE HISTORICAL PARK AND EAST HATCHER PASS MANAGEMENT AREA
The East Hatcher Pass Management Area is located within the Talkeetna mountain range approximately 60 miles north of Anchorage. The Hatcher Pass road is a high country route between the Matanuska and Susitna valleys that once served the historic Willow Creek Mining District. This is South Central Alaskan gold country with a number of historic mining sites scattered across the area. Nestled in an alpine bowl at 3,500 feet is the Independence Mine State Historical Park (IMSHP). This park includes remnants and partially restored structures from a lode gold mining operation dating back to the early 20th century. Visitors can enjoy a walking tour through some of the mining camp structures or enjoy a hike into the surrounding alpine environment.
Providing roving interpretation including small group presentations, impromptu tours of mining complex, performing guided nature hikes, assisting with a Junior Ranger Program, gold panning demonstrations, and other related interpretive duties
Park upkeep and maintenance, general cleaning, dusting, mopping, collection of litter, emptying of trash cans, servicing restrooms, and special projects like painting and minor repairs to historic structures and displays
Fee collection and cash handling including operating a fee entrance station and helping to gain public compliance in collecting daily user fees in parking areas
Serve as a point of contact for park guests, answering general questions, providing directions, and serving as a local area guide
Required Skills: The ability to work effectively with a diverse staff and public to provide excellent customer service. The willingness to work as part of a team, be flexible, and self-motivated; the ability and desire to be a public speaker; the ability to walk and stand for an entire shift; An interest in history and/or mining; cash handling experience.
Desired Skills: Motivation to learn history and develop programming that coincides with the mission of Alaska State Parks. An inclination towards outdoor recreation including knowledge of hiking, climbing, biking, hunting, and fishing. An interest or background in the areas of natural science, ecology, biology, conservation, or related fields.
Internship: Will assist with the fulfillment of internship requirements and paperwork.
Allowance/Housing: Subsistence payment. Limited rustic housing may be available provided candidate meets certain requirements. Must be willing to live without full time modern conveniences like phone, internet, and electricity. Must be willing to share common kitchen and bathing facilities with other staff and volunteers. No pets permitted.
Time Commitment: Approximately May 15 -September 15
Position Contact: Ranger Mario Pagni
Alaska State Parks
phone: (907) 745-8936
NATURAL HISTORY INTERPRETER (4 positions)
Park/Area: DENALI STATE PARK – ALASKA VETERANS MEMORIAL
Located centrally along the Parks Highway, this popular site includes a small visitor center with interpretive displays and visitor information. The center is operated by a non-profit group that supports State Park programs. The site will serve visitors with information about the 325,000 plus acres of accessible wilderness in the park abounding with bears, moose, and other wildlife with magnificent views of Denali and the Alaska Range. The closest community is Trapper Creek, 32 miles south with a population of 400.
Main Tasks: Staff visitor contact station for information and retail sales service.
Special Projects: May provide interpretive talks/walks; assist the rangers in special projects.
Required Skills: Sincere desire to provide all levels of visitors with a positive park experience.
Desired Skills: Desire to work with the public and familiarity with cash register operations.
Internship: Staff will support internship requirements and paperwork.
Allowance/Housing: Subsistence payment provided with minimum 60 day commitment. Use of shared amenities at caretaker’s cabin that includes electric lights, shower, toilet and laundry facilities. RV preferred, park housing possible.
Time Commitment: Late May - early September, preference to three month commitment or more.
Send Application to:
Ranger Chris Love
phone: (907) 355-7742
NATURAL HISTORY INTERPRETER (1-2 positions)
Park/Area: ALASKA PUBLIC LANDS INFORMATION CENTER (APLIC), in Anchorage.
This interagency visitor center offers information, education and interpretive services regarding all public lands and facilities in the state of Alaska. While managed by the National Park Service, rangers, interns and volunteers at the Anchorage APLIC represent nine different federal and state agencies including Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, the Alaska Division of Commerce and Economic Development, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Staff members are trained to provide interpretive messages representing all of these agencies and the public land issues relevant to visitors and residents of the state. The Anchorage center offers a full range of informational brochures, maps and newspapers, free movies on a range of public land related topics, exhibits depicting the rich natural and cultural heritage of the 49th state, a host of education and interpretive programming, and an Alaska Geographic bookstore.
Main Tasks: Volunteers will primarily work in one of three departments; education, interpretation or visitor services, but will be expected to assist with any and all needs at the center.
• Volunteers working in visitor services will be expected to staff the visitor center, with duties to include answering visitor questions, trip planning assistance, processing bookstore sales, restocking brochures, answering the center’s information line, and other general office tasks.
• Volunteers working within the education department will be expected to assist and/or take the lead in teaching established curricula to K-12 students in the local community. Programs include off-site, after school lessons, field trips at the center and a variety of public land locations, overnight experiential learning courses, and a number of other educational programs with partner agencies. Education assistants would also be responsible for the maintenance of educational kits.
• Volunteers working as interpreters will be expected to research, write and present formal interpretive programs, including a historical walking tours through downtown Anchorage, a 45 minute illustrated programs (this year’s themes are WWII on the Alaskan Front, subsistence, and Katmai National Park and Preserve), and multiple short talks and demonstrations. In addition, volunteers will provide informal interpretation while manning outdoor touch tables and participating in special events.
Required Skills: Specific qualifications will vary dependent on department, however all volunteers are expected to have the following skills:
• Exceptional customer service and communication skills
• Organized and able to work independently
• Ability to staff a duty station for up to 2 hours at a time and tolerance of inclement weather
• Proficient in the operation of basic office equipment and computer software
• Willingness to wear the volunteer uniform as instructed
• May be required to pass a federal background check
Allowance/Housing: None provided. Volunteers must provide their own housing and transportation. Volunteers may be reimbursed for mileage and parking.
Time Commitment: Varies dependent on duties.
Send Application to: Glenn Hart, Volunteer Coordinator
Alaska Public Lands Information Center
phone: (907) 644-3670
NATURAL HISTORY INTERPRETER - NATURALIST FOR SCHOOL PROGRAMS (1 positions)
Park/Area: CHUGACH STATE PARK - EAGLE RIVER NATURE CENTER
The half million acres that make up Chugach State Park are filled with rugged mountains, ice caps, and sweeping glaciers. Wildlife abounds, including brown and black bears, Dall sheep, moose, wolves, lynx, bald and golden eagles and all five species of salmon. Anchorage has grown up next door to this amazing wilderness and residents and visitors find a quick retreat in the park. Recreation includes hiking, climbing, wildlife viewing, rafting, mountain biking and horseback riding. With mountains rising almost 7,000 feet in elevation just above the Nature Center, it’s no wonder that Walter Mendenhall called the Eagle River Valley a “miniature Yosemite”. Yet, the Nature Center is just a short 45 minute drive from Anchorage.
The Nature Center is the trailhead to 26 miles of the most scenic part of the Historic Iditarod/Crow Pass Trail. The trail system also includes a short ¾ mile interpretive trail (Rodak Nature Trail); a 3 mile loop trail that takes you to the shores of the glacially-fed Eagle River; and a backcountry trail that takes you above the valley to Dew Lake.
Friends of Eagle River Nature Center, Inc. assumed management of the Nature Center in 1996 from Chugach State Park. The organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to serving the community with educational and recreational programs, maintaining and improving the surrounding trails, protecting and restoring habitat, and providing visitors with information about the area and park. The Friends of Eagle River Nature Center, Inc. raises funds through memberships, donations, parking fees, fund-raisers, corporate contributions, grants, facility use fees, gift shop sales and group instruction.
Main Tasks: Leading and/or assisting staff naturalists with interpretive programs for K-12 school children. Curricula and training will be provided by staff naturalists, but the candidate must have a degree in the natural sciences and some teaching experience. Besides leading programs (topics range from animal tracking to forest ecology) the position requires assisting with organizing handouts and materials and setting up the both before and after a program.
Desired Skills: Degree in the natural sciences (botany, biology, ecology, etymology, zoology, geology) and some experience working with children. College students completing their degrees will also be considered (internships).
Allowance/Housing: Weekly subsistence payment (dependant on experience). Housing inside Nature Center or two-room cabin with a wood stove, but no electricity. Access to all modern amenities inside the nature center, including bathroom with shower, shared kitchen, and internet access. Vehicle will be available for occasional use.
Time commitment: April 1 through early June.
Send Application to: Asta Spurgis, Director
Eagle River Nature Center