Summer Team Leads at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, American Conservation Experience

Bloomington, MN

Job Title: Summer Team Leads (2) – Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Organization: American Conservation Experience in partnership with the US Fish & Wildlife Service

Location: Bloomington, MN

Overview:  American Conservation Experience (ACE), a Nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking TWO Summer Team Leads to mentor and lead a local high school student summer youth crew through a variety of conservation field projects, community outreach programming, and outdoor recreation experiences at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. This premier urban refuge spans 70 miles along the Minnesota River under the shadows of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. During this 16-week term, the ACE members will provide training, supervision, and mentorship to lead a youth crew through a variety of conservation projects both on the refuge and within the Twin Cities community. Additionally, this position will engage youth in first-time outdoor recreation experiences including fishing, paddling, hiking, nature photography, bird watching and biking. Lastly, this position includes facilitating the Conservation Career Discovery virtual curriculum developed by the refuge Internship Coordinator.

This is a rare opportunity to challenge and enhance both your communication and leadership skills while also gaining practical experience in a variety of program areas on a national wildlife refuge. Working as part of the refuge team, this position involves both group and independent work and requires an enthusiastic and flexible individual with strong communication and leadership skills. ACE EPIC placements provide young adults with focused, hands-on opportunities to work alongside and under the guidance of agency mentors as they apply their knowledge of resource management on their path to becoming the next generation of resource and land managers. Funding for ACE positions is provided by a federal program designed specifically for the employment of youth and young adults. For more information about ACE, please click here.

Work Schedule: Duties will primarily be carried out on alternating weekly schedules, Monday – Friday or Tuesday – Saturday. Some projects may begin very early and/or go late into the day. Bi-weekly totals should not exceed 80 hours. A flexible work schedule may be required, which could involve work performed outside of normal work hours including on weekends and/or holidays. Time off may be granted and requests should be directed to ACE and the FWS for approval.

Benefits: The ACE Member is expected to contribute approximately 40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $600/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.
 Housing preference will be given to local applicants. The selectee will be responsible for finding local housing. The selectee will receive a $400/week housing allowance during the duration of the position.


  • Assist Internship Coordinator with program planning and development of internship activities and resources.
  • Lead the day-to-day activities for one 6-member high school intern crew and work with internship coordinator and other summer team lead to implement activities for the entire 12-member high school intern team (ages 15-17) in a variety of conservation and wildlife habitat improvement projects both on refuge and in the community.
  • Providing interns guidance and direction in all phases of work projects to ensure a positive internship experience.
  • Performing written and verbal evaluations of interns. Documents and provides clear feedback on past performance and expectations for future performance. As needed, making recommendations for disciplinary action.
  • Modeling and adhering to safety protocols to ensure the safety of the group.
  • Managing resources appropriately (time, supplies, vehicles, equipment, and personnel).
  • Co-developing environmental and conservation education opportunities for the group.
  • Facilitate recreation programs to teach the skills of archery, fishing, bird watching, photography, and other areas.
  • Safely operating a variety of federal vehicles and willingness to pull a trailer.
  • Wear provided uniforms when representing Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge at outreach events and ACE uniform during conservation projects.
  • Supporting special events and outreach activities to promote the refuge and its mission.
  • Collecting and reporting accurate and detailed project data as needed including: interns timesheets, evaluations, and disciplinary forms.
  • Providing weekly detailed updates on youth crew accomplishments and challenges to the Internship Coordinator.
  • Attend and chaperone a 1-week residential program with youth crew in northern Wisconsin, partnering with Wilderness Inquiry and traveling to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Physical Requirements: This position requires physical exertion such as walking long distances over wet and rough surfaces while carrying up to 40 lbs.; bending, crouching, stooping, lifting or reaching. Hand and finger dexterity and physical coordination may involve fine and precise procedures, delicate adjustments or exact measurements.

Environmental Conditions/Hazards: Duties are performed both indoors and outdoors. Temperature and weather extremes can be encountered in the performance of outdoor duties. The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members or resources. The member will be working outdoors and may be exposed to heat or cold, high humidity, stinging and biting insects, and inclement weather.

Vehicle and Equipment Use/Safety: ACE and the Refuge will provide a vehicle and the tools required to accomplish the tasks the member is asked to do. Training will be provided for all equipment that the member is asked to work with. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be mandatory for any activity that requires it. A valid state driver’s license is required. Strict adherence to FWS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required.

Vaccination Requirement: ACE Members must verify that they are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 or have requested and been granted a medical or religious exemption to vaccination by the time they start their term.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Must be willing to submit to a federal background check.
  • A valid driver’s license, clean driving record, and ability to provide such documentation.
  • Strong communication, organization and time management skills.
  • Ability to demonstrate cultural sensitivity, patience and empathy toward others.
  • Commitment to completing tasks thoroughly and on time.
  • Ability to complete tasks independently and work well in a team.
  • Ability and interest in working outdoors with variable weather conditions and ability to lift 40 lbs. and walk long distances over uneven, wet surfaces.
  • Ability or willingness to drive trucks, 15-passenger van, and 12-person Shuttle Bus (no CDL required).
  • Must have or be willing to receive non-motorized boat and trailer training.
  • ACE Emerging Professionals must be willing to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Enthusiasm for interacting with people and learning how to assist visitors to enjoy the outdoors responsibly through interpretation, customer service, and outreach.
  • This position requires adaptability, as work plans can change last minute. Ideal candidates will be able to multitask and shift priorities to meet changing conditions.
  • Competitive applicants for this position can hold or be pursuing a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and/or have relevant experience in subject areas such as ecology, wildlife management, natural resource management, parks and recreation, environmental education, and other related disciplines appropriate to the position. A COMBINATION OF RELEVANT EDUCATION AND APPROPRIATE EXPERIENCE IS ALSO ACCEPTABLE. Resume, Cover Letter and transcripts must contain enough information to show that the applicant meets the experience needed, as defined in this announcement.

Start/End dates: May 23 – September 17

Salary/pay: $600/week plus $400/week housing stipend

How to Apply: Please submit your resume, thoughtful cover letter, academic transcripts and contact for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: ***Academic transcripts are required for verification of related coursework and professional development purposes, as opposed to evaluating prior academic performance.

NOTE: Early consideration will be given as applications are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC USFWS Division Support Specialist, Nich Jackosky, at 928-699-6041 or