Now Hiring 2018 Wilderness Fellows

The Wilderness Fellows program hires bright, highly educated, driven, creative, independent young professionals and places them at land management agencies across the country.  To apply, e-mail a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and three professional or academic references to:  Applications are due by Friday March 2, 2018.  If you have any questions about the position or the application process, e-mail Kat Lyons, SWS National Program Coordinator.

2018 Fellow opportunities are based in Big Fork, Montana; Gunnison, Morrison & Aspen, Colorado; Jueanu or Sitka, Petersburg or Wrangell, Ketchikan & Girdwood, Alaska; Cedar City, Utah; Ventura, Arcadia or Big Bear, Sierra or Bishop & South Lake Tahoe, California; Russellville, Arkansas; and Doniphan, Missouri  Fellows are placed based on Fellow location preference and fit with USFS goals.

Program Overview

Fellowships are designed to add professional capacity to land management agencies.  The type of projects Fellows work on are diverse, from wilderness character monitoring, to writing wilderness education plans, to assisting in outfitting and guiding permitting processes, to conducting cultural resource monitoring.  Fellows engage in strategic planning, data collection, agency staff interviewing and coordination, and scientific writing.  Fellows are trained in the specific tasks they are asked to complete, but are expected to come to the Fellowship with experience researching, writing, and leading work projects.  High quality project work is expected, and comfort with initiating communication, desigining outcomes, driving achievement, and meeting deadlines is required.  

Fellowships are six months long, with a few extending up to a year.  The Fellowship begins with a one or two week training held in Powell, Idaho, with travel paid to and from the Fellows' home to training.  Following training, Fellows return to their home and travel to the location they will be working from (travel to and from home to work location is unpaid).  When Fellows arrive at their work location, they are oriented to the local staff, policies and procedures; provided with working space and resources; and on-boarded according to government regulations.  Where available, Fellows will reside in agency barracks.  If barracks are not available, SWS staff will guide the Fellow through the process of finding suitable housing.  When working on the ground, Fellows may need to travel extensively within the region they work.  Fellows report to the SWS National Program Coordinator, and are lined out for work on the ground by local agency staff.  Fellows are brought back together in person in the fall to attend a Fellows Retreat, Career Summit, and the National Wilderness Workshop.  

Please note that, due to the remote and mobile nature of the position, Fellows are required to have a personal vehicle.  A govenerment vehicle will be provided for work-related travel.

Career Advancement

The Wilderness Fellows Program places a strong emphasis on advancing careers of Wilderness Fellows.  During their Fellowship, Fellows are introduced to agency staff at district, state, regional and national levels.  When Fellows are brought together in the fall, they participate in a debrief of work completed during the season, and formulate recommendations for land management agencies based on their experience.  Fellows compile recommendations into a presentation for the National Wilderness Workshop, giving them professional speaking experience and exposure to numerous professionals across the wilderness spectrum.  During the Career Summit, Fellows are instructed in behind-the-scenes information beneficial to achieving professional jobs in land management agencies and non-governmental organizations from high-level professionals.  At the end of their Fellowship, Fellows become eligible for the Public Land Service Corps Hiring Authority, which provides them with two years of non-competitive hiring status for federal jobs.  Upwards of 90% of Fellows are placed into career positions or graduate level academic programs following their Fellowship.   

Fellowships are eligible for graduate level credit through the Western Colorado State University's Masters of Environmental Management Program.  For more information, e-mail Dr. Melanie Armstrong, Dr. Sally Thode, or Dr. John Hausdoerffer.  

Position Description

Title: Wilderness Fellow

Reports To: SWS National Program Coordinator

Classification: Hourly

Location: Nationwide

Duration: May 21, 2018 – November 9, 2018

Time: Full Time, Seasonal

Salary: $600 weekly stipend

Benefits: 1 earned personal day per month (vacation is not eligible to be cashed out at any time) and federal holidays.

Closing Date: March 2, 2018

Position Overview

The Wilderness Fellow Program is seeking qualified candidates to fill Wilderness Fellow positions.  Fellows are based in locations around the country, with a significant amount of travel within their base region.   Work is roughly 80% office based and 20% field based, and is performed at land management agency offices to directly support the goal of enhancing wilderness management.  

Primary Wilderness Fellow Responsibilities

Attend one week training in Powell, Idaho (travel provided). 

Work out of remote locations, residing in agency housing when available. 

Coordinate meetings and interviews with land management agency staff.

Research, compile and analyze legislative and administrative historical data.

Travel to and into wilderness areas. 

Compile data for selected monitoring and complete components of wilderness monitoring.

Implement inventory and monitoring strategies for tracking wilderness data.

Participate in weekly calls with the SWS National Program Coordinator and monthly calls with all Fellows.

Set and meet benchmarks and deadlines for data collection, meetings, and draft and final reports.

Create comprehensive written reports for each project completed.

Key Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree. 

One year of applicable experience or advanced education.

Educational background in,  or understanding of, Wilderness Management, Protected Area/Natural Resource Management, Recreation Resource Management, Business Management, Conservation Social Science, Environmental Policy, Political Science, Natural, Biological or Physical Science, or another field that is related to land management.

Deep interest in wilderness/resource management.

Outstanding written and oral communication skills.

Research skill and attention to detail and organization.

Ability to work both independently and collaboratively on projects, high degree of initiative.

Results-oriented with the ability to set and follow realistic goals and objectives.

Flexibility to adapt when faced with changing needs and priorities.

Proficiency with Microsoft Office, comfort with technology and social media.

Ability to travel to training and remote field locations (travel provided), and to relocate if necessary (assistance not provided). 

To Apply: E-mail a resume, cover letter, a writing sample, and three professional or academic references to:

Essential Functions: Employee may be required to sit, stand, and lift objects up to 50 lbs.  Employee may be required to travel and camp in the backcountry, and to drive or fly to remote project locations. 

The Society for Wilderness Stewardship is an equal opportunity employer.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, marital status, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other protected status.


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The Society for Wilderness Stewardship is a non-profit, charitable organization under the 501 (c)(3) section of the Internal Revenue Code.