Fire Island National Seashore

Education and Community Outreach Intern -  Ocean Beach, NY

Position Type: LHIP Internship
Primary Field: Interpretation/Education

This professional development opportunity is an education and community outreach internship at Fire Island National Seashore. The primary tasks and deliverables associated with the internship will be to assist with and provide community outreach, and formal and informal interpretive and education programming at the park, with a special focus on engaging and serving local under-served populations and underrepresented audiences. 

While gateway communities to the park, such as Patchogue, are ethnically and socioeconomically diverse, with large Latino populations, this demographic is not well represented in park visitors or park staff. Based on studies conducted by the Environment for the Americas, as well as recent conversations with local Latino community leaders, this may be due to a lack of awareness of what the park has to offer, and its relevance to the needs and interests of local community residents. Engaging a broader demographic is a primary park goal identified in the Seashore’s General Management Plan (2016) and the Visitor Experience Plan (2017). The Latino Heritage Intern will play a critical role in furthering the park’s efforts to engage Latino audiences and other under-served populations. It will also enable the park to support the broader NPS goals outlined in the “Achieving Relevance in Our Second Century” strategy, including fostering the next generation of NPS stewards.

Community outreach will be a key component of the internship. The intern will contribute to social media and the development of bilingual information and programming about park resources, visitor experiences, and youth employment opportunities. This may include hosting a stewardship opportunity at the park and/or bilingual programs in the local community. The intern will help plan and implement Fire Island National Seashore’s events. In 2019, events in collaboration with the Seashore’s friends group brought 130 area Latino residents to the park for a day of place-based recreation and education. For most of the event participants, this was a first visit to the national park in their backyard. Along with park staff, the intern will also staff community fairs such as Patchogue’s “Family Fun Night,” and career fairs at local schools and colleges, and assist with offsite programming in other under-served communities on Long Island.

The intern will work alongside National Park Service Park Rangers at park visitor centers and assist with park programs and events at least three times per week. These opportunities will help orient the intern to park resources and the visitor experience, as well as provide a place-based venue for developing and practicing communication skills. The intern will assist with programs geared for youth and general public audiences on a variety of topics including shoreline dynamics, barrier island ecology, natural resource issues, recreational canoeing, marine seining, maritime history and more. Once the intern gains adequate content knowledge and progresses with interpretive skills development, she/he will be encouraged to lead programs as well as develop and conduct new programs on park topics of interest. He/she will also help plan for, implement, and participate in volunteer and partner events such as the annual National Public Lands Day Patchogue River Cleanup, bi-weekly water quality testing on the Patchogue River, the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society’s Bark Ranger Day, native plant/pollinator gardening days, and coastal cleanups.

Qualifications:

The intern should have an upper level undergraduate, recent graduate or graduate level bilingual student. Strong verbal communication, writing, and media skills, as well as a background and career interest in ecology, the natural sciences, and/or education, are strongly recommended. Enthusiasm, team spirit, flexibility, and a strong work ethic will be important qualities for the intern to bring to the internship.

Work Environment:

Work at seashore field sites can involve long periods of standing and walking, light lifting, and exposure to extreme heat and sun, as well as ticks and mosquitoes. It is expected that the intern will spend approximately ¾ of their time either at various park sites engaging with park visitors or at community events for the general public. The rest of the time will be in an office setting. Computer access will be provided with appropriate software for assigned tasks. The office is located at the Seashore’s headquarters in Patchogue on mainland Long Island. The Seashore will be hosting other interns as well during the summer of 2020, including a Community Volunteer Ambassador who will entrance on duty in February 2020, and those working across disciplines in park planning, interpretation/education, and natural resource management.

Driver's License:

Yes – Since the park is spread out over 26 miles, with sites on mainland Long Island and Fire Island, the intern must possess a valid driver’s license and be able to operate a motor vehicle independently to drive to different sites within the park. If the intern is in need of park housing, a personal vehicle will be needed for the intern to travel to and from the duty station each day which is located 25 miles from the park housing location. If the intern lives locally, he/she will need to provide their own transportation to and from the duty station.