National Park Service Community Outreach and Assistance Internship – Austin, TX


The NPS Community Outreach and Assistance Internship is a unique opportunity for an exemplary student in higher education to build a pathway to employment in the National Park Service (NPS).  The Community Outreach and Assistance intern will apply community planning, public outreach and engagement, natural resource management, and partnership development skills to community-led conservation and outdoor recreation initiatives.  This internship is designed to build competencies in conservation and outdoor recreation by working in real-world situations with the NPS and the communities we serve.

This internship is not located in a national park.  In addition to protecting and managing America’s 401 national parks, the National Park Service also operates programs in communities throughout the nation to connect all Americans to their parks, trails, rivers, and other special places.  The Community Outreach and Assistance intern will be part of the NPS Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program, which helps community groups, nonprofits, state and local governments, and tribes plan parks and trails, conserve and improve access to rivers and natural areas, and create recreation opportunities through locally led partnerships.

Working out of the RTCA Texas field office, many of the projects will involve supporting diverse, economically distressed communities and neighborhoods to plan and design parks, trails, and natural areas where current amenities are limited.

Upon successful completion of the internship, and conditional to earning the relevant academic degree, the participant will be eligible to be non-competitively hired by the Department of the Interior; this eligibility lasts for two years following the date on which the academic degree is awarded.   The NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program will give strong consideration to effective interns when filling GS-7/9/11/12 Community Planner positions in the future.  Note: Successful completion of the internship does not guarantee that the participant will be hired into a federal position.

This program gives particular attention to full representation of women and participants from Minority Serving Institutions or other schools with diverse student populations.


Help us work with new and diverse communities and partners!

RTCA Project Support (40%):

This year, the Texas RTCA office is assisting a number of exciting projects across the state. These include urban trail planning in a border community, conservation planning for areas within and around a national wildlife refuge, riparian restoration in the Hill Country, and more. The Intern will support these projects in the following ways:

  • Research and document relevant case studies of, and best management practices for, existing projects.
  • Collect demographic and other background information from existing sources, and analyze for use in existing projects.
  • Help plan, collect, and analyze data from various project sites.
  • Organize and synthesize data to incorporate in presentations and/or plans.
  • Assist in preparing written and graphic materials summarizing project activities.
  • Assist in preparing plans, technical documents, and meeting materials.


Relevancy, Diversity and Inclusion (RDI) Portfolio Project (35%):

  • Within the first few weeks of the internship, the intern will decide on a “portfolio project” to complete during the duration of the internship based on RTCA’s RDI objectives and the intern’s learning interests. With support from Intermountain Region Project Managers, the portfolio project scope will be defined and then executed. Project ideas could include: (1) Youth engagement – researching and testing innovative strategies for youth engagement as part of RTCA’s current project work; (2) Park activation – identifying innovative ways to activate existing parks and working with partners to test strategies in a target location; or (3) another project as defined.


Community Engagement (25%):

  • Assist in organizing project meetings utilizing best management practices in community engagement, with special attention to reaching underrepresented stakeholder groups
  • Support interactive digital and social media communications for existing projects, with special attention to reaching underrepresented stakeholder groups

Assist with planning, design, and implementation of community engagement activities and events, including community surveys, focus groups, public meetings, and creative outreach techniques, with special attention to reaching underrepresented stakeholder groups



The intern will: 1) present the portfolio project results to RTCA managers and staff nationally and regionally via webinar, 2) create an informational report to share best practices and lessons learned (shared via the RTCA program’s online communications site), and 3) present an in depth briefing on the portfolio project results to Texas RTCA field office staff and regional manager.



This position will be located in the RTCA Texas Field Office in Austin, TX.

The office is co-located with American Youthworks in their south-central Austin office building. The office is conveniently located near several bus lines, and has easy access to I-35 and US-71/290.

Note for applicants who are not already established in the local commuting area: Austin is considered a moderate- to high- cost market for housing; only limited assistance is available to help locate suitable housing opportunities.


Stipend, paid hourly at a rate of $19.75/hour

Health insurance is available.



This internship requires specialized expertise and is available to candidates currently enrolled in a graduate school level degree granting program, or a recent graduate who has been awarded a graduate degree in 2016 or 2017.

Relevant degree programs include, but are not limited to, community organizing, regional planning, environmental studies, natural resource management, landscape architecture, geography, urban studies, social entrepreneurship, or organizational development.  

Previous applicable professional experience is expected, and specific relevancies should be noted in your application.

Consideration will be given to all eligible applicants without regard to politics, religion, labor organization affiliation or non-affiliation, marital status, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, non-disqualifying physical handicap, age, or any other non-merit factor.

In order to be eligible for a DHA–RA Internship, applicants must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent legal resident (“green-card-holder”).   



Internship begins in early November 2017.


For current students:

20 hours per week, November 2017 – May 2018

40 hours per week, May 2018 – August 2018


For recent graduates:

40 hours per week, November 2017 – June 2018



Applications must be received on or before midnight (CST) on Friday, October 13, 2017.

Initial screening and interviews will be conducted during the week of October 16, 2017.


Please submit your resume and cover letter to Justin Bates via email at

Your application must include:

  • A resume, which should include work experience and information about academic degrees, highlighting any aspects that are relevant to the specific topic of this internship; and
  • A one-page cover letter which should (a) describe your interest or goals relating to a career in the National Park Service, and (b) include a narrative describing and demonstrating an instance in which you, individually or as part of a team, developed and implemented a process to achieve a desired outcome (i.e., turn an idea into reality).



Justin Bates

Community Planner

Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program

(512) 878-7463