Position Title: Natural Resource Management Assistant
Park Unit: Dry Tortugas National Park
Location: Key West, Florida
Number of positions available: 2
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 36 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 04/06/2025
Flexible Start Date: NO

Weekly Stipend: $565.00
Relocation Allowance: $400.00

CURRENT NUMBER OF APPLICANTS: Under 75 (This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first.)

Dry Tortugas National Park (DRTO) contains several small keys that are important nesting habitat for threatened and endangered sea turtle species. DRTO hosts a distinct subpopulation of Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) turtles and is a significant nesting area for Green (Chelonia mydas) turtles in Monroe County, Florida. Beach monitoring of sea turtle nesting activity has been conducted since 1980, providing resource managers with an essential baseline to evaluate the status of sea turtle populations at the park today. In addition to maintaining a beach monitoring effort, the park also participates in the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network (STSSN) and attempts to mitigate both natural and anthropogenic threats to sea turtles through research and conservation efforts. Due to the diversity of projects ongoing at the park and staff capacity, DRTO relies heavily on field technicians to collect sea turtle nesting data during turtle season each year. Dry Tortugas is seeking two field technicians to be based on Loggerhead Key to participate in the 2025 nesting season. Primary duties of this position include daily morning beach surveys to identify and document all turtle nesting activity from the night prior, marking nests for evaluation, monitoring nests for impacts, and performing nest excavations to determine nest productivity. Field work will be accompanied by data entry and verification. Interns are responsible for leading daily monitoring efforts on Loggerhead Key – the park’s index nesting beach – though interns will likely assist with monitoring sea turtle activity parkwide. In addition to turtle monitoring, technicians may also be tasked with assisting National Park Service (NPS) staff on a variety of routine natural resource projects including bird monitoring, shoreline mapping, marine debris removal, and responding to wildlife strandings, as needed.

Dry Tortugas National Park protects one of the most isolated and least disturbed feeding and nesting habitats for several species of threatened and endangered sea turtles in the United States. The population of sea turtles at the park is an indicator of the population status at the regional level and thus affords ongoing monitoring and protection. While the park has been documenting sea turtle nesting activity for many years, effort has often been inconsistent due to resource limitations, leaving gaps in data collection efforts. Due to increased turtle activity in recent years (with record-breaking years in 2022 and 2023!) and the demanding nature of the work, the park wishes to bring on two interns to assist with the monitoring program. The SIP interns would allow for a more intensive, comprehensive data collection regime while still maintaining data integrity. Additionally, this project provides a unique opportunity to work alongside park biologists in a remote marine protected area on a long-term monitoring project for endangered species.


Technicians will assist park staff and/or be directly responsible for a variety of project deliverables including collecting daily sea turtle nesting activity data on an Index Nesting Beach, collecting spatial data using GPS units, collecting nest excavation data, entering and verifying data, maintaining large databases, managing spatial data, and analyzing data – all of which will culminate in the production of an annual sea turtle report at the end of the field season. Interns will also assist with various sea turtle data submissions that are reported to the state. Perhaps most importantly, there will be an opportunity for the interns to develop an independent project within the scope of the sea turtle nesting program (i.e., measuring nest incubation temperatures, measuring climate change impacts to nesting beaches). The interns will be able to discuss opportunities with the supervisor who will help guide them in the independent study. The park will also support and facilitate an intern presentation focused on the results of the 2025 sea turtle nesting season and/or their independent study. Incumbents will also have the opportunity to share their work through routine park visitor interactions and through participation in official interpretive programming events including outreach to school groups and leading public nighttime sea turtle hatchling releases. There will also be opportunities to create social media content and/or a blog that will be shared with SIP and the park Interpretive Lead.


Selected incumbents must be able to commit to the entire internship duration. Incumbents must be flexible and patient given the unique location of the park and dynamic work environment. Strong organizational skills, attention to detail, ability to implement a standardized protocol, and general knowledge/training of biological processes and principles are required. Previous work experience in a natural resource management or marine science setting is strongly preferred. Knowledge or direct experience in sea turtle research is highly preferred. Familiarity with handheld GPS units, database management (i.e. Microsoft Excel), ArcGIS, and statistical programs (i.e. R) are a plus. Applicants must be solution-oriented, and able to effectively work as part of a larger team as well as individually. Applicants must have the ability to work long hours in full sun in harsh weather conditions (heat index in excess of 100 degrees). Physical requirements include walking 4 or more miles daily (with gear) on sometimes rocky, uneven terrain. Must be capable of digging large, deep holes in the sand and carrying up to 50 pounds. MOCC boating certification, or experience working on/around small watercraft is recommended. Routine maintenance skills (using drills, cutting PVC, installing small fixtures) are also a plus.

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident (“Green Card holder”). Prior to starting this position, a government security background clearance will be required. The applicant must be available to participate for 36 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

Dry Tortugas National Park is a remote park located approximately 70 miles west of Key West in the Straits of Florida, known for its diversity of wildlife. The 100-square mile park is mostly open water and currently encompasses seven small keys that can only be accessed by boat or seaplane. This position is based on Loggerhead Key, which is located ~3 miles west of Garden Key where park staff are based. Interns will routinely travel to/from Loggerhead Key via small watercraft (<30’ in length). Interns generally work 10-day work shifts, with 4 days off in Key West between shifts. This means that frequent travel by boat to/from the park, under sometimes adverse weather conditions, will be required. Primary means of travel will be through the ferry concessionaire. There are no stores or any other means to replenish provisions while in the park; thus, the incumbent will need to plan for all food, drink, and necessary supplies to bring with them for each 10-day shift. This is primarily a field-based position requiring long hours on the beach in a hot, humid environment. Much of the work will be performed independently as interns generally work opposite schedules, though there may be overlap 2-3 days a week. Incumbent must be physically capable of walking up to 4 miles on the beach (with gear) every day and digging deep holes in the sand. The heat index in the summer often exceeds 100 degrees and storms can be frequent during the wet season. Stinging/biting insects and poisonous plants may be encountered. Some tasks (data entry, verification, report writing) may require work in an office-based setting.


  • Applicant must have a valid driver's license to drive a government vehicle.
  • A personal vehicle is recommended for this position.

Park housing is available and will be provided at no cost to the participant. Housing is provided both while working on Loggerhead Key in Dry Tortugas National Park (DRTO) and during days off in Key West, Florida. Both furnished quarters are shared, dorm style with other park interns, volunteers, or staff. Facilities on Loggerhead Key (duty station) are rustic but include water and electricity. Loggerhead Key is solar powered, and interns will be responsible for running the reverse osmosis machine regularly to make their own water. The interns will have access to basic amenities on the island (stove, oven, microwave, fridge, bathroom, etc.). Interns will need to supply all personal items including linens, pillows, and toiletries. Given the remoteness, incumbent should plan to have no internet access or cell service while in the park. Communication is primarily through park radio.

Dry Tortugas, Sea Turtle, Resource Management, Biological Monitoring, Conservation

This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications, or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first. Once you begin applying for a position, the application must be completed in one sitting. You cannot save and return later to complete it. Applicants can apply for up to five Scientists in Parks Intern positions per winter. You need to complete a separate application for each position in order to be considered. You should receive a confirmation email after successfully submitting an application. Sometimes institutional email filters/settings can redirect or block emails related to the application. We recommend watching spam, junk, and promotional email folders in case your service delivers messages there. Please visit How to Apply for additional resources and information about applying (i.e., learn what materials to have ready for applying, find a worksheet that previews application questions, etc.)