Position Title: Biology Assistant
Park Unit: Congaree National Park
Location: Hopkins, South Carolina
Number of positions available: 2
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 12 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 10/07/2024
Flexible Start Date: YES

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.)

Congaree National Park uplands were historically characterized by the longleaf pine ecosystem which is one of the most biodiverse but imperiled ecosystems in North America. One of the species that calls the longleaf pine ecosystem home is the red-cockaded woodpecker. The red-cockaded woodpecker is listed under the Endangered Species Act as endangered and was last seen at Congaree National Park in the 1990s; however, due to staff and funding shortages, surveys to confirm presence or absence of the species have not been conducted in decades.

This position will work to understand habitat requirements and presence/absence of the red-cockaded woodpecker in Congaree National Park. The position will perform avian surveys throughout the park but focusing in the area the red-cockaded woodpecker was last seen. They will also perform habitat surveys and various other forestry related tasks by assisting the NPS Forester with collecting data on habitat metrics. Those duties will include but not limited to performing stand surveys, marking candidate trees for red-cockaded woodpecker cavity nests, taking data on tree species composition, fire effects, and more.

This position will perform extremely important work by performing surveys to confirm the presence or absence of a listed species in Congaree National Park. The position will also play a major role in collecting information on habitat metrics the woodpeckers need. This information will allow Congaree National Park to manage the forests using best available knowledge which would put Congaree on a trajectory to reintroduce the red-cockaded woodpecker, if it is truly absent from the landscape. In addition, the program will provide the intern experience in natural resource management at a National Park. Interns will work alongside NPS employees and experience many aspects of public service that embody the intention of the National Park Service and gain appreciation for the NPS mission.


The intern will have a direct positive impact on Congaree National Park by collecting valuable data on a highly valued resource. They will have the opportunity to provide input and be a part of new research projects related to the species. The data they collect helps biologists make decisions on a park-wide scale that promote the wellbeing and conservation of the species. The intern will be immersed in both the work and life culture of the National Park Service. Through this work, interns will learn about the mission of the National Park Service to provide meaningful stewardship and help conservation efforts on public lands.

Deliverables & Work Products

  • Performing winter avian surveys (preferably Nov - March) for the red-cockaded woodpecker.
  • Assist the NPS Forester with data collection on habitat metrics.
  • Write and finalize an end of season report on the red-cockaded woodpecker surveys and any habitat metric reporting.
  • Research various habitat characteristics and factors related to requirements of the red-cockaded woodpecker such as forest structure and prescribed fire.
  • Networking with other agencies and experts (Fort Jackson biologist, SC DNR biologist, etc)
  • Installing cavity boxes and assisting in reintroduction efforts of the red-cockaded woodpecker.


  • Positive attitude, strong work ethic.
  • Ability to work in inclement weather over varied terrain.
  • Ability to establish goals and prioritize work.
  • Curious about the natural world.
  • Comfortable working outdoors where snakes, insects, and other wild animals are common.

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 12 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

Congaree National Park is located approximately 30 miles outside of Columbia, the state capital, where there are many recreational and social activities that the interns can easily engage in. Recreation at the park includes hiking, fishing, canoeing/kayaking, bird watching, and attending ranger led walks/talks. Grocery stores and restaurants are 20-30 minutes away with a few local eateries only a short drive away. Temperatures can vary from mild to hot and humid conditions. The daily work will be both outdoors and indoors. Most of the work will take place in the upland (non-floodplain) areas of the park. Interns may need to hike both on and off trail to reach more remote work locations and potentially work in hot, humid, buggy conditions.


  • 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. Lodging consists of a bed space in a shared 4-bedroom (6 bed) dormitory that includes, a shared kitchen, shared bathroom and shared living area. Each bedroom includes at least 1 twin-sized bed, dresser or armoire and ceiling lights and fan. The kitchen is equipped with a stove, microwave, refrigerator, coffeemaker, and basic cookware and eating utensils. Additional kitchen tools may be desired by long-term guests. The living room has modest furnishings and a TV. The restroom facilities include an “in-house” bathroom with a stall shower, two sinks, and a toilet. Additional showers and toilet facilities are available in the “comfort station,” located across the gravel parking lot. A washer/dryer is located in the bathroom of the dorm. The screened porch offers additional seating, electric outlets and tables. Internet access is available within the dorm area. Guests will need to bring their own bedding including linens, pillows, blankets, laundry supplies, food, spices, and beverages, toiletries, towels, clothing (including field clothes, rain gear and boots), field work supplies (backpack, refillable water bottles), and small personal appliances (alarm clock, small lamp, fan, etc.).

habitat restoration, forestry, endangered species, rare ecosystem, bird surveys

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.)