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SECC & Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Vegetation Management Intern


Individual Placement/Internships

Job Location

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Tracking Code


Position Type


Title: Vegetation Management Intern 

Reports to: Jesse Webster; Forester, Resource Management and Science, Great Smoky Mountains National Park 

Locations: Based in Gatlinburg, TN 

Status: Seasonal, Full-time, Exempt (450-hour AmeriCorps National Service Term) 

Stipend:$600/week – paid bi-weekly   

Other Benefits: Housing provided in the park, uniform shirts, protective equipment, trainings. $1,718.25 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of service term. 

Start/End date:  05/29/2023 – 08/25/2023 (13 weeks)  

Positions Available:   

Position opened until filled. 


Southeast Conservation Corps:  
SECC empowering young adults to cultivate compassion, responsibility, and grit through community service, hard work, and environmental stewardship.  

The Southeast Conservation Corps (SECC) is a non-profit, AmeriCorps-affiliated organization. The SECC selects young adults, ages 18-30, to complete conservation work projects on public lands throughout the Southeast. SECC programs encourage environmental stewardship, foster community partnerships, and emphasize experiential learning. SECC serves a diverse population that is representative of the Southeast, including youth, graduates, veterans, and a cross-section of ethnicities and income levels.   


Site Description: 
With 800 square miles of protected forest between two national forests and bounded by the Eastern band of the Cherokee and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) is world recognized for its biological diversity, scenic beauty, and hiking opportunities. GRSM is the most visited national park in the U.S. with 12.5 million visitors in 2019. More Information about the park is available at: Great Smoky Mountains National Park (U.S. National Park Service) ( 



The Vegetation Management branch of the Resource Management and Science Division at Great Smoky Mountains National Park has several main objectives: management of invasive exotic plants and invasive forest pests, grassy bald restoration, and native plant restoration. Our agency’s mission is to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources of the NPS system for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations.  

Interns are needed to assist with accomplishing the goals of the Vegetation Management branch. Current employee staffing levels are not adequate to achieve current management goals. The interns will benefit the natural resource by restoring the landscape through control of non-native invasive plant and forest pest species and restoring native species.  


Position Responsibilities: 

  • Control invasive exotic plants. Involves mechanical (pulling) or chemical control of up to 50 species of invasive plants, navigating to and mapping sites with global positioning system (GPS) receivers and conducting treatments. Training is provided for safe pesticide use as well as plant identification and use of GPS, though basic botanical skills are helpful. Exotic plant control involves about 30%-40% of scheduled time. 
  • Forest Insect and Disease Management. Several forest insect pests’ impact GRSM forests. 
  • Hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), an invasive insect from Asia, has been in GRSM since 2000 and has caused landscape level mortality in the eastern hemlock forests. GRSM has old growth hemlock (some exceeding 500 years old) and mixed hemlock forest types, some of which are globally rare. We treat hemlocks with systemic insecticides and biocontrol predator beetles to keep hemlocks healthy and scout for new treatment areas. 
  • GRSM is also infested with balsam woolly adelgid (BWA), a European insect that has killed many of GRSM’s mature high- elevation Fraser fir trees. BWA populations are monitored annually on four mountain tops. 
  • Emerald ash borer (EAB) is a non-native wood boring beetle that kills white and green ash trees. We treat ash in high visitor use areas for public safety and in backcountry locations for genetic preservation. 
    Forest insect and disease work involves about 50% of work time. 
  • Various projects including replanting areas impacted by construction, maintaining grassy balds with brush cutters to suppress woody species and maintaining native meadow seed plantings for restoration use. Restoration work involves about 10% of work time. 


Minimum Qualifications: 

  • Ability to hike/backpack in mountainous terrain both on and off trail up to ten miles per day in hot or cold humid conditions. May require overnight backcountry camping. 
    Note: Exposure to poison ivy and biting/stinging insects is likely so those highly allergic should carefully consider this issue. 
  • Education or experience in biology, entomology, plant pathology, botany, horticulture, agriculture or related experience. 
  • Ability to work cooperatively and safely as a group member and learn new skills. 
  • Must be able to use pesticides in safe manner following required handling, application and disposal instructions, including wearing of personal protective equipment. 
  • Ability to learn safe use of cutting tools (manual or powered). 
  • Agency (SECC) provided uniform is required wear to be identifiable to the visiting public and act as a representative of the National Park Service while serving as an intern. 


Preferred Qualifications: 

  • First aid/CPR (can be provided on site) 
  • Plant and/or invertebrate identification skills beneficial. 


AmeriCorps Qualifications: 
To qualify, you must be between the ages of 18 and 30 and a US citizen that has received a high school diploma or GED. All offers of employment are conditional upon completion of an acceptable check of the National Sex Offender Public Registry and federal criminal background check. Must be eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Education Award.  



Shared housing near Headquarters is provided. You must be able to follow housing agreement rules and responsibilities including shared housekeeping duties. 



You will receive training on proper handling and use of pesticides, standard operating procedures for exotic plant management, forest pest management, backcountry safety including wildlife encounter safety, National Park Service Operational Leadership (human behavior-based work safety) and other job specific tasks. Optional training may include: first aid/ CPR, Leave No Trace (LNT) principles, Search and Rescue (SAR) team member, weed-eater operation, and others. 



A personal vehicle is not required but is recommended due to the limited public transportation. Other seasonal employees and interns live nearby so ride sharing is usually available. 


Interns are paid a living stipend of $600 per week ($1,200 dispersed bi-weekly) before taxes, via direct deposit. Upon successful completion of the term of service AmeriCorps members will earn an AmeriCorps Segal education award to be used for student loans, qualifying programs/classes, or tuition for traditional Title IV accredited colleges.  


Participation and Expedition Behavior: 

  • Work effectively as a member of a team despite potentially stressful and difficult conditions. This may require problem-solving on an interpersonal or group level as well as a willingness to accept differences. 
  • Contribute to a safe learning environment, no harassment of others for any reason. 
  • Willingness and ability to complete all aspects of the program including conservation projects, education, training, and national service. Members must commit to participating in all crew/team activities, including service days in local communities where applicable. 
  • Effectively communicate ideas and concerns as they arise directly to supervisors, colleagues, and organization staff. 
  • Have the cognitive ability to learn necessary skills and apply them to effectively carry out the service work requirements. 
  • Appropriately always represent the Program and AmeriCorps to the public and project partners. 

Outdoor Skills (where appropriate): 

Learn and safely perform fundamental outdoor work skills as appropriate to the project. Additionally, remain adequately hydrated, fed, and properly dressed to remain generally healthy and safe, avoiding environmental injuries.   


Substance Free: 

In accordance with a drug-free workplace, alcohol and drugs are prohibited while participating in AmeriCorps and program activities and while on organization property.  


Additional Notes: 

All applicants are required to perform a criminal history check, offers of employment are contingent upon results. 


This program is available to all, without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or expression, political affiliation, marital or parental status, genetic information, and military service. Where a significant portion of the population eligible to be served needs services or information in a language other than English, the recipient shall take reasonable steps to provide written material of the type ordinarily available to the public in appropriate languages. 


To Apply: 

Follow the SECC link and complete the application. Please include 3 references, resume, and copy of your transcripts (unofficial okay). You can put the references in a word doc and upload it alongside your resume. A cover letter is encouraged but not required. 


If you have questions about the position, please contact: 

Jesse Webster 

Forester, Resource Management and Science 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park 

(865) 436-1730 


If you have questions about the application process, please contact: 

Kahla Stewart

Intern Program Coordinator

Southeast Conservation Corps 

(423) 402-6004 


This position is located in Gatlinburg, TN. View the Google Map in full screen.