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Bolson Tortoise Intern


Individual Placement/Internships

Job Location

40 Refuge Road, San Acacia, New Mexico

Tracking Code


Position Type


Title:  Bolson Tortoise Intern

Start/End Date: April 1, 2024 – August 30, 2024 (anticipated)

Term Length:  22 weeks

Living Stipend: $600/week

Reports To: Wildlife Refuge Biologist

Location: Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge - 40 Refuge Road, San Acacia, NM 87831

Status:  675-hour AmeriCorps Service Term; 40 hours/week

Benefits: housing available onsite; Public Lands Corps Certificate* (that allows for competitive hiring for USA jobs/government jobs) and AmeriCorps Education Award $2,626 - both with successful completion of the internship.


AmeriCorps is the federal agency for national service and volunteerism. AmeriCorps provides opportunities for Americans of all backgrounds to serve their country, address the nation’s most pressing challenges, and improve lives and communities. Environmental stewardship programs help conserve natural habitats, improve energy efficiency, protect clean air and water, and help to mitigate the effects of climate change among other environmental efforts.


Conservation Corps New Mexico (CCNM)

Conservation Corps New Mexico, a program of Conservation Legacy and AmeriCorps partner, aims to continue the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930's. CCNM is focused on connecting youth, young adults, and recent era military veterans with conservation service work projects on public lands. CCNM operates programs across southern New Mexico and western Texas that engage individuals and strengthen communities through service and conservation. The CCNM Las Cruces office manages the Individual Placement Program.



These Individual Placement Positions are unique development opportunities. Interns are paired with a local supervisor and gain technical, hands-on experience in the work of these organizations or agencies. Site supervisors commit to facilitate career development; provide an introduction to numerous pathways within the conservation field; and create accessible, meaningful, learning opportunities and experiences for interns.


Position Summary:

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is a part of the National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the FWS whose mission is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest refuges in the lower 48 states. Located in rural southern New Mexico, the 230,000-acre refuge includes four different biomes that intersect and support a wide array of biological diversity. The largest river in New Mexico, the Rio Grande, also flows through the center of the refuge and serves as an important source of water that creates an oasis for wildlife in the arid landscape. The refuge is unique in that it was set aside “to preserve and enhance the integrity and the natural character of the ecosystems of the property by creating a wildlife refuge managed as nearly as possible in its natural state.” Therefore, the refuge is not managed for specific wildlife species, but instead focuses on letting natural processes such as flood and fire to prevail.


The primary purpose for this internship is to assist with the reintroduction of the endangered Bolson Tortoise. This tortoise species once inhabited southern New Mexico but has been extirpated from 90% of its range and is now only found in the wild in the southern Chihuahuan desert in Mexico. The Reintroduction of the Bolson Tortoise to Sevilleta NWR represents a significant step towards the recovery of this species and will greatly lessen its chances of going extinct. The Bolson Tortoise also acts as a keystone species by providing burrows for other wildlife to live in, so its reintroduction will have a positive impact on the ecosystem overall. The intern’s help on this project will greatly expedite the reintroduction process and play a crucial role in the conservation of this species. The Bolson Tortoise’s reintroduction is also as important to the community as it is to the environment. The first public meeting announcing the reintroduction of the Bolson Tortoise was attended by over 230 people from the surrounding community. This internship will also assist with various other biological projects on the refuge from time to time such as Yellow-billed Cuckoo surveys, SW Willow Flycatcher surveys, and invasive ungulate surveys and removal.


The intern will help create a release enclosure and a viewing enclosure for Bolson Tortoises, assist with the endangered species permitting and recovery planning process, help release 10 Bolson Tortoises into the wild on the refuge, and monitor the released tortoises to ensure their survival and learn about their biology.


This intern will work directly with natural resource professionals including land managers, biologists, environmental educators for the entirety of their internship. The relationships they build with these people and the knowledge and skills they gain from working with them will be immeasurably beneficial for gaining employment and advancing in the conservation and natural resource management field.


Essential Responsibilities and Functions: 

  • Create a release and viewing enclosure for the Bolson Tortoises.
    • Work with Refuge Biologist to design the enclosures; work with Refuge Biologist and volunteers to build the enclosures.
  • Assist staff with the endangered species permitting and recovery plan process.
    • Work with Refuge Biologist to create a section 7, 5-year plan to coordinate with other recovery efforts in the U.S. and Mexico.
  • Release 10 Bolson Tortoises into the wild on the refuge.
    • Collaborate with the Turner Endangered Species Fund and Ecological Services to transport 10 tortoises from the Amaderis Ranch and release them on the refuge.
  • Monitor the released tortoises.
    • Assist Refuge Biologist with attaching GPS locaters to the tortoises and track their movements.
    • Perform wellness checks on tortoises if they display signs of trouble.
    • Study the tortoise population to learn about their biology and vital rates of the population.


Trainings Provided:

  • Defensive driving
  •  Off-road utility vehicle safety and operation
  • Trencher safety and operation
  • Federal Endangered species documentation
  • Tortoise handling and healthcare
  • GPS systems
  • Study design and analysis


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Per federal grant requirements, this internship is for young adults between the ages of 18-30 (35 for veterans), inclusive, at the time the individual begins term of service.
  • U.S citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Valid driver’s license.
  •  Personal Vehicle for transportation outside of work.


Preferred Qualifications:

·       Hold or pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences or natural resources and/or have relevant work experience in those subject areas.


 Physical Requirements:

  • To successfully perform essential functions, the individual is required to sit, stand, walk, speak, hear, etc. May be required to stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl for significant periods of time and be able to safely lift 50 pounds on a routine basis. He/she must be able to operate office equipment, telephone, and computer and reach with hands and arms.
  • Ability to hike and navigate in rough terrain.
  • Reasonable accommodation may be made for qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. 


Participant Essential Eligibility Requirements/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.
  • Effectively communicate ideas and concerns as they arise directly to supervisors, colleagues, and organization staff.
  • Appropriately represent Conservation Corps New Mexico, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, and AmeriCorps to the public and partners at all times.
  • Flexibility, adaptability, and capacity to work in a fluid, changing work environment.


Safety and Judgment:

  • Effectively communicate danger to others in the form of either a warning of danger others may be encountering or a notification of personal distress, injury or need for assistance. Must be able to do so at a distance of up to 50 meters and in conditions with limited visibility or loud background noise such as darkness or high winds.
  • Effectively perceive and understand significant and apparent hazards and follow direction by others so that you will be able to successfully execute techniques to manage hazards. These directions may be given before the hazard is encountered or may need to be given during the exposure to the hazard. Ability to respond appropriately to stress or crises.
  • Stay alert and focused for several hours at a time while traveling and working in varied weather conditions.
  • If taking prescription medications, participants must be able to maintain proper dosage by self- medicating without assistance from others.


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.


*To be eligible for a Public Lands Corps certificate, interns must be between the ages of 18-30 (35 for veterans), inclusive, at the time the individual begins the term of service.

Conservation Legacy is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to hiring a breadth of diverse professionals and encourage members of diverse groups to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, political affiliation, protected veteran status, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements. If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation due to a disability during application or recruiting process, please send a request to the hiring manager.


To Apply: Please submit an updated resume and cover letter along with the online application at Consideration will be given as resumes are received and this position may close at any time. If you have questions, contact CCNM’s Individual Placement Program Director, Joy Hernández at


For more information about Conservation Corps New Mexico, please visit Conservation Corps New Mexico is a program of Conservation Legacy.

This position is located at 40 Refuge Road, San Acacia, NM. View the Google Map in full screen.