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Interpretation Member - Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Oconaluftee)

Job Location

Cherokee, NC


Type of Job




Published By

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Published Date

Mar 28, 2023

About the job

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American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the National Park Service, is seeking ONE Interpretation Member to assist with implementing and delivering interpretive programming to park visitors alongside Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) staff.

For more information about ACE, please visit:

Start Date: May 7th, 2023 (flexibility may be available for the right candidate)

Estimated End Date: Nov 4, 2023 (or 26 weeks from the start date)

*a 26-week minimum commitment is required*

Location Details/Description: Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Cherokee, North Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is unique among America's National Parks; located on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for its rich diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of the ancient mountains and forests, and its preservation of the Southern Appalachian mountain culture.

Oconaluftee Visitor Center is home to the Mountain Farm Museum. The Mountain Farm Museum includes farm buildings such as a farmhouse, barn, apple house, springhouse and a blacksmith shop. During the summer there are often chickens, pigs, and horses on the farm.

For more information regarding the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or the National Park Service, please visit:

Position Overview: In support of the mission of the National Park Service, the primary duties of the Interpretation Member will include:

Resource Education- Educate visitors about the significance and uniqueness of park resources, conservation, and ecologically sound practices and the laws, rules, and regulations developed to protect park resources and provide for their safe and non-consumptive use.

Resource Protection- Preserving the natural and cultural resources of the park by preventing degradation of ecosystems, historical structures and artifacts and by preventing the loss and theft of objects, flora, and fauna through information and education.

This will be achieved through the delivery of interpretive programs. Through place-based learning, visitors make real-world connections with science and history as they explore our National Parks!

The Member participates closely with National Park rangers to design, deliver, and evaluate programs in the park. Projects include developing new materials, maintaining program statistics, and creating visual aids.

The Member will conduct basic research of topics for the purpose of developing and presenting interpretative programs, both orally and/or in writing. The Member will present a variety of formal and informal programs, including orientation talks, environmental education programs, conducted walks, cultural demonstrations, and evening programs.

Duties are performed on or off-site at locations designated by the park, including visitor centers, campgrounds, historical sites, etc. The Member will learn park resources by reviewing published maps, park research materials, and other documents previously prepared by park rangers / other professionals and by talking with park staff. The Member may also assist with one-time or annual celebrations related to programs / themes of the park and other special events.

The Member will also assist with tasks at the Mountain Farm Museum. This may include cultural demonstrations such as hearth cooking, broom making, blacksmithing, and caring for farm animals.

Other collateral duties may be assigned, including the research and development of social media posts, virtual programs, educational videos, interpretive signage, displays, website design, etc.

This individual placement is meant to facilitate professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with professionals. This could include gaining experience in different conservation fields and shadowing different work groups.

Schedule: Interpretation members should anticipate working nights, holidays, and weekends. Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides visitors services 364 days a year. Members will be assigned lieu days (days off) at the start of the season and be on a 5-4-9 schedule. A 5-4-9 schedule means you work five 9-hour days one week and three 9-hour and one 8-hour day the second week of a pay period, for a total of 80 hours per pay period. This gives members a three-day weekend every other week. Typical shifts begin as early as 7AM and end as late as 12AM.

For example, you might work Thursday - Monday 8:30AM - 6PM in week one and Thursday - Saturday 8:30AM - 6PM and Sunday 8:30AM - 5PM in week two.

Position Benefits

Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute ~40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $600/week to cover the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.

AmeriCorps Education Award Program: This position may be eligible for one 900-hour or two 450-hour AmeriCorps Education Award while serving under the EAP 2022/23 grant year program, valued up to $3,247.50 upon successful completion of a complete service term and 900 hours.

Loan Forbearance: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for federal loan forbearance. Additional enrollment steps are required.

Qualifying Child Care Coverage: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for qualifying child care coverage. Additional enrollment steps are required.

Public Land Corps Hiring Authority: Members serving under this agreement may be eligible for a federal hiring authority upon completion of their term of service. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship. Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility, or view general information online here.

Housing: The ACE member will be accommodated in shared park housing (own bedroom) at no cost for the duration of the term. Wi-Fi may be available.

Cell phone reception is not always reliable and a personal vehicle is required, due to the remoteness of the site and no reliable public transportation. Wi-Fi is available for ACE Member use at the Oconaluftee administration building. Groceries and medical facilities are available within a 15-30 minute drive. The ACE Member will have use of a government vehicle for project-related travel.

Provided Training/Orientation: ACE members will receive position specific training and an orientation outlining ACE policies and procedures, clear guidance on prohibited activities, and networks for support. In addition to safety training, the Member will receive training in park resource knowledge, delivery of audience-centered / curriculum-based programs, report writing, and other position-related skills.



  • Members must be US citizen or Permanent Resident, as required to comply with U.S. government contracts
  • Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner.
  • Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
  • A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request)
  • A personal vehicle
  • Willing to undergo and must pass the required three-part criminal history check.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Must be able and willing to serve outdoors in varying weather conditions
  • Must be able to communicate clearly and concisely with resource professionals within the NPS
  • ACE Members will need to complete bi-weekly timesheets, beginning of term feedback forms, end of term evaluations and for longer terms, a mid-term evaluation.
  • Member may not participate in any prohibited activities as listed in the Member Service Agreement
  • Must have effective communication skills with diverse audiences.
  • ACE Members must verify that they are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 or have requested and been granted a medical or religious exemption to vaccination by the time they start their term.
  • To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website


  • Competitive applicants for the position can hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree and/or experience in environmental education, interpretation, biological sciences, history, archaeology, cultural or natural resource management, education, park management, or a related discipline
  • Knowledge and skills in the principles of education and interpretation
  • A strong demonstrated interest and/or education in the field of natural and cultural resources
  • Demonstrated experience or interest in working with underserved communities
  • Excellent writing, research,public speaking skills, and organizational skills
  • Bilingual applicants are strongly encouraged and welcome

Physical Demands, Work Environment and Working Conditions:

  • Physical Demands: Requires frequent sitting, standing, walking, hiking, carrying, using hands to handle or feel, reaching with hands and arms, talking and hearing. Manual dexterity required for use of various tools, computer keyboard/mouse and other office equipment. Required to stoop, kneel, climb stairs, and/or crouch. Ability to hike up to 3 miles over rugged and uneven terrain.
  • Vision Requirements: Requires close, distance, peripheral and depth perception vision as well as the ability to focus.
  • Weight Lifted or Force Exerted: Frequently moves up to 15 pounds, ability to move up to 15 pounds.
  • Environmental: Outdoor and indoor conditions. Work environment conditions can change frequently; working under adverse weather conditions and in various climates.
  • Noise Environment: Moderate noise such as in a business office with equipment and light traffic.
  • Travel: This position does not require unique travel.

Environmental Conditions/Hazards: The ACE member(s) may encounter environmental conditions/hazards including extreme heat or cold, rocky terrain, swamp or wetland conditions, biting insects, and potentially dangerous wildlife. The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members or resources.

Vehicle and Equipment Use/Safety: If a vehicle is required for the accomplishment of the duties, one will be provided by the NPS or ACE. Any tools required for the accomplishment of the duties will be provided by the NPS. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), typically provided by the NPS, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it. Strict adherence to NPS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required.

To Apply: Please submit your resume, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: Early consideration will be given as resumes are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC Recruitment and Outreach Specialist, Emanuel Cruz at

EEO: American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.

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