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Engaging Native American Youth on Public & Ancestral Lands FS-USA-67

NC has the largest Native American population east of the Mississippi River & USFS seeks to engage Tribes in the management of public & ancestral lands. VSFS Interns will work with archeologists, partnership coordinators, and other FS staff as well as Tribal Leaders and Conservation Corps.

The National Forests in North Carolina (NFsNC) are the Pisgah, Nantahala, Uwharrie, and Croatan National Forests, covers 1.25 million acres of public lands, and supports over 7 million visitors every year. NFsNC is seeking support to engage members of consulting Tribes in youth engagement.

VSFS Intern projects, roles, and responsibilities will include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Serves as a foundational member of a larger working group to support Tribal engagement on ancestral and public lands
• Supports the project management of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) Tribal Youth Crew set for implementation during the summer of 2022**
• Designs presentations to share with various Tribal and nonprofit stakeholder groups
• Collaborates with partners to write grant proposals to leverage additional funding and support from organizations like The National Forest Foundation Matching Awards Program, The Little Acorn Fund – a donor-advised fund through Western North Carolina Community Foundation, The Kulynych Family Foundation, The Cannon Foundation.
• Helps develop resources to outreach and recruit Tribal youth crew leader and member positions
• Collaborates with the Office of Public Affairs to tell the story of partnership
• Develops a transition document as a succession planning tool for the next VSFS intern

**VSFS Interns will support the EBCI Tribal Youth Crew in project implementation. Beginning with the Trail of Tears cultural significance at the Tusquittee District Office, Tribal members would engage on creating a reflection trail: erecting interpretive signs, installing traditional-style benches, & conducting trail maintenance. In addition, the crew would spend a week with different resource areas in conjunction with program experts from the Tribe. During this project the crew would be receiving information on cultural aspects of each program area along with an overview on FS management practices/objectives while conducting a scope of work carried out on the ground. This project will serve as a foundation in creating stronger youth engagement partnerships with all Cherokee Tribes (EBCI, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB), & the Cherokee Nation) whose ancestral lands lie within NFsNC. During this first year we will be exploring what crew model will be the most inclusive for Tribal (residential vs. day crew, hitch length, duration, program area, etc.) Future growth of this program will include an increase to the 640 hours as required by the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 as well as the inclusion of non-local Cherokee tribes (United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB), and the Cherokee Nation) and additional Forests.

We care about you and your career path. Therefor, this internship includes multiple professional development opportunities such as:
  • A virtual panel with USFS employees around diverse career paths within the Forest Service;
  • Webinars overviewing post-graduate opportunities, pathways to hire into the Forest Service, and ways to increase your competitiveness for Forest Service and federal jobs;
  • Opportunities to present to a Regional and National audience on the program and deliverables;
  • Connections with the Southern Region’s Recruitment Team to support job skills like building a federal resume, navigating USAJobs, and interviewing for federal jobs;
  • Mentors will provide endorsement of skills & recommendations on LinkedIn following a VSFS’s interns successful completion of the program/academic year;

VSFS interns will be signed up under Individual Volunteer Agreements (OF-301a). All VSFS interns are required to record their hours worked on this project and will be reported in the Volunteer & Service Programs Accomplishments Database (VSReports), the Forest Service’s official national reporting database.