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Invasive Species Member – Rydell and Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuges

American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is seeking one Invasive Species Member  to contribute to work alongside Rydell and Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge Staff. During this term, the ACE members will work on meaningful conservation projects such as invasive species inventory and removal.

For more information about ACE, please visit:

Start Date: May 2024
Estimated End Date: September/October 2024
*a 20-week minimum commitment is required, approximately 800 hours*


Location Details/Description: Glacial Ridge and Rydell  National Wildlife Refuges near Erskine, MN

Glacial Ridge NWR was established in 2004 to restore and preserve the character of the historic tallgrass prairie landscape. It is located in Polk County in northwestern Minnesota, within the Lake Agassiz Beach Ridges Landscape and provides vital habitat for breeding grassland birds and a wide variety of other wildlife. The Refuge started with an initial transfer of 1,993 acres of land from The Nature Conservancy to the USFWS.  To date, more than 23,000 acres have been acquired by the USFWS.  Glacial Ridge is the largest contiguous prairie and wetland restoration project in U.S. history. Glacial Ridge NWR is administered out of the same office as Rydell NWR (2,039 acres), which was established in 1992 to protect wildlife habitat and diversity for migratory birds, and to promote environmental education. With more than six miles of paved public trails, Rydell is one of the most accessible refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Erskine, MN is a small town of roughly 500 people, which boasts the world’s largest northern pike! The rural setting provides tremendous opportunity for quality hunting, fishing, camping, and other outdoor recreation. The nearest “cities”, Crookston (7,800) and Thief River Falls (8,500), are both located roughly 30 minutes away. Grand Forks, ND (55,000) is located about an hour away and provides the closest “big city” feel.


For more information about Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, please visit:

Position Overview: 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. This position will help FWS realize that mission at Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge. 

The selected individuals (members) will work alongside FWS staff on a number of projects during their term. The intern’s duties would focus primarily on invasive plant species inventory and control, as well as tallgrass prairie vegetation surveys. This will include a special focus on monitoring within the perimeter of a >10,000-acre wildfire that occurred on Glacial Ridge NWR in March of 2021. Members will be required to operate off-road utility vehicles to access refuge tracts. This work will also include data entry and some involvement with GIS. Other biological responsibilities will include migratory bird surveys and potentially other periodic wildlife monitoring activities. In addition to the aforementioned biological work, the intern will be given exposure to habitat management, public use/visitor services, and refuge maintenance activities.

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:Duties will primarily be carried out Monday - Friday.  Bi-weekly totals should not exceed 80 hours.  A flexible work schedule may be required, which could involve work performed outside of normal work hours including on weekends and/or holidays.  Time off may be granted and requests should be directed to ACE and the FWS for approval.


Position Benefits

Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute ~40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $450/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.

AmeriCorps Education Award Program: This position may be eligible for an 675-hour AmeriCorps Education Award while serving under the EAP 2023/24 grant year program, valued up to $2,626.27 upon successful completion of a complete service term and 675 hrs. 

Loan Forbearance: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for federal loan forbearance. 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:

Housing: ACE members will be accommodated in provided FWS housing at no cost for the duration of the term.

Relocation Allowance: ACE members will have access to up to $500 to be used for eligible relocation expenses. Further details regarding distribution of these funds will be provided during the interview process. 

Gear Reimbursement: ACE members will have up to $500 to spend on eligible gear purchases. Eligible gear for this position includes boots, outerwear, work pants, etc., and must be approved by ACE staff prior to purchase. 

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. 

Grant Funding Opportunity:  The selected candidate(s) for this position will be eligible to apply for ACE’s Access and Inclusion Grant. This is a $500 grant which is intended to make participation in ACE positions more accessible to individuals who are underrepresented in the conservation field. Grant recipients will be able to allocate this funding to financial need(s) of their choosing. A limited number of grants are available. 



  • Members must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, as required by 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ability to multitask and shift schedule and priorities to meet changing conditions.
  •  Ability to effectively communicate with supervisor and coworkers
  • Commitment to completing tasks thoroughly and on time. 
  • Ability to complete tasks independently and work well in a team
  • Ability to work doing strenuous activity for significant periods of time, often walking over rough terrain and in muddy conditions; on rough or uneven surfaces; wading through vegetation choked marshes, lifting and carrying heavy objects (40 lbs), and in many instances during difficult weather conditions.
  • Proficient in English.
  • To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website:


  • Competitive applicants for this position can hold or be pursuing a Bachelor's of Arts degree in wildlife biology, botany, natural resource management, or other related discipline appropriate to this position.
  • ​​Ability to use computer technology to maintain and retrieve information from automated data systems, develop spreadsheets, and use word processing and statistical software programs in order to develop reports.
  • Familiarity with geographic information systems (GIS), aerial photography and survey techniques, and global positioning systems (GPS).
  • Familiarity with ESRI programs such as ArcGIS Pro, Collector, and Survey123.
  • Ability to communicate in writing in order to assist in the preparation of survey summaries
  • Ability to operate cars, trucks and trailers.
  • Ability to use various specialized tools and equipment required to conduct surveys.

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 over rough 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 40 lbs.
  • Environmental: Outdoor and indoor conditions. Work environment conditions can change frequently; working under adverse weather conditions and in various climates.
  • Noise Environment: Moderate to high noise such as gas-powered chainsaws and other hand and power tools. 
  • 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 FWS or ACE.  Any tools required for the accomplishment of the duties will be provided by the FWS. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), typically provided by the FWS, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it.  Strict adherence to FWS 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 FWS Member manager, Mac Utter at

EEO: Employment with ACE is based upon ability, qualifications, attitude, and job-related factors. Every qualified employee or applicant has the same opportunity for recruitment, hire, training, transfer, promotion, compensation, demotion, termination, benefits, employee activities, and general treatment without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, gender, national origin, pregnancy, ancestry, citizenship status, genetic information (including of a family member), veteran or military status, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, medical condition, marital or parental status, political affiliation, ethnicity, hair texture or style, arrest record, caste, hereditary status, endogamy, or any other classification protected by applicable local, state, or federal law.