Interpretive Park Ranger Intern

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This position is being offered in partnership with the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) through the Diversity in Conservation Internship Program.

Internship Position Title 

Interpretive Park Ranger

Host site

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The mission of the National Park Service is to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.


Cherokee, NC


May - August 2020 (10 weeks)

Position Summary

Interpretive park rangers play a critical role in the National Parks Service's mission by connecting visitors to park stories and providing relevant, educational, and interpretive opportunities. Interpretive park rangers are the “front-line” of the National Park Service’s mission: preparing the public for their visit, educating, and inspiring the public to learn and care about the park both inside and outside of park boundaries.

The interpretive park ranger intern serves as a member of the larger interpretive operation of the south district of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Collectively, this team manages a busy visitor center that receives more than 500,000 visitors annually. Additionally the team manages an outdoor exhibit called the “Mountain Farm Museum,” (MFM). The MFM is a collection of historic farm buildings where staff manages live chickens, hogs, and an orchard. In addition many historical demonstrations are conducted throughout the year such as candle making, blacksmithing, etc.  Throughout the summer rangers, including interns, also develop and present a variety of interpretive programs for both youth and adult audiences. 

Job Duties

Visitor Services in the Visitor Center – 25%

  • Providing area information, trip planning information, and general visitor assistance.

Managing the Mountain Farm Museum – 20%

  • Feeding chickens, feeding hogs, monitoring conditions, safely addressing routine maintenance issues, providing demonstrations.

Interpretive Programming – 25%

  • Developing and leading formal interpretive programs (2/week).

Other duties as assigned – 30%

  • Counting publications, assisting with elk management, trail condition assessments, social media, etc. 


Required knowledge, skills and experience:

A passion for public land conservation; A passion for working the public; Self-motivation; Creative skills; Experience with high-visitation sites (zoos, parks, aquariums), Skill in communicating complex issues and science, knowledge of the National Park System and its mission; Knowledge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Preferred knowledge, skills and experience:

Knowledge of and experience in public land interpretation; Experience with environmental education; Fluency in any language besides English. 

Unique considerations that this position demands:   

  • Intern will be required to work some weekends, nights, and holidays

Application Materials

Resume, Transcripts, and a short cover letter that explains why you are interested in this position and what specifically you will bring to this team.

If you have questions or require more information about this position, contact PT Lathrop at 828-497-1905; Learn more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park at

About the Diversity in Conservation Internship Program (DCIP)

Founded in 2008, CTNC's internship program provides a platform for college students and graduates of color – including people of Asian, Black, Latinx, multiracial, and Native American descent – to engage in and help shape conservation work. Rising leaders of color from across the state participate in paid 10-week summer internships, gaining real-world, hands-on experience. CTNC provides compensation, one-on-one mentorship, and professional networking to equip interns with a strong foundation for successful careers in conservation and beyond.

During the program, host sites learn about conservation through a lens of race and power. Through a combination of individual and group learning, host site supervisors build their capacity to facilitate discussions about race within their organizations, understand their relationships to power, and develop strategies for transforming a culture based in race equity practice.


Current undergraduates - $4200

Program Alumni undergraduates - $4400

Recent graduates and graduate students - $4400

Program Alumni graduate students - $4600Contact

If you have questions about the program, please contact Lacey Frownfelter at

*Please note that interviews are scheduled and conducted through the host site.*

Location: Cherokee, NC
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