Rivers, Trails, Conservation Assistance Fellows

Posted by on January 16, 2012

[emailed 1/9/2012]

RTCA Fellows:
A Partnership between the National Park Service,
Student Conservation Association, and AmeriCorps

In June 2010, NPS was awarded an AmeriCorps National Direct grant which subsidized SCA and RTCA to recruit, hire, train and support up to 30 AmeriCorps members over three years.  These “Fellows” serve 10-month assignments.  The stated intent of the AmeriCorps grant is to engage more young people in community-based conservation who might not otherwise have that opportunity.

RTCA Position Description:
This position is one of seven enlisted nationwide by NPS to serve with RTCA planners in the full range of community assistance.  One focus of the Fellow’s responsibilities will be helping to engage young people in the local projects that RTCA is assisting. Serving alongside veteran staff, the Fellow may help collect trail use data; prepare for and conduct public meetings; create web content and other e-communications; prepare brochures and other print materials, help with trail master planning, feasibility studies, and strategic plans; conduct outreach to build community support, and coordinate with governmental and nonprofit project partners. The Fellow also will network with the other apprentices nationwide to develop effective and replicable methods for engaging young people in these local planning projects. Individuals with background and interest in community planning, landscape architecture, youth development, and outdoor recreation are strongly encouraged to apply.

RTCA Site Description:
The National Park Service (NPS) provides technical assistance to community-based outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation projects through the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program.  RTCA assistance has helped communities across the country conserve rivers, preserve open space, and develop trails and greenways (see www.nps.gov/rtca/).  The RTCA Intern will serve in the Philadelphia office, and occasionally will make day or overnight trips for work with communities in PA, NJ and DE where projects are underway in 2012.

Work Experiences — Consistent with the stipulations of the AmeriCorps grant and the RTCA program’s strategic priorities, placement and supervision of Fellows should further the following purposes and fulfill these expectations:
•    Fellows will gain an opportunity to be mentored by seasoned RTCA staff in the full range of work experienced in the program.
•    These positions, generally, are meant to introduce young adults from a broad range of backgrounds and communities to the work we do and the partners we work with.
•    Fellows will be given specific tasks and roles through which they can help NPS to engage more young people in community-based conservation.
•    Opportunities will be provided for Fellows to periodically work together as a cadre or corps.  Funds to support travel for this purpose have been programmed into the budget of our Task Agreement with SCA.
•    Fellows will be given training opportunities in fundamental skill areas that are common to RTCA project work, such as facilitation, communications, project planning and management, and group processes.
•    Fellows will be exposed to other aspects of the Service including park positions; opportunities to observe and collaborate in the work of partner organizations are also expected.

These positions provide an opportunity for broad exposure to community engagement work and a chance to contribute to expanding the ways in which the National Park Service builds relevancy among urban Americans and youth.
AmeriCorps emphasizes that the people selected for this experience are officially considered to be volunteering their services to America with an expectation of a small stipend and lots of exposure and learning. This is a full-time commitment.  Participants are permitted to hold another job while serving but are expected to maintain 40-hour/week availability for this job.  Fellows must be at least 17 years of age.
Compensation – Selected individuals can expect a number of benefits from their 10 months of service, as summarized below (note that these are approximate figures and subject to refinement in the next few weeks):
•    Subsistence allowance of $160 per week;
•    Commuting allowance, or travel costs to and from their duty location (if recruited from another part of the country) of up to $650;
•    Housing allowance budgeted at $600 per month (and up to 20% higher for certain cities according to cost of living factors), unless housing can be provided by NPS;
•    Health insurance coverage if needed;
•    Education award, upon successful completion of 1,700 hours of service (approx. 43 weeks), of $5,350 toward tuition or education loan repayment;
•    Deferment of student loan payments and interest while serving.

TO APPLY: send your resume and cover letter to david_a_lange@nps.gov by January 18th

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