The FPL program provides paid summer internships to highly accomplished undergraduate and graduate students to work on emerging management issues driven by global drivers of change and related effects in national parks. The internship projects may occur in national parks or program offices and are designed by National Park Service (NPS) staff to meet high-priority needs of parks and programs. General topic areas include resource protection; supporting science; adaptation actions; policy and planning; sustainable operations; and communication, interpretation, or education.

Previous interns have worked on a wide range of projects, including developing new interpretive programs in urban parks, monitoring glacier mass balance, developing management plans that anticipate new wildfire regimes, organizing a workshop on preservation of historic buildings, and creating high-quality videos about climate change impacts on parks.

The FPL internship positions offer students:

  • Full-time work (40 hours/week) for 11-12 weeks
  • Project experience during your summer break
  • Pay $16/hour plus benefits
  • Free or subsidized housing (in most cases, but not all)
  • Employment with the ESA
  • Mentoring by a NPS supervisor and national program manager
  • Professional development through an all expense-paid workshop at the end of the summer
  • Networking opportunities with NPS and DOI leaders
  • Development of practical skills like searching for federal jobs
  • Ability to earn a Direct Hire Authority upon successful completion

Professional development is a key attribute of the FPL. Applicants interested must be prepared to participate in rigorous and challenging projects that demand high-level academic knowledge and skills with considerable autonomy and leadership under an effective mentor.

Direct Hire Authority

The FPL operates under the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Direct Hire Authority (DHA), which means that students who excel in their internships and then subsequently complete their undergraduate or graduate degree requirements are eligible to be hired without competition into NPS, FWS, BLM, USBR, or BIA jobs for which they are qualified. Non-competitive hiring status for a FPL intern remains in effect for two years following graduation.  While the DHA enables NPS to hire highly qualified and experienced candidates into open positions efficiently, the FPL program is not a guarantee that positions appropriate to any given intern will be available in the near future.