http://www.fs.usda.gov

US Forest Service

Hydrologic Technician

April - August 2020 • Cedar City, UT

What I liked

I loved being able to spend so much time in the mountains working with one of the West's most vital resources.

What I wish was different

I wish there had been a little less office work. There really wasn't that much though.

Advice

I would say to work hard and engage your supervisors to learn all you can about what they do.
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Economic Research Assistant

January 2020 • Fort Collins, CO

What I liked

This job applies to my major

What I wish was different

I wish the office didn't close down, but I understand it was necessary

Advice

Communicate with everyone!
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Forest service trail crew

May - August 2020 • Bonners Ferry, ID

What I liked

It was a fun job that got me outside everyday, up into mountains. I got to see a lot of cool places, and use a lot of cool tools like chainsaws.

What I wish was different

The only bad thing this season had nothing to do with the job itself, just the COVID 19 pandemic. It delayed our start date and made traveling as a crew difficult.

Advice

It's a tough job, but also a rewarding one. Don't let yourself get scared off by the workload, because it is totally worth it.
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Botany intern

June - August 2020 • Wellston, MI

What I liked

The people were very nice and like able, I learned so much and am very excited to take my experiences into my field in the future.

What I wish was different

I wish it had been a longer internship and that I got paid more.

Advice

Get as much from the internship as possible, accept all learning opportunities and make as many connections as possible!
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Programming Intern

September 2020 • Los Angeles, CA

What I liked

The work life balance was great and the environment was casual. Our work had a greater chance to be impactful as interns at the USFS rather than a larger public company.

What I wish was different

I wish the structure for interns had been more organized and for us to be given more direction.

Advice

Reach out to your mentors and don't be afraid to ask questions or ask for help.
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Wildland Firefighter

May - August 2019 • South Fork, CO

What I liked

The opportunities that I had as well as the people that I got to work with.

What I wish was different

It was pretty much perfect.

Advice

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
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Forestry Technician

May - August 2018 • Salt Lake City, UT

What I liked

Being in the mountains every day.

What I wish was different

More training opportunities.

Advice

Come in shape and ready to work hard and learn a lot.
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Biological Science Tech (Soils)

May - November 2019 • Kettle Falls, WA

What I liked

travel opportunity. cheap housing. made new friends.

What I wish was different

Advice

be open to going anywhere
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GS 4 Range Technician

April - September 2019 • Dubois, ID

What I liked

I liked being in the mountains every day. I liked riding ATV's and UTV's even if I was just spraying weeds. I also liked learning about what my supervisor does as a Range Management Specialist. I also liked the people I worked with. They all liked to work hard, and at the same time they enjoyed their work and were fun to be around.

What I wish was different

My primary position was to spot spray weeds from a John Deer Gator. I learned a lot, but I would have liked to have had more experience with plant surveys such as nestings, greenlines, and utilization.

Advice

Any government gob you apply for is through the USA Jobs website. With the Forest Service you usually have to apply months in advance. The deadline for many seasonal positions has already passed. I am not sure about when Beura of Land Management (BLM) and Natural Resource Conservation Services Apply (NRCS) for seasonal positions, but if I were you, I would create an account on the USA Jobs website and start looking for seasonal positions now. There are all sorts of positions available in recreation, range, forestry, and biological sciences. Be expecting to work hard. We worked 4 days a week 10 hours a day. Some mornings in June were cold, and some days in July were very hot. You just have to prepare accordingly for the whether and deal with it. You also have to become Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) certified to apply herbicides. There is a safety test that includes 50 questions, and a Agricultural Herbicide test that is 100 questions. My first month on the job, much of my time was spent studying for these tests. You can find study material on the ISDA website. Once you find out you have the job, begin studying immediately so you are ready to take the tests. The tests are more difficult than you would think. There is some math involved with conversions for calibrating spray equipment and mixing chemicals. The safety test was not as difficult as the Ag Herbicide. I had to take the Ag herbicide twice before I passed. You have to pass with at least a 75%. You will need this license to spray on your own, and also to use Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP's).
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Timber Hand

May - August 2019 • Happy Camp, CA

What I liked

The training opportunities

What I wish was different

Advice

Klamath national forest is fantastic for wildland fire, in that it's by far the hardest terrain in the country and good conditioning. It also provided me with numerous training opportunities.
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Field technician

May - August 2019 • Tuscaloosa, AL

What I liked

I worked through the forest dynamics lab as a contracted field technician. We worked on establishing the Terrestrial Ecology Unit Inventory (TEUI) in the southeastern US. Previously, TEUI had only been conducted in Arizona and other western, arid locations. What I really liked about this job was the opportunity to conduct leading edge work in the area of the country I grew up in.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Biological Science Technician

May - August 2019 • Sonora, CA

What I liked

Getting paid to backpack in the Sierra Nevadas.

What I wish was different

That the winter was less severe and sites opened up sooner in the summer.

Advice

Field work is the way to go.
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Wilderness Ranger

June - August 2019 • Grand Marais, MN

What I liked

I really enjoyed spending time with other wilderness Rangers, and working in the backcountry

What I wish was different

The training was a little rushed, you kind of had to learn on your own

Advice

Be prepared to work hard, but the benefits are amazing
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Forestry Technician

May - August 2019 • Moab, UT

What I liked

All the time I got to spend outdoors. Had a lot of exposure to animals, nature, and all kinds of weather. Worked with some really awesome people from all over the country, who helped me become a better person. It really helped me disconnect from the civilization for a while. No Netflix, fast food, or instagram. Just trees, fresh mountain air, and good people.

What I wish was different

more time, and to use more equipment .

Advice

working outdoors in the mountains is the best thing ever
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Wildland Firefighter

June - September 2019 • La Grande, OR

What I liked

This summer I got to work with some great people, and made lots of new friends! My favorite part of the summer was going to Montana for a fire, and being spiked out (sleeping out in the woods) in the middle of no where! This was my first time visiting Montana, and the best part of it was that I was being paid to do it!

What I wish was different

I wish summer never ended, because I honestly love my job! Some of my best memories have came from work with my best friends! We always find a way to at least make the worst possible work fun.

Advice

If you are interested in fighting wild fires, contact me or pull me aside at school! I’m always happy to help you in the long process of getting hired and I can put in a good word. Also, This job is not meant for everyone. You need to not only be physically in shape, but also mentally because we can go for up to 16 days doing hard work, sleeping on the ground in just a sleeping bag, and eating minimal food and being out through things that not everyone can handle. So you need to be strong minded and dedicated to your job!
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Unpaved road conditions surveyor

May - August 2019 • Cedar City, UT

What I liked

The pay was great and I got to see lots of amazing places across the western United States.

What I wish was different

I wish the data entry would have been easier to enter or just recorded more efficiently

Advice

Safety first.
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Wildland Firefighter

May - October 2019 • Beckwourth, CA

What I liked

The hard work and various locations I traveled to. I worked on a hotshot crew for the forest service and loved the men and women I met. We fought fire in the most dangerous and often steep terrain. Camaraderie and self fulfillment are what made this job the most memorable.

What I wish was different

I wish the job was year round.

Advice

This job requires a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication. You will not have a typical fun summer like everyone else. Although, this will be made up with fun experiences, meeting new people, and of course fighting wildland fires.
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USFS Intern

June - August 2019 • Woodland Park, CO

What I liked

Everyday was an adventure and I never got tired of any of my chores or tasks. I met a lot of scientists with research in a variety of disciplines. It was the best way to learn about forestry with all of the hands on experience I gained

What I wish was different

I wish I could have travelled more outside of Woodland park to experience other natural areas.

Advice

Speak up about what you want to experience because they don’t have a concrete schedule for everything. If you want to learn how to use a chainsaw then let your advisor know and they will most likely make arrangements!
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Forestry Aide

May - August 2019 • Cedar City, UT

What I liked

Going up on the mountain every day, working 4 days a week, getting to see new places.

What I wish was different

I wish I would have had a chance to work with more departments.

Advice

Just enjoy it because you might not get to do something like that again.
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Recreation Technician

June - August 2019 • Loa, UT

What I liked

As an avid user of recreation facilities on public lands, I enjoyed being able to contribute to a project that would both conserve the natural resources while promoting connection and education for visitors.

What I wish was different

Stronger focus on mentoring and skill acquisition.

Advice

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