• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Spring Road Status

    During spring, park roads may close due to ice, especially at high elevation where wet roads can freeze as temperatures drop at night. For road status information call (865) 436-1200 ext. 631 or follow updates at http://twitter.com/SmokiesRoadsNPS. More »

And for those in school... Issue 2

NPS Forester hugging Hemlock.

NPS Forester during Hemlock Woolly Adelgid systematic treatment. Loving trees and what you do helps on long field days.

NPS photo.

Are you interested in studying trees, threats to forest health, or the interconnections between forests and stream life? If you would you like to understand and restore ecosystems in the National Parks, here are some suggestions about how to get there:

In high school: Take biology, chemistry, earth science, geography, and math courses geared for college-bound students, because these will prepare you best for challenging college courses. Ask parks if they have high school summer internships, as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park does.

In college and/or graduate school: It's important to gain field experience. Find out if you like long, hard days in the field, and long days in the lab identifying and studying. If you love biology, botany, ecology, geography, forestry, geology, or entomology, look for research, jobs, or internships (see below) to gain more experience.

You need at least a high school diploma or GED to treat trees for hemlock woolly adelgid, but almost all jobs in the National Parks require a bachelor’s degree in a related field (forestry, botany, biology, ecology, to name a few). A master’s degree and research in forestry or biology (to study hemlocks), or biology or entomology, to study aquatic macroinvertebrates, are essential to being a subject expert in the field. Many of the biologists here have PhDs in addition to years of experience. Start early, and be sure you love what you do!

Gaining other experience: Showing that you are interested and have field experience is vital. You can gain experience for a career through internships and seasonal jobs. Find internships in public lands with the Student Conservation Association. You can search the topic, area, or dates for which you’re interested. Find jobs during the summers while you are a college or graduate student through the STEP (Student Temporary Employment Program), which offers you non-competitive positions. Call or write parks directly for information about this program. Also, check out the Federal Jobs website for current, competitive job openings: you will probably start as a seasonal Forestry or Biological Technician if you're interested in hemlocks and forest health, or as an intern or Biological Technician if you're interested in aquatic macroinvertebrates and stream health.

Good luck, and have fun!

Return to Dispatches from the Field: Issue 2.

Did You Know?

Mingus Mill is a turbine-driven grist mill.

Ninety seven historic structures, including grist mills, churches, schools, barns, and the homes of early settlers, preserve Southern Appalachian mountain heritage in the park. More...