Internships and Research

Climate Change Youth Leadership Opportunities in the National Park Service

The application window for summer 2017 has now closed. Thank you for your interest!

The implications of climate change are challenging and far-reaching, particularly for land managers tasked with protecting the resources of national parks and other protected areas. To meet this challenge, managers need to encourage and make use of the creative and innovative thinking of the next generation of youth scientists and leaders.

The George Melendez Wright Initiative for Young Leaders in Climate Change (YLCC) builds a pathway for exemplary students in higher education to apply cutting-edge climate change knowledge to park management. Through a summer-long internship, undergraduate and graduate students will gain valuable work experience, explore career options, and develop leadership skills under the mentorship and guidance of the National Park Service (NPS). Parks and programs will increase their capacity to understand and respond to climate change and its impacts.

National parks and NPS programs develop and oversee structured projects in one or more of the following interdisciplinary areas: climate change science and monitoring; resource conservation and adaptation; policy development; sustainable park operations; facilities adaptation; and communication/interpretation/education. During the internship, students apply critical thinking and problem solving skills to climate change challenges and communicate with diverse stakeholders. Interns who successfully complete the YLCC, an approved Direct Hire Authority Internship program, will be eligible to be hired non-competitively into subsequent federal jobs once they complete their degree program. These jobs would be in the Department of Interior (DOI), NPS, or one of the other bureaus within the DOI. An intern must qualify for the job in order to be hired non-competitively.

Quick Facts and Deadlines
  • The YLCC is managed cooperatively with the University of Washington
  • Internship opportunities and application forms are posted on
  • Internships are 12 weeks (40 hours/week) during the summer
  • Interns are paid $15/hour plus benefits
  • The application window is open from December 5, 2016 to 12:01pm PST on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.
George Melendez Wright
George Melendez Wright

NPS photo

Who was George Melendez Wright?
George Melendez Wright was deeply influential in bringing science to the management of America’s national parks. Working as a naturalist in Yosemite National Park in the 1920s, Wright argued that good science was needed for effective conservation. In 1930, he was appointed Chief of the Wildlife Division for the NPS where he encouraged the agency to embrace science-based approaches to conserving species, habitats, and other natural conditions in the parks. Although he died while he was still a young man, Wright’s legacy lives on in the NPS’s commitment to use the best available science for preserving the resources of our National Parks.

The Young Leaders in Climate Change program is new for 2015. This replaces the George Melendez Wright Climate Change Internship and Fellowship program which ran from 2010 to 2013.


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