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YCC Crew Lead and Maintenance Support Member – Potomac National Wildlife Refuge

American Conservation Experience (ACE), a non-profit conservation corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is seeking ONE Youth Conservation Corps Crew Lead and Maintenance Support Member to contribute to a variety of maintenance and resource management projects alongside  Potomac National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff. 
For more information about ACE, please visit:

Start Date: April/May 2023
Estimated End Date: October/November 2023
*26 week commitment is required (~1040 hours)*

Location Details/Description: Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Woodbridge,  Virginia

In 1998, Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge, were reorganized into the Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Reorganization allowed for better apportion of staff and resources for all three refuges. The refuges border Occoquan Bay at the junction of Fairfax County and Prince William County.

Position Overview: During this term, the ACE member will work on a variety of facilities maintenance, habitat restoration, and trail projects to improve access, maintain building function, and ensure a positive and safe experience for visitors. Additionally, this position will assist with the mentorship and leadership of the ACE youth summer program engaging local high school teens in stewardship projects on site, helping with Interpretation signs, plant inventories, maintenance work, invasive species management and experiential learning. 

The member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff to:

  • Assist with conducting and monitoring of habitat restoration work; 
  • Participate in special events to promote the refuge and its mission;
  • Perform light maintenance (painting, trail clearing, boardwalk repair, lawn care, spreading gravel/stone dust, etc.) and assist maintenance staff with larger scale projects as needed;
  • Assist with various trail maintenance and restoration projects throughout the Refuge
  • Assist with biological work as opportunities and interest allows;
  • Safely mentor and leading summer conservation stewardship field project programming for local high school students
  • Collect accurate and detailed project data as required
  • FWS certification on operating agricultural tractor, UTV, and small boats as opportunities and interest allows.
This individual placement is meant to facilitate professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with professionals. This could include gaining experience in different conservation fields and shadowing different work groups.

Schedule: Duties will primarily be carried out Mon-Fri, 8:00am - 4:30pm. Bi-weekly totals should not exceed 80 hours. A flexible work schedule may be required, which could involve work performed outside of normal work hours including on weekends and/or holidays, and early mornings and/or late evenings. Time off may be granted and requests should be directed to ACE and the FWS for approval.

Position Benefits

Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute approximately 40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $500/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.
Public Land Corps Hiring Authority: Members serving under this agreement may be eligible for a federal hiring authority upon completion of their term of service. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship. Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility, or view general information online: 
Housing: ACE members will be accommodated in provided housing at no cost for the duration of the term.
Gear and Relocation Allowance: ACE members will have up to $1000 to spend on eligible gear purchases and relocation expenses. Further details regarding distribution of these funds will be provided during the interview process. 
Provided Training/Orientation: ACE members will receive position specific training and an orientation outlining ACE policies and procedures, clear guidance on prohibited activities, and networks for support. 

  • Members must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, as required by U.S. government contracts
  • Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner. 
  • Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
  • A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
  • Willing to undergo and must pass the required two-part criminal history check.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • ACE Members must verify that they are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 or have requested and been granted a medical or religious exemption to vaccination by the time they start their term.
  • ACE Members will need to complete bi-weekly timesheets, beginning of term feedback forms, end of term evaluations and for longer terms, a mid-term evaluation. 
  • To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website:

  • Competitive applicants for this position can hold a minimum of a high school diploma or or be pursuing a minimum of a bachelor's degree and/or have relevant experience in subject areas such as ecology, wildlife management, natural resource management, parks and recreation, environmental education, and other related disciplines. A COMBINATION OF RELEVANT EDUCATION AND APPROPRIATE EXPERIENCE IS ALSO ACCEPTABLE. Resume, Cover Letter and transcripts must contain enough information to show that the applicant meets the experience needed, as defined in this announcement.
  • Enthusiasm for interacting with people and learning how to assist visitors to enjoy refuge resources responsibly through interpretation, customer service, and facility maintenance
  • Ability to multitask and shift schedule and priorities to meet changing conditions

Physical Demands, Work Environment and Working Conditions: 
  • Physical Demands: Requires frequent sitting, standing, walking, hiking, carrying, using hands to handle or feel, reaching with hands and arms, talking and hearing. Manual dexterity required for use of various tools, computer keyboard/mouse and other office equipment. Required to stoop, kneel, climb stairs, and/or crouch. Ability to hike over rough terrain]
  • Vision Requirements: Requires close, distance, peripheral and depth perception vision as well as the ability to focus. 
  • Weight Lifted or Force Exerted: Ability to move up to 50 pounds.
  • Environmental: Outdoor and indoor conditions. Work environment conditions can change frequently; working under adverse weather conditions and in various climates.
  • Noise Environment: Moderate to high noise such as hand and power tools.
  • Travel: This position does not require unique travel.

Environmental Conditions/Hazards:  The ACE member(s) may encounter environmental conditions/hazards including extreme heat or cold, rocky terrain, swamp or wetland conditions, biting insects, and potentially dangerous wildlife. The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members or resources.

Vehicle and Equipment Use/Safety: Use of a vehicle is required for the accomplishment of the duties, and one will be provided by the FWS.  Any tools required for the accomplishment of the duties will be provided by the FWS. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), typically provided by the FWS, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it.  Strict adherence to FWS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required.  

To Apply: Please submit your resume, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: Early consideration will be given as resumes are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC USFWS Member Manager, Johannah McCollum at or (701) 389-2152.

EEO: American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.