Internship Opportunity With the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Are you interested in working to connect Latino communities to the great outdoors?This internship position at the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Complex may be for you! Environment for the Americas is now accepting applications for a Hispanic outreach internship opportunity in Corvallis, Oregon. Please find the position description below. Please review the application qualifications carefully as only qualified applicants will be contacted for interviews. Applications are being considered on a rolling basis so apply as soon as possible by sending a single pdf including a cover letter and resumé to [email protected]
Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex Hispanic Outreach Program Coordinator
Location: Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex – Corvallis, Oregon
  • Timeframe: Target timeframe is Fall 2016 (early September) – February of 2016 but can easily be flexed
  • Work schedule to be worked out with the intern but will be ~32 -40 hours/week (9 am – 4:30 pm), likely from Tuesday – Saturday
  • Free housing is available at William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge and Baskett Slough Refuge
  • Intern would be a member of the Visitor Services staff and supervised by Visitor Services Manager, Samantha Bartling
Hispanic Outreach Program – Background Information, Goals and Details:  The US Census Bureau estimates that by the year 2050, Hispanics and Latinos will constitute 30 percent of the US population, up from 16.3 percent in 2010.  The United States has been growing increasingly multi-cultural and yet National Wildlife Refuges largely provide information in only one language.  The Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuges desires to honor and reflect the Nation’s diversity in its programs and opportunities.  To get there, we want to reach out to our Latino[1] neighbors!
There is a growing Hispanic population in the communities surrounding the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuges:  Corvallis, Eugene, Salem, Albany and Dallas are just a few of the larger towns in the State of Oregon that also happen to have large Hispanic communities and National Wildlife Refuges right out their backdoor.
At the heart of the mission of the Visitor Services Program at the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex is to connect people with nature through high quality wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities.   We realize the importance of making our Refuges – and all they have to offer – accessible to all members of our community.  For this reason, we are developing a Hispanic Outreach Program.  This is not a stand-along program because reaching out to and involving our Hispanic neighbors should be a natural and inherent part of all that we do.  But to get there, we do need to make Hispanic Outreach an emphasis and focus; a priority.  That’s what we are doing and we recognize that we need help to do this right.
Our goals are modest and realistic and will include the following components:
  • Understand more about the Latino communities that live near the Refuges.
  • Identify Latino/Hispanic Organizations in Benton, Linn, Polk and Marion counties and increase partnerships.
  • Increase our understanding of the barriers that might be preventing the Hispanic community from a) knowing about their local Wildlife Refuge; b) visiting their local Wildlife Refuge and c) joining in the events and programming.
  • Greater involvement in Hispanic/Latino community events and activities.
  • The WVNWRC events need to be designed to include the Latino community.
  • Bring on bilingual volunteers, staff, and interns.  The Visitor Services Manager speaks Spanish but is not a native speaker and did not grow-up in this area.  Native Spanish speakers from the mid-Valley area will be important for recruitment. Bilingual and Hispanic staff help to decrease language barriers, validate the program to those Hispanics that might not be comfortable outside their own cultural milieu, and will increase our ability to serve the entire community.
  • Increase the number of bilingual publications, signage and programming at the Refuge Complex.
To tackle some of those first big inquiries, which center on understanding more about our Hispanic/Latino community, we have a few questions we’d like to ask and explore:
  • What part of our general population is Hispanic and/or Latino (both number and percentage)?
  • Which subcultures are significantly present (e.g., Cubans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Central or South Americans?)
  • In which neighborhoods do Latinos live and is this concentrated in a town or county?
  • Do they know about the Refuges?
  • Of the recreation opportunities that we offer, what would Hispanics prefer to engage in?
Duties:  The duties of this position will align with the above mentioned goals and objectives but will include:
  • Participation in Hispanic community events, including outreach on the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex;
  • Identify gaps in service;
  • Work with 4-H Extension, OSU, etc. to identify Hispanic organizations and outreach opportunities;
  • Network with the local Hispanic organizations and service providers;
  • Network with the two local dual immersion schools: Lincoln and Garfield;
  • Research the local Hispanic and/or Latino demographic;
  • Provide a list of resources that the Complex can use for translation needs, outreach contact information, a calendar of events, etc.
  • As a staff member to the Visitor Services Program, the intern will also occasionally help with general Visitor Services tasks, such as: speaking with visitors about the Refuges, restocking brochures, update bulletin boards, help plan and conduct interpretation programs and outreach events.
Qualifications: We are seeking applicants that possess strong communication skills, a flexible and positive nature, willingness to learn and a passion for conservation.  In addition:
  • Hispanic/Latino individual that is bilingual (Spanish/English both verbally and written).  A native Spanish-speaker a plus;
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license;
  • Takes initiative, is hardworking and self-motivated;
  • General computing skills;
  • Desire to conduct education and outreach.
Area Information:  The Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex of Oregon is comprised of three incredible Refuges: Ankeny, just south of Salem; Baskett Slough north of Dallas, and William L. Finley south of Corvallis.  The Refuges’ seasonal wetlands and farmed fields provide important resting and feeding areas for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds within the Pacific Flyway, and support the core population of wintering geese in the Valley.  In particular, the Refuges hold the largest number of wintering dusky Canada geese within their range.  At peak numbers, the Refuges also hold more wintering ducks than any location in western Oregon south of the Columbia River.  The Refuges support some of the largest and most ecologically significant blocks of native habitat in the Willamette Valley.  Visitors to the Refuges frequently view herds of Roosevelt elk, bobcats, a variety of bird species, and they enjoy a diverse number of habitats in which to hike and observe wildlife: oak savanna, wet prairie, upland prairie, riparian corridors, emergent and deep water marshes, and Douglas fir forests.
Amenities:  Housing is free. The volunteer will stay in a modest but comfortable 3 bedroom/1 bath fully furnished trailer with washer and dryer and free WiFi.  The volunteer will have use of a government vehicle while on official duty.  There is cell service and mail service.  The trailer is in a private location just west of the headquarters building.   When working up near Baskett Slough Refuge (Dallas, OR) there is a small one-bedroom pod that is also fully equipped for the interns’ use.
The city of Corvallis is home to Oregon State University and is an easy 10 miles north of William L. Finley Refuge, with all of the major amenities.  Eugene, Oregon is an hour drive to the south and Salem, Oregon is an hour drive to the north.  The Oregon Coast is an hour drive to the west and the Cascade Mountains are an hour drive to the east.  You couldn’t pick a better place to recreate!
Why is this internship so important?
Bringing on an Environment for Americas Intern is an initial and critical first step in starting the Willamette Valley Refuge Complex’s Hispanic Outreach program.  As the person responsible for starting this program (with help, of course!) you are setting the stage for a long-term endeavor and a much needed change in how we reach and communicate with our audiences.  Quality visitor experiences delivered to everyone making up the American community is a goal that needs no clarification.  We are creating a sea change; changing how we do our work, who we reach, and how people experience the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

[1] Hispanic and Latino are used interchangeably in this document. The US government defines Hispanic as anyone from Spain and the Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas. The term Latino has varied definitions.
*Photo from the Friends of the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex webpage:

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