The Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative is working to get Southern Utah University students outside while giving them paid experience working with natural resources and land management by offering a plethora of internships for students in the pursuit of conservation-related careers.
The IIC consists of SUU, various Native tribes of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada, and several land management agencies. In partnership, these groups help train the next generation of conservationists that will be credited for the availability and presence of the numerous parks and natural wonders of the southwestern United States.
The program is overseen by Outdoor Pathways, an organization at SUU that manages many of the university’s outdoor-related programs.
Formed in 2007 to allow students pursuing the Outdoor Recreation Parks and Tourism degree to fulfill their internship requirements, the IIC continues to work with students from all academic backgrounds that are interested in outdoors-related fields to prepare them for their personal directions.
“Some of them are master’s candidates or PhD candidates doing human resources, engineering projects, biologists,” said Kevin Koontz, the outdoor program specialist at Outdoor Pathways. “There are all sorts of directions that people have taken these experiences.”
The IIC is currently offering paid internship opportunities during spring, summer and fall months at national parks and conservation and land management facilities located throughout Utah and Arizona.
The internships are open to university students of all ages, as well as a Youth Crew Program for ages 16-18. Positions include internships in archaeology, crew leadership and stewardship, recreation management, data collection and many others.
While many other academic and professional opportunities were negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the IIC grew as the pandemic provided new tasks for interns to work on, such as dealing with an increase in park and trail visitation as the pandemic pushed more people to get outside, and educating park visitors about safety protocols.
“Now there is a little more education that needs to happen,” said Kevin Koontz. “We’re telling visitors what they need to know and what we expect of them, and all of that education requires additional manpower.”
The IIC web page provides potential applicants with resources in learning about the opportunities provided. Applicants can filter internship opportunities by interests, locations and agencies. The site includes media, descriptions, reports, scheduling and other important information for students interested.
For more information on the IIC and internship opportunities or to apply, visit https://www.suu.edu/iic/.
Story by: Sasha Johnson
Photo by: IIC Web Page