Become an Environmental Intern in Galena Creek, Nevada

Intern in the USA, where internship positions are available to assist with environmental field studies on the forest and urban interface between Reno, Nevada and the Sierra Nevada mountains, with special emphasis on the unique ecology of Galena Creek Park, for 9 week durations. 

Individuals and students with a background in Environmental Science and Ecology can apply.

Free lodging, transportation once you arrive, all training, orientation provided, plus $150 weekly allowance for food.  One off application payment is £195.

Views of the forest around Galena CreekTeaching children about insects and local ecologyBeautiful scenery at GalenaInterns going for a hikeEnvironmental Education at the Galena Creek Visitor CentreCounselors guide children on hikesTeaching kids to be responsible in the forest and never go without a compassDesert in NevadaWild rivers in NevadaCacti in NevadaHiking in the mountainsIntern holding a snake

About the Project

Camp Counselor in NevadaCounselor Internship positions available

Volunteer as a Counselor at the Galena Creek Visitor Center. These positions are responsible for assisting the Naturalists, the Director of Education and Field Studies, and the Education Coordinator with the implementation of Great Basin Naturalists Environmental Science Summer Camp at the Galena Creek Visitor Center. These positions will serve as Interns with the Great Basin Institute and will work collaboratively with the US Forest Service and Washoe County Regional Parks & Open Space. The Galena Creek Recreation Area encompasses Washoe County and U.S. Forest Service lands and is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, 17 miles from Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

We are fortunate to live and work at 6,400 ft elevation in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a short distance from the incomparable Lake Tahoe. Six natural ecosystems are within a 20 minute drive: High desert, forest, still water, wetlands, mountains and rangeland.

Hiking with the studentsDescription:
Assisting with the Great Basin Institute at Galena’s Summer Exploration Camp. Camps comprise theme-based activities that capitalize on the unique natural setting of Galena Creek Park and the Sierra Nevada region. Themes include natural and cultural history topics that allow children to experience the outdoors through discovery-based, STEM and environmental education. Camps include hands-on games, hikes, guided activities, field trips, guest presenters, exploration and play. Three weeks of camp are day only, with one day of overnight camping, and the last five weeks are residential camps at WeChMe Lodge.

As the only fully outdoor environmental science field study program in Reno, our goal is to provide local youth with opportunities to experience the outdoors in a safe, fun, nurturing and engaging setting, and to provide academic, STEM education support.

Teaching children about nature in NevadaInternship duties include:

  • Assist the Director of Education and Outreach, the Education Coordinator, and a Lead Naturalist in delivering environmental education curriculum to students and youth both in the field.
  • Assist in assuring the safety of students and campers.
  • Assist in presenting clear, well-organized educational programs that exemplify professional delivery, thematic development, cohesive structure that are consistently appropriate for the activity and the audience.
  • Communicate effectively and develop relationships with camp and visitor center staff.
  • Enforce camp policies, procedures and regulations.
  • Recognize and assist in responding effectively to emergencies.

Interns work with environmental education in NevadaCompensation & Benefits
Positions are for 40 hours per week. Housing and full utilities are provided and a weekly 150$ per diem, and scheduled recreational trips to cultural or scenic attractions take place once a month. Trainings provided include but are not limited to: First aid and CPR course.

Galena Creek Recreation Area
The Galena Creek Recreation Area is located on public forest land between Reno and Lake Tahoe, in Nevada, USA. Facilities include a Visitor Center, an 87-bed lodge, picnic areas, and several smaller buildings. Trails are maintained for hiking and biking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter.

Environmental education in NevadaRequirements:

  • University/College level coursework in education or the natural sciences; Bachelor’s Degree preferred;
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills;
  • Background working with K-12 children and/or in natural history;
  • Campfire skills (song leading, guitar, storytelling) desirable;
  • Enthusiasm and commitment to youth outdoor education;
  • Ability to work in harsh and rapidly changing environments, work in all types of weather conditions, and otherwise maintain good physical condition.
  • Ability to speak English conversationally; conversational ability in Spanish desirable but not required.
  • A police check will be required, as you will be working in an educational setting.

Creating shelters in the Nevada forestDates & Costs

3rd June to 9th August 2019 - places now filled - watch this space for 2020 dates!

Please note that these are the minimum dates required - you can start before and finish after these. Please contact if you have any questions.

Programme cost

There is a one-off application payment of £195 to pay to take part in the programme.  All lodging, transportation once you arrive, training, orientation and back up is provided at no further cost. A $150 per diem is provided per week to cover your food and other living costs. 

What's not included are your flights and travel to and from Reno, personal expenses, visa costs and travel insurance. It is obligatory to obtain travel/medical insurance for the duration of your programme.

Lodging & Food

Make friends with interns in Nevada

Interns are provided with lodging and utilities – free of charge.  The lodging facilities are a shared, four-bedroom, two-bath home located in the forest, 1/4 mile from the Galena Creek Visitor Center.  These facilities offer limitless opportunities for exploration and recreation.

Interns in NevadaThe lodging environment creates a great atmosphere in which participants are immersed with cultures from all over the world.

A $150 per diem is provided per week to cover your food and other living costs.  Food is provided during the five weeks of residential camp time, and otherwise interns are responsible for their own food purchases.

Volunteers are responsible for their transport to and from the United States. You can fly into Reno-Tahoe International Airport or San Francisco International Airport. If you choose to fly into San Francisco, you can fly or take a bus or train to Reno. The bus or train will take more time but is usually the cheapest. Pickup for volunteers will be arranged. Once in Reno, all transportation during work projects is provided by the programme. 

Work in a national park in the USA, Nevada.Airfare to Nevada (or San Francisco), travel/medical insurance, and personal expenses are not included in the programme price. It is mandatory for you to take out travel and medical insurance for the duration of the project. 

Southern Nevada's winters are mild, with an average temperature of 45 Fahrenheit. Summer temperatures can exceed 100 Fahrenheit. Northern Nevada enjoys four distinct seasons. Winter temperatures can dip below freezing, while summer temperatures range from 75 - 100 Fahrenheit. The Lake Tahoe area boasts over 300 days of warm sunshine and 396 inches of annual snowfall. 

Visa Application
With regards to visas, interns will have to obtain the necessary tourist visas for the duration of the time that they are on the project, or alternatively they may be able to qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (max 90 days permitted).

Interactive Map & Background

Below is an interactive map showing the key locations for the project:


Nevada joshua treeIntern opportunities in the USANevada

Located in the mountainous American West, Nevada lies east of California and north of Arizona.  Nevada's landscape is the most mountainous and geologically diverse in the United States. The Lake Tahoe Basin, Great Basin, Mojave Desert and Sierra Nevada Mountains (which make up most of Nevada) are where the majority of our field work takes place. Participants will have the opportunity to work and live in some of the most beautiful wilderness locales in the world. From mountain peaks over 13,000 feet (3,900 m) above sea level to desert eco-systems 282 feet (86 m) below sea level, the regions in which the ICVE work are diverse environments that harbor some of the most sensitive and fragile species of flora and fauna found in North America. 

San Francisco is just a four-hour drive to the west.   The Sierra Nevada Mountains extend hundreds of miles along Nevada’s western border and are full of a wilderness of snowy peaks, lakes, and pines perfect for hiking, biking, and camping. 

Volunteer & Intern Testimonials

Galena Creek interns in NevadaPrevious Intern Tiffany Oluoch describes her time at the project in Summer 2016:

Working at Galena Creek made this summer one of the best of my life. At first, I was nervous to make the 21 hour flight over from Kenya and considered backing out on numerous occasions, however I am extremely glad I did not. From day one, everyone was inviting and invested at making my time in Galena Creek memorable. Everyone I was living with was really nice and although there was 8 of us in the house it never felt overcrowded or uninviting. Kenny and Gwen took the time to show us around and teach us the basics of what was needed which was great! It was definitely also quite stressful, having to work with kids aged 8-14, five days a week, but we always took time to de-stress and reflect. However, I am grateful for the skills I gained in environmental education and working with children. Reno is also such a great city! There is always something to do at really cheap prices and the location of the house makes it easy to go into Tahoe often. I definitely appreciate everyone who worked with me this summer to make it so enjoyable, and I have made amazing friends from this experience.

Feedback from interns in NevadaI'm just writing to thank you for organising my internship in Reno this summer. I had the most amazing time I met some great kids and made friends for life. The work as a camp counselor/ environmental educator was very challenging at times but so rewarding. I gained so much experience from the programme and seen some amazing places at the weekends! Gwen and her team were so professional and accommodating. My summer in Reno is one I will never forget.

Thanks again,
Amanda Nevin, 3rd Year Ecology, University of Cork, Ireland


Darrell Rice from the UK, joined as a volunteer in 2007, and since then has been coming back every year, and is now on a one year-long internship, helping with the teams of volunteers

As current ICVE member Darrell Rice, from England, puts it, “Being part of the Nevada Conservation Corps and ICVE has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. From the moment I became an international volunteer and right up to the present, I’ve met many new friends, seen some amazing places, and have grown as a person.” Darrell joined the ICVE back in 2007 and is now a crew supervisor in his third term with ICVE, this time around on a year-long internship. Darrell adds, “I would recommend the NCC and ICVE programs to anyone who wants to be part of something bigger than themselves. They will take away an experience they will truly never forget.”

Intern feedback in NevadaNevada Wilderness Programme Volunteers 8th April to 20th May  - Lisa McCarthur writes about her incredible time in Nevada!

Hi Andreas! I am very well thank you, how are you? Just got back to normal after being in America, it took a while, we had a fantastic time & didn't want to come home! I feel that the project was very well organised and the work was varied which kept everyone interested! The first week that we arrived was our week off which worked very well as it allowed the group to bond in the cabin and prepare for our first week of work. Also, I had decided to get most of my gear when I got to Reno to save me carrying it when travelling so it allowed me to get everything organised. It also gave us some time to do some sightseeing which I enjoyed! I feel that Joshua (Project Manager) picked a perfect mix of people for our time there, we all bonded almost instantly!

If Josh is defined as the manager he was like our dad!! He was ALWAYS looking out for us and always organising interesting things for us to do on our days off. Also, he was always offering good advice when it came to organising ourselves for work and having the correct gear. Josh became more of our friend than our leader! He socialised with us as well as look after us and we all became very close with him he is one in a million! The last week of our 6 week trip all of the internationals got to spend the week with Josh working and this was no doubt one of the best weeks that we had, we were sad to say goodbye to him and we have all kept in touch with him.
The Americans crews who we worked with made us all feel more than welcome! I was on the same crew for 2 weeks which I really enjoyed, the crew leader was Paris Muska and she was a lovely girl. We were in the desert working on Good Friday (the Friday before Easter Sunday) and we hadn't realised that it was Easter, on Easter Sunday when we were about to leave to travel back to Reno our Crew leader Paris had bought us all an Easter egg and left them on our seat in the van, this was a lovely gesture! When we got back to Reno Paris invited us internationals to her home and made us dinner along with the American Crew members! To be honest everyone made us feel SOOOOO welcome!! We are still in touch with some of the American Crew members and made some very good friends!!

When it came to our week working in Lake Mead, we were surrounded when camping by holiday makers, they were all very pleasant and often asked us what we were working at and how we enjoyed the work. When working in Ash Meadows we had to stay in a hotel and drive to work each morning, the staff in the hotel were horrible people they looked at us as if we were scum!!! I think it was because we were wearing carhartts and dirty shirts!!!!

Nevada is a beautiful state, and we travelled all over!! Although we were based in Reno, we travelled to near Las Vegas when we were working. One day while we were driving through Death Valley I found it really strange how one minute we were in Nevada and then the next we were in California!! I liked the laid lack approach in Nevada, although it was weird that there were slot machines in the supermarket!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The climate was strange, we all ended up with the cold as when we were off work we were in Reno up in the mountains where we were surrounded by snow and then when we were working we were in 30 degree sunshine!!


3 Negative points: wish there had of been someone else who could have drove as Joshua had to drive us about a lot which I don't think was fair, American McDonalds is not as good as McDonalds in the UK!!!!  We had to come home!!!

I had never camped before I went to America, and it was a very enjoyable experience! One night we camped in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE!!! In Death Valley and it was just beautiful looking up at the stars with nobody else around us! We were given a daily allowance for food both while we were working and while we were off work, when we were working the crew leaders organised the food for us which was great as they asked us all before and likes and dislikes when it came to food, when we were off we were free to buy whatever food we wanted, which was great! I loved staying in the cabin as well when we were off!!  I feel that this trip was the best thing that I have ever done and I absolutely enjoyed every minute of it!! I feel that I was well prepared for the project though I did choose to get most of my gear when I got to Reno which I would recommend as things were a lot cheaper than back home.
Thanks Andreas

Simon Hall,  who also volunteered alongside Lisa writes about his experience:

Hello Andreas, good to hear from you. Hope you are well. I would like to thank you and all the people involved in the organisation for giving me the opportunity to help out on the various projects in Nevada. I can say truthfully that it was an enjoyable and hugely rewarding experience. I came away with a real sense of achievement at having helped in preserving and developing the area for everyone to enjoy. From the first communications with yourself and Josh Powell I was impressed with how professionally things were handled. The arrangements were straightforward and I felt that we were looked after and provided for beyond my expectations. One of the reasons I wanted to join the project was to see more of the country, having spent two great months last year in Florida, the southern states and California on holiday. This project gave me that opportunity and I was amazed at the diversity and  stunning beauty of the area as well as the vastness. We don't have that here where you can drive for 7 or 8 hours and still find yourself in total wilderness, absolutely fantastic!!! As far as the work we did was concerned I could certainly see the need for what we were doing and that made it easy to get through the couple of occasions when the weather wasn't at its best or the work was heavy going, but I don't have any complaints about the work as I had a very good idea what was involved before I came out. I took a lot of personal satisfaction from what I and we as a group had achieved. Nevada was so diverse and I was surprised at the range of climate and environment, the weather was so much more intense and changeable than I expected and the change from desert to lush pine forests then snow capped mountains was an incredible experience. I enjoyed working with the other internationals and especially Josh and the American interns who I thought were extremely friendly and helpful and especially patient at times!!   As I said earlier the accommodation we were provided with was marvellous, the cabin had all I could have asked for and the location was stunning. The provision of per diem money for supplies was I thought quite sufficient and the use of a vehicle during free time very useful. Reno itself and the area around provided lots to do during free time and facilities were excellent including those at the institute and university. The Americans on the crews provided lots of ideas for free time and I certainly enjoyed spending some time with them socially, even though I didn't party with them in town till the small hours of the morning. As I found during my holiday in the States earlier in the year the locals were very friendly and helpful. Having spent a lot of time in this country camping I enjoyed that part of the experience and thought the facilities were good considering the places we stayed. I wasn't expecting to spend a great deal of money while in Nevada, that wasn't the reason I went, but the money I did spend was on visiting places of interest such as Lake Tahoe and Virginia City and enjoying a couple of days skiing. This would be my advice to any future volunteers, get out and see as much of Nevada as possible and enjoy the work involved even when its not the best weather or conditions because the state offers so many varied landscapes and incredible views. The people involved in the work, I found were passionate about what they were doing and it was easy to feel the same way about it after working with them. It is hard to list just three good points from the project but the overall organisation of the project and assistance given to the internationals was excellent. The chance to work with the American crews and learn about the impact of what we were doing was rewarding. And finally the opportunity to work in some outstandingly beautiful locations of such diversity both in flora and fauna was marvellous. It is equally hard to list many bad points about the project itself but from a personal point of view I would like to have been able to have worked on one or two of the projects that I didn't get on. I enjoyed the food provided during the project, I have a very healthy appetite and will eat just about anything!!! I hope I will be welcomed back some time in the near future. Tthanks once again for a memorable trip and hope to speak to you soon, kind regards Simon.

Beautiful birds are seen in NevadaHow to Join the Project

If you are interested in joining this project, you will need to fill out the online application form to secure a placement on the project, please complete and submit the form including two references and your application payment of £195.  If for some reason, your application is not accepted, we would reimburse this payment fully.  As part of the application process, we will also need to do a Skype interview with you as well.  If your application is successful, we will confirm your place on the programme and we will send you pre-departure information on your position and on what you will be doing.  Please note that you will also need to provide a police check before arrival.

Apply Now

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