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Christmas break is a great time...

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For college students to apply for summer jobs at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Are you a college student ready to work hard outdoors, don't mind getting your hands dirty and looking for work this summer? The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has a few challenging, yet rewarding, job opportunities for summer 2012. The deadlines for applications range from January to March, so Christmas Break is a great time to get your application packet ready.

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These positions are part of the federal government's Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). To be eligible you must meet the following requirements 1) have a valid driver's license, 2) have housing in the community, 3) have completed at least 1 year of college, 4) be currently enrolled in at least 6 credits (half time) at an accredited college in spring semester 2012, and 5) be returning to college in Fall 2012, taking at least 6 credits (half time).

The following four job areas have positions available for summer 2012:

* Park Rangers -- Fee Program: Rangers work outdoors in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge managing fee collections in campgrounds, helping campground hosts, and doing a variety of field projects. They operate the Refuge Visitor Contact Station and staff the Headquarters Visitor Center, orienting visitors to the Refuge and providing information on hiking, camping, fishing, and other recreation activities. They patrol campgrounds and trails updating Refuge recreation information and assisting visitors. Fee Ranger positions begin May 15 and last until August 27. Pay per hour is $13.29 (sophomore level) and $14.92 (junior/senior level),

Applications can be picked up the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center on Ski Hill Road, Soldotna. Application packages for Fee Park Ranger positions must be turned into Leah Eskelin, Park Ranger, by January 27, 2012. For more information, Leah can be contacted at 907-262-7021.

* Park Ranger -- Youth Summer Camp: Be part of a dynamic education team facilitating outdoor summer camps for youth ages 7-12. This position will also help connect visitors with nature through community family fun days, leading guided fitness hikes and nature walks. This position begins May 21 and lasts until mid-August. Pay per hour is $13.29 for college sophomores, $14.92 for juniors or seniors, and $16.76 for those with undergraduate degrees who have been accepted into a graduate program.

Applications can be picked up the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center on Ski Hill Road, Soldotna. Application package for the Park Ranger -- Youth Summer Camp position must be turned into Michelle Ostrowski, Education Specialist, by January 27, 2012. For more information, Michelle can be contacted at 907-260-2839.

* Trail Crew: Trail crew members work outdoors on trail projects on front country hiking trails, remote backcountry routes and wilderness canoe trails. Projects include trail re-routes, construction of footbridges, boardwalks, and timber stairs, and installation of drainage and erosion control structures. Crew members will be trained to use a variety of hand and power tools including chain saws. Crew members must be prepared to overnight in spike camps at trail project sites. Trail Crew positions begin on May 14 and may last until August 17. Pay is $18.03 per hour.

* Youth Conservation Corp (YCC) Crew Leader: YCC Crew Leaders are responsible for the administration and operation of an 8-week camp, supervising the work of eight high school-aged enrollees who complete maintenance projects on Kenai Refuge trails, cabins, campgrounds, bulletin boards and other facilities. Leaders must be prepared to overnight in spike camps at trail project sites with their crew. YCC Crew Leader positions begin on May 14 and may last until August 17. Pay is $16.18 per hour.

Application packages for both the Trail Crew and YCC Crew Leader positions must be turned into Scott Slavik, Backcountry Park Ranger, at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center on Ski Hill Road in Soldotna by March 2, 2012. For more information, Scott can be contacted at 907-260-2846.

So, as the old saying goes, "the early bird gets the worm." College youth willing to use their Christmas Break to apply for summer jobs will be ahead of the game and have a much better prospect of a summer job in the outdoors at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge!

Leah Eskelin is a Visitor Services Park Ranger at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and a Masters student in Resource Interpretation. She looks forward to a rewarding summer training and supervising the STEP Park Ranger team. For more detailed information about the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, please check http://kenai.fws.gov or http://www.facebook.com/kenainationalwildliferefuge.

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