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Montana - a Great Place to Learn

Picture of DVD label featuring student using survey equipment.The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Montana is the ideal workplace for those who value a career in conservation with a family-like agency in one of the most beautiful places in the country. "Montana: a Great Place to Learn" looks at the NRCS student internship program from the perspective of students working in Montana.

The production is currently available on DVD and can be requested by contacting publications. Be sure to include the title of the DVD and your mailing address with your request. A Transcript of the "Montana: a Great Place to Learn" Video can be read on this Web page.

If you encounter any problems with the files provided on this page, please contact Webmaster at 406-587-6945.

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Montana: a Great Place to Learn (SWF; 6 minutes, 49 seconds; 33.6 MB)

Transcript of "Montana: a Great Place to Learn" Video

Do you love the outdoors, want to learn more about agriculture, and be a part of conserving our nation’s natural resources? If you answered, “yes” to these questions there may be a career opportunity for you in Montana. The Natural Resources Conservation Service in Montana is the ideal workplace for those who value a career in conservation with a family-like agency in one of the most beautiful places in the country.

Established by Congress in the wake of great dust storms of the 1930s, the mission of NRCS is “helping people help the land.” Through national programs and incentives that are aimed at reducing erosion, keeping streams clear, protecting grazing land and wildlife, and promoting good land use NRCS continues to help farmers and ranchers protect our nation’s natural resources.

A large part of the success of our programs is due to the commitment and dedication of our employees. As the baby-boomer generation begins to retire, NRCS is facing a great shift in our staff. Recruitment is one way we are addressing this change within our agency. Recruitment is a big deal to us; and currently the student internship program is one of our best recruitment resources.

The NRCS internship program begins with our recruitment of students from across the nation. The program requires students to work 640 hours as a student intern. The main difference between our program and other student internship programs is that we are really looking for our student to be an employee of the future.

Working in Montana is hands-on. There’s no sitting around or grabbing coffee for your boss. By taking our interns out into the field we ensure that they receive real work experience.

Basically, what I do is I go out and I help survey and I help complete jobs that have been contracted, um, usually stockwater pipelines or manure transfer pipelines.

My experience so far with the Montana NRCS has been an amazing experience. I’ve been out on mainly forestry practices here in the Missoula area and the Bozeman area. Um, I’ve been exposed to a lot of range-plant ID and a lot of range operations. Um, fairly brand new to me. I’m mainly a wildlife ecologist with a forestry background in my schooling. And it’s just been an amazing experience so far. I’ve been learning different practices and how all the programs work.

Working for us is a learning experience, and we do not expect you to come here knowing everything there is to know about NRCS and conservation. However, by using the field as your laboratory, you will definitely leave Montana knowing more about our agriculture, conservation, and more about our agency.

I’m expecting to learn a lot. Um, I’ve been having a couple days of training on forestry. So we’re doing that right now and you notice the forest site. And, um, a lot of irrigation work, I think in Plains, which is where I’m based right now.

Even if you make mistakes, it’s OK. They’re not going to let you take on something and then just let you go at it unsupervised. They’re going to make sure that you do it OK; and they’ll watch for you; and even if you mess it up they’re right there to fix it with you. So they’ll explain to you what you did wrong and, um, help you not to do that again.

When most people think of interns, they think of undergraduate students. But our internship program is open to high school students (as long as you are at least 16 years old), undergrads, and graduate students, as well.

Choosing to work for Montana NRCS was a great decision for me because I’m a graduate student and, during the summers, I’m allowed to work for the agency. And also, when I graduate, I’ll have a job.

Deciding to start a career with Montana NRCS will be one of the best decisions you will ever make. If you love being outdoors, learning new things, living in a beautiful state, and if you are committed to promoting productive lands and a healthy environment, Montana NRCS is the place for you. But don’t just take my word for it.

This job will shape me for my future because it gives me a good sense of how agencies work, and the inter-workings of certain agencies, and the differences and the diversity.

You have a job when you graduate. That is the number one. As long as you don’t totally screw up, you will have a job when you graduate.

I pretty much love NRCS Montana. It’s, it’s more quiet than what I’m used to. And I’m loving the peacefulness.

See, working for us is awesome. And I know you’re anxious about becoming an intern in Montana, but not so fast. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind before you submit your application. A student trainee position provides for periods of study mixed with field application of conservation practices learned in the classroom.

These positions can lead up to careers that require related classes and a college degree. Under a working agreement between NRCS and an educational institution, the student must perform a minimum of 640 study-related work hours before completion of the academic requirements for graduation. The student may work full-time during the summer and vacation or intermittent periods while attending classes. Work is under the guidance of a trained NRCS employee.

As an intern, student employees are eligible for health-care and retirement benefits. Student work locations in Montana will vary each summer.

The student trainee may be converted to permanent employment after successfully obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree and completing the required course work for the position.

For more information on the student internship program contact the human resources office at this address. You can also visit our Web site at

Well, since you know all of the logistics, [ding] you are now free to roam about Montana.