A collection of resources compiled or produced by ACE.
Learn new skills both in and out of the field! Explore a new hobby, dive into productivity, or grasp new concepts on the go. These resources are constantly changing so check back often.
Webinar and Training Tools
- Advancing Trails Webinar Series (American Trails) – Collaborative webinars covering a variety of trails topics
- Native Land App – An interactive map showing historic and current indigenous lands in the United States
- ProValens Learning – Online courses and workshops for professional development
- ESRI GIS Training
- Safeguarding Wildlife Webinar Series (USFWS)
Leadership & Productivity
Tips for Applying to ACE
Application Packet Must include:
- Cover Letter (1 Pg)
- Resume (See below for format)
- Additional Resources, if specified in PD (Writing examples, additional reference letters, etc.)
Resume Format Suggestions:
- A Headline:
- Full Name of Applicant with contact information (phone, primary address, email address [must include personal email and, if applicable, a school email. Please do not include only school email address]).
- Professional Experience:
- Provide details regarding the organizations you have worked prior.
- Please include: Name, location, dates of employment, position title, and brief description of duties.
- Full name of accredited college, university, or community college graduated from or enrolled in.
- Must include: location (city and state), actual date of graduation or anticipated graduation date (month, year), degree(s), and grade point average.
- Volunteer Experience:
- Name of organization, location, dates of volunteer work, position title if applicable, and brief description of duties.
- Certifications or Licenses
- Please only list relevant certifications or licenses.
- Awards, Honors, Activities:
- Include grants or scholarships, academic honors, and educational/professional affiliations.
- Must include: Full name, email address, phone number, affiliation.
- Must include at least three references: Professional, Educational, and Personal. (Note: Please do not include more than one personal reference.)
Cover Letter Format Suggestions:
- Address it to the correct person
- It is key to address each cover letter to the correct person (or persons) who are listed on the position description. If you do not know who to address, it is suggested to state ‘hiring manager’ in lieu of a specific person. When in doubt, contact us!
- Title of Position
- Ensure you write the correct title of the position you are applying to. It’s suggested that you tailor each cover letter to the position you are applying to.
- 1-Page is sufficient. Please be concise with your summary of your skills and experience.
- Your cover letter is an opportunity to best represent yourself, your skills, your future goals and plans, as well as allow the hiring committee to get to know you better. Make sure that you address all three questions asked in the instructions:
- Why are you applying for this position specifically?
- What skill-sets do you bring to the position(s) you are applying for?
- What are your future career goals and interests?
USA Jobs & Federal Resume Writing
Public Land Corps (PLC) Hiring Authority
- What is PLC? The PLC is a hiring authority available to the NPS, USFWS, BLM, USFS, and a couple of other agencies. In most instances, PLC allows you to apply for positions that are called “Merit Promotion” – meaning that you are selected/promoted based on the merits of your application and prior government service. Although you currently may not have any government service (working with ACE, you have not been on the government payroll), your PLC eligibility appreciates the time you have given to public service through your internship and grants you the ability to apply – for up to two years – as if you had already “earned” merit promotion status. Some agencies may interpret what positions your PLC status can be used for differently, and these guidelines change frequently so check for the most up to date guidelines when you are applying for positions. You can also check with your primary ACE point of contact for additional information. The PLC is considered a “non-competitive” hiring authority; however, you must still apply for the positions via USAJobs. You cannot just be “directly hired” – which is how some supervisors understand it. It is “non-competitive” because you do not have to apply through those “Open to the Public” announcements.
- How do I know if I’m eligible? You must be between the ages of 16 and 30. Some agencies also interpret these guidelines to include veterans up to age 35. You need to accumulate a minimum of 640 hours of service through a PLC eligible organization. At least 120 of these hours must take place on federal lands on a PLC eligible project. If you are on a USFS PLC track, those 120 hours must be done on National Forest land in a single term. Many ACE EPIC projects are PLC Eligible. PLC Eligible projects may include fieldwork, trail work, interpretation, research that has an end product that will benefit the public, and so forth. If you have questions about the eligibility of your specific project, reach out to your ACE point of contact. If you are on a shorter project which is still PLC eligible, the hours that you do accumulate will count towards the 640 needed to be eligible for PLC. Keep track of these hours! You can re-apply for another term with ACE or another corps program and apply for PLC once you have reached the 640 required hours.
- How do I apply for PLC? The first step to receiving your PLC certificate is to complete a PLC hours verification form. This form must be signed by you, your specific project site supervisor, and your ACE supervisor. Once the hours verification form has been signed it needs to be sent to the agency’s designated official, which can be obtained from your ACE point of contact. The agency official will verify your hours and then issue your PLC Certificate. ACE can help you with this application process. Once you have reached the end of your term, reach out to your ACE point of contact. We can provide a digital version of the hours verification form, assist with the signature process, and also assist with sending it to the correct designated official to issue your certificate.
- How do I use PLC? When using PLC in USAjobs.gov it is important to always upload BOTH your PLC Certificate AND your PLC Hours Verification Form. The advantage you have with the PLC eligibility is – you can apply for positions as if you were already “in” the system as a government employee. You do NOT have to go through the Open to the Public announcements. When searching in USAjobs, look for positions that are listed as open Competitive Service with the Special Authorities applicable. You must meet the minimum qualifications for the job(s) to which you apply. PLC Eligibility can only be applied to permanent appointments. Aim for entry level work at the GS-4, 5, or 7 or WG-2, 3, or 4 (Park Guide, Visitor Use Assistant, BioTechnician, Laborer). However, you may certainly still apply to Open to the Public positions. Your PLC eligibility will not “apply” however for these types of announcements. The changes made to the PLC Act in 2019 have expanded the authority to other agencies and departments so there will soon be more opportunities. Although the PLC Eligibility can be applied to temporary and term positions, many HR folks believe it does not apply to anything other than permanent appointments. That said – there is no way to fill temporary positions using the PLC eligibility because of process, not the law. Your PLC Certificate Does Expire! Your certificate expires and your eligibility ends two years from the date on your certificate. However, you can re-apply for PLC if you complete an additional 640 eligible hours. Check out this PLC Instruction Guide for more information.
During challenging times, we want you to know that support is available. The following number s are listed to assist with your possible needs. If you don’t know where to start, we suggest dialing 2-1-1 on your phone to be connected with the National Human Service Call Center. You can learn more about the 2-1-1 number here, and find your local 211 connection.
Mental Health and Crisis Hotlines
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255
- Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860
- LGBTQ+ Lifeline (The Trevor Project): Call 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678-678 or chat online
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: Call 1-800-656-4673
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEISto 22-522
- Victim Connect Resource Center: Call 1-855-484-2846
- Disaster Distress Hotline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66-746
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741-741
- Vets 4 Warriors: Call 1-855-838-8255 or chat online
- Poison Control: Call 1-800-222-1222
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to be a US citizen to serve?
Members must be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident as outlined in guidelines by our partner, AmeriCorps.
How long is each term of service?
Service term lengths vary depending on program. Typically, a Conservation Crew position involves a 3 or 6-month service term commitment, while EPIC individual placement positions can last anywhere from 2 to 12 months. For those interested in the Conservation Volunteers program, a minimum of 8 weeks is required. ACE programs operate year round on a rolling enrollment basis, ensuring that our members and applicants will always find new and exciting opportunities to explore!
What are the benefits of working with ACE and AmeriCorps?
Although not all ACE positions are AmeriCorps positions, many of our opportunities within the Conservation Crew and EPIC programs do offer members the ability to earn an AmeriCorps Education Award through their service term. ACE aims to provide all participants with opportunities to learn new skills, develop a professional network, travel and work in new environments, and contribute to the restoration and conservation of our public lands.
ACE AmeriCorps members typically receive:
- Housing accommodations on off days (depending on program and position)
- Biweekly living allowance, variable by position and program
- Food on projects (for Conservation Crew and Volunteers program members)
- Transportation to and from project (for Conservation Crew and Volunteers program members)
- Professional development and training opportunities
- A Segal AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of your service term, to be used for qualified existing student loans or future education expenses at accredited institutions
How many terms can I serve with ACE?
ACE members who are enrolled in AmeriCorps service terms are subject to the term limits set by AmeriCorps. For AmeriCorps members serving in State and National programs, such as ACE, members are allowed to serve up to two full years, with no more than 3,400 total hours. An individual may not earn more than two years (2 x 1700hr) worth of education awards. For more information on eligibility and limitations, as well as for members who have previously served with AmeriCorps NCCC or AmeriCorps VISTA, please visit the AmeriCorps website.
Is there an age limit?
ACE programs are designed for youth, young adults and recent college graduates. Most ACE positions accept applicants ages 18 and over, and age limits vary by program. Occasional summer youth programs are designated for teens ages 15 to 18. Applicants may apply for a position prior to their 18th birthday, but must be 18 at the time they start their service. Please consult specific position descriptions or contact us directly with any questions.
Are there any physical requirements?
ACE’s number one rule is safety! As ACE Programs are highly dynamic and cover a wide range of conservation areas, physical requirements can vary greatly by position and program. Typically, ACE Conservation Crew and Volunteers programs require that participants be prepared to work 10 hours a day doing moderate to intense physical work such as hiking, standing, bending, lifting, kneeling, carrying packs, and working with a variety of hand and power tools. ACE EPIC positions may require members to work in similar field conditions, depending on partner agency and project details. ACE operates nationwide throughout the year, and participants involved in field-based projects will often work in changing, sometimes adverse, weather conditions, including high elevations, humidity, heat, cold, rain, wind, and snow. We encourage all applicants and members to know and respect your personal physical limits, and what you may or may not be comfortable doing. Please inquire with our staff if you feel you may need any special accommodations, or would like to make us aware of any limitations, so we can keep you safe on any potential field project.
Do I need any previous conservation experience?
Not necessarily! ACE Conservation Crew and Volunteers program applicants need no experience with practical conservation tools or techniques; we plan to teach you! More specialized ACE EPIC positions are tailored to certain fields and agency projects, and therefore may require some level of specific conservation, environmental, biological, or land management knowledge. ACE asks that all participants enter programs with a willingness to maintain respect, professionalism, flexibility, a positive mental attitude (or as we say, “PMA”), and a commitment to put the safety of yourself and others first. For required qualifications, please consult your preferred position description or reach out to a designated program contact.
How many days per week are the projects?
ACE projects often operate on a variable schedule, depending on region, season, program, and particular work. ACE EPIC positions typically work throughout Monday to Friday, with occasional or specially designated weekend work. ACE EPIC staff and members work with partner agency staff to set up each member’s schedule and hours per week based on need. ACE Conservation Crew and Volunteers programs typically work on projects (or “hitches”) for 4 to 8 days at a time in the field, with either two 3-day breaks or one 6-day break in between projects, respectively. Some backcountry or remote projects may require Crew members to spend work and off days away from their location base for a few weeks at a time in order to minimize travel time and maximize crew safety. Conservation Crew and Volunteers program work days usually consist of 8-10 hours per day, 40 hours per week (for a total of 80 hours on an 8 day project). For more information on the types of work we do, visit our Programs or Serve pages.
Can I choose my projects?
Participants working with the ACE EPIC program will typically know the main scope of projects to be conducted throughout their term before their start date, based on the position description and discussion with ACE and partner agency staff. For ACE Conservation Crew and Conservation Volunteer program members, projects will typically be announced weekly before the first day of “hitch” (our term for field projects). Each season, ACE offers a wide range of projects and our volunteers will be offered various locations and learning opportunities as much as possible. We cannot offer a full choice of projects ultimately, but our staff welcomes your input, needs, and suggestions along the way. Some ACE projects are long term campaigns, in which members advance their skills over several weeks and help complete the project in full, with their newly-earned training. Since many ACE projects are outdoors and the weather can be unpredictable at any time of the year, flexibility and adaptability are key to success. Friends and significant others that apply to ACE together should keep in mind that they cannot count on ending up on the same projects, or even have their days off at the same time.
What are the available housing accommodations like?
ACE Conservation Crew and Conservation Volunteers programs typically provide free (or low-cost) communal housing for members between projects. ACE Housing typically has a washer/dryer and/ora laundromat just a few blocks away. Housing is communal, with up to 6 bunk beds per room, shared kitchen/kitchen supplies, and bathroom facilities with hot and cold running water. ACE housing units typically have WIFI to keep in touch with friends and family. Storage is available for members’ personal items that will not be brought on projects, such as suitcases and sport bags. Each office also has a locked safe specifically for items such as passports, tickets, and other smaller valuables.
Select ACE EPIC positions are able to provide or assist with housing accommodations. For specifics, please consult your desired position description or reach out to your ACE contact.
What do I need to bring?
Below is a list of items typically required for Conservation Crew and Volunteers programs. EPIC Individual Placement gear requirements will vary depending on position. Before obtaining items on this list, please speak with your ACE contact about specific needs for your ACE Crew, EPIC, or Volunteer position.
Typical field project gear items include:
- Sleeping bag (rated 15F/ -10C or below)
- Thermarest or comparable sleeping pad
- Large backpack (3,000 cubic inches/50 litres or larger)
- Leather hiking boots or work boots (they must end above your ankles)
- Long work pants (jeans or Carhartts)
- Water resistant rain jacket and rain pants
- Daypack – Smaller backpack for work days. You’ll put your lunch, water and whatever else you’ll need during the day in it.
- Pullover, sweatshirt, gloves, hat, and other warm clothing. Layers are important to be comfortable in a range of temperatures, overnight lows, wind, rain, intense daily heat/humidity. Shopping is possible on free days as well as online ordering of items; however, it’s best to be fully prepared on day one.
If you require assistance in obtaining any required items, please reach out to your ACE contact to discuss available options. Check out this YouTube playlist to learn more about how to pack and what to expect on hitch for the Crew or Volunteer programs.
What do members usually do on off days?
Depending on project, program, and location, participants may have between 2 to 6 days off at a time. Many of our members like to use this time to travel with new friends, explore nearby beautiful areas, and to rest in preparation for the next project. Outdoor enthusiasts may find local public lands on which to camp, climb, hike, ski, fish, and more. Those who enjoy the downtown life may find great dining, shopping, concerts, farmer’s markets, and local events. We encourage all ACE members to keep in mind that you are representing ACE in our local communities, even while not wearing your uniform or hard hat. For more information on activities near our regional offices, please visit our Locations page.
Please be aware the legal drinking age for alcohol in the USA is 21 years of age. Alcohol is not permitted, no matter one’s age, in the ACE housing, on ACE project campsites, or in the ACE vehicles. As a general principle, we support your time-off activities if they are safe and legal based on local, state, and federal laws. Illegal, unsafe, and disrespectful activity will result in immediate dismissal from ACE. The possession and consumption of federally controlled substances and recreational drugs is prohibited from ACE housing and while serving as a member of ACE. Please note that even in regions where recreational substances are permitted statewide, federal agency lands in the USA (e.g. national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, etc.) enforce federal law regarding controlled substance use and possession. Evidence of drug use or possession of federally controlled substances will constitute immediate termination of your term commitment.
Does ACE provide health insurance?
ACE does not provide health insurance to members. For questions, please reach out to your ACE contact regarding options.