top of page
fpkbta ranger flyer 2024.jpg
2022 WYHC Logo color (3).jpg

American Indian College Student Interpretive Ranger Program


Program Overview

The Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail Association (FPK/BTA), in partnership with the Bighorn National Forest, Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site, and thinkWY/ Wyoming Humanities, is sponsoring...", is sponsoring the second year of an American Indian College Student Interpretive Ranger Program in 2024.  Two students will be selected to participate in the program at the Fort Phil Kearny and Medicine Wheel/Medicine Mountain National Historic Landmarks during a ten-week period between June 3rd and August 11th, 2024. 

Student Benefits

Benefits will include a weekly $560 ($14/hr. X 40-hour work week) stipend, paid every two weeks by automatic bank deposit to cover food and other personal needs.  Students will be reimbursed mileage for the travel expenses to get from their homes to the program locations and then the return trip at the end of the summer and for one weekly trip for groceries at the nearest store to their duty location. Program partners will provide transportation as needed. Additional benefits include housing, an interpreter certification training course, and if they so choose tuition for a summer independent study course.  


Additional Program Information

Prior to beginning work students will complete a 32-hour course to become a Certified Interpretive Guide using the National Association of Interpretation (NAI) curriculum which is recognized throughout the world as the leading interpreter training program.  The course will be taught by Linley Mayer from Wyoming State Parks, and Kelsey Bean from the Bighorn National Forest, both of whom are certified NAI interpretive trainers.

Upon completion of the training, the students will attend a week of Forest Service orientation training. Then one student will be placed at each site to work five days a week for a period of four weeks. On-site training and supervision will be provided by Forest Service and Wyoming State Parks personnel.    The weekly and daily work schedules will be set by the hosting units.    At the end of the first four weeks the students will switch places to work at the alternate sites. Any transportation needed to get from housing quarters to the work site and back each day will be provided by the hosting unit.


Students will be housed at the Forest Service Porcupine Work Center while working at the Medicine Wheel. At Fort Phil Kearny they will be housed in a 40-foot camp trailer on-site.  Grant funding administered by the FPK/BTA will be paid to the hosting Units to cover the cost of the housing at both sites.


The FPK/BTA will provide transportation for the student as an in-kind match for the project if needed.  This would include transportation for the initial trip to the program site and the final return trip home at the end of the season and providing one trip each week to get groceries or other personal supplies. If a student has a personal vehicle, grant funding would be used to reimburse the student for mileage at the current GSA rate of .655/mile for the trips described above.


American Indian Student Mentor 

A special component of the program will be the inclusion of a cultural mentor to support and council each student.  American Indian culture and history are fundamental elements of the spiritual, historical, and physical landscape at both sites. Mentors will provide support and council to the students in both on and off-site settings.  The mentor can also enhance interpretive efforts of the hosting agencies as well.  Mentors may be the instructors overseeing the independent study course, and/or tribal elders with cultural knowledge who can council and guide students through the training and work experience. Grant funding would be used to reimburse travel and lodging expenses, as well as a daily stipend for each mentor.

Independent Study Course

If the student chooses to take the independent study course, FPK/BTA will reimburse the student for up to three hours of registration cost. The course will entail production of a research paper covering American Indian history and culture as it relates to the program sites or general area of the Bighorn Mountains and/or Powder River Basin of Wyoming.  One paid day a week will be set aside for the student to work on their paper. The paper will be submitted to the FPK/BTA at the end of the program in August as a work requirement.

Program Evaluation

At the end of their tenure at each site, the students will participate in an exit interview with the site supervisors and the FPK/BTA program leader to review their experience and provide recommendations for improving the Student Interpreter Program. They will also have an opportunity to provide suggestions for improving site interpretive materials and presentations for visitors, as well as on-site operations. Finally, each student will be interviewed about their experiences by the Wyoming Council for the Humanities which is providing funding for the project. The interviews will be recorded and placed on the WCH website.


Selection of Student Participants

Interested currently enrolled American Indian college students can apply by submitting a letter of Interest, resume with references, and documentation of current enrollment in a college program of study by May 1, 2024. The application will be submitted to the FPK/BTA, who will then convene a panel representing the three program partners to make the selection of two participants.  The selection of Interns to participate in the program will be made by May 10, 2024


Program Partners

The Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail Association (FPK/BTA), a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization founded in 1985 and dedicated to the preservation, development, education, and promotion of the Bozeman Trail and associated historic sites including Fort Phil Kearny, Fetterman Battlefield, and Wagon Box Battlefield.  The FPK/BTA will employ the students, pay program costs with grant funding, provide logistical support to the student as needed, and work closely with Wyoming State Parks and the Bighorn National Forest to monitor implantation of the program and ensure the students receive a rewarding and beneficial experience.

The Bighorn National Forest: Manages the Medicine Wheel/Medicine Mountain National Historic Landmark, which is recognized as a Traditional Cultural Place utilized by American Indians for ceremonial practices.  The site is staffed between mid-June and Labor Day each summer, hosting American Indian ceremonies, and over 10,000 visitors annually from around the world.  The Forest will provide housing, daily worksite transportation, on-site training, and supervision for the students.

Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Manages the Fort Phil Kearny, Fetterman Battlefield, and Wagon Box National Historic Landmarks.  The site is staffed from May 1st through October 30 each year, and hosts over 5,000 visitors annually.  The interpretive center contains interpretive displays and the FBK/BTA bookstore.  On-site education events are presented regularly.  Self-guided interpretive tours of the Fort grounds and the two battlefields feature walking paths and interpretive signage.   Wyoming State Parks will provide housing, on-site training, and supervision for the students.

Wyoming Humanities is providing a Wyoming Crossroads grant to cover the program expenses at Fort Phil Kearny. Without the support of the thinkWY/Wyoming Humanities this program would not be possible.




Send a letter of interest with your contact information, documentation of current enrollment in a college program of study, and a resume with three references. By May 1, 2024 to:

Dave McKee, President, FPK/BTA at:

bottom of page