Program details

The Wildland Fire Management Internship program guides Native American college students to a demanding career in Wildland Fire Operations and Management.

With the help of our expert trainer, Craig Cook, you will navigate a rigorous schedule of qualifications and certifications needed to translate fire incident experience into a rewarding and highly valuable career.

Enrolled tribal members must be registered in a 2-year or 4-year forestry program in order to qualify.


Wildland Fire Mentor, Craig Cook

Craig Cook, Choctaw tribal member and coordinator for the TREES Fire Management Internship program, has 33 years of experience in Wildland Fire. In his early career, Craig served and later led Fire Helicopter crews providing swift response to wildland fires in remote mountainous locations.

In 1998, he transitioned out of a field-based job to work in Fire Training for the BIA at the National Interagency Fire Center, NIFC. It is at NIFC, where he learned and applied the instructional design process to develop training for wildland firefighters to be used by firefighters across the country and internationally.

Craig later served as the national fire training officer for the BIA where he managed a continuing college education program for BIA and Tribal firefighters and a filed based experiential program in prescribed fire designed to enhance the skill of participants in returning fire to landscapes. Craig enjoyed his long career and is grateful for the opportunity to help mentor the next generation of native American fire managers.


Here’s what we can help with:

Paying for school

Our program provides $5,000 in tuition assistance per year to interns demonstrating progress in their work and education. SKC TREES also administers the delivery of tuition assistance to Forestry and Fire interns working under the BIA Pathways Program.

Gaining experience

SKC TREES works to find suitable placements that match interns, their interests and their experiential needs with the demands of tribal managers across Indian Country. Our tribal exchange program helps match student interns to forestry operations with tribes and Indian nations.

Paying for housing

For Interns that require travel and lodging to complete their summer working internships the TREES program will assist where possible.  During the 2020 summer cohort, SKC TREES extended $1,200 in housing support to interns in order to keep them working during the pandemic.

Providing field trips

About once a year, SKC TREES offers field trips to further immerse students in the field of forestry.  Lasting about 4 to 5 days, these trips consist of visiting Forest lands managed by BIA and Tribal managers. These field trips give you the chance to interact with working foresters and fire managers as they review Forest and Fire management activities on the ground.


Paying for travel

For Interns that require travel and lodging to complete their summer working internships TREES will assist where possible.

Providing mentors

Our experienced and knowledgable staff encourage professional growth and stoke student interests. Going to school and making ends meet isn’t easy, and we work hard to make sure you don’t waste precious time and money getting where you want to go. Our mentors combine deep experience and expertise with passion and good heartedness. We love listening to students and we are open and available to help hard working students succeed.