Stewardship Internship Program
To download an application click here.
This internship is an experience that provides hands-on experience and practical on-the-ground management coupled with the Leopold land ethic philosophy. This experience is designed to train interns using the Aldo Leopold Foundation property, which serves as an outdoor classroom, to become proficient in land management tasks and develop awareness to make informed management decisions. All stewardship interns will be expected to be actively involved in all aspects of management.
The internship is a unique experience for individuals who are just entering the field of conservation. The nine-month commitment is more than just an internship, it is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a landscape influenced by Leopold, surround yourself with dedicated conservation professionals, and connect to experiences that enhance your own land ethic. Our objective is to prepare interns for their next step in their career, whether it be a graduate program, full-time employment at a public or private entity, or another step into the world of conservation.
The internship starts in February and runs through November. This is the minimum time necessary to ensure adequate training and experience be obtained in our core competency areas (see below). This nine-month internship provides a diverse land stewardship experience—as the seasons change from winter, spring, summer, fall and back again, the stewardship crew is working in stride with the changing seasons and phenology. While the crew spends over three quarters of its time in the field, when you are inside you will be working in the Leopold Center—a sustainably built, Platinum LEED-certified, zero carbon emission building.
The program focuses on building awareness and appreciation for conservation work though increasing knowledge and understanding of the land, the many interrelationships between the land resources and their management, and the challenges of managing for the health of the land rather than just managing individual resources. The program is made up of core experiences that work to build a strong foundation of land management; each crop of interns is exposed to these same experiences. The interns will also be involved in other projects which vary year to year, coordinating with organization-wide initiatives and collaborative projects with partners. Beyond these planned experiences, interns can expect to be offered opportunities to explore, participate, and attend a whole variety of events, workshops, talks, and meetings that will expand their conservation networks, knowledge base, and understanding of non-profit operations. Interns will be expected to work on tasks assigned by their supervisor 40 hours a week. Initially, interns should expect to work closely with their supervisor or crew leader in a team environment. As experience is gained, more independence will be given and leadership opportunities will be created.
- Invasive Species Management (40%)
- Common Buckthorn & other invasive woody shrubs
- Garlic Mustard
- Japanese Hedge Parsley
- Prescribed Burning on ALF and private lands (10%)
- Woodland School Class coordination and participation (5%)
- GIS/GPS (5%)
- Reporting & documentation (15%)
- Misc (25%) Stewardship crew's designated annual projects (Timber stand improvement, trail maintenance, training, maintenance and enhancement of native prairie establishments ….)
This internship teaches discrete skills (chainsaw skills, chemical application, tractor use, brush saws, GIS mapping, GPS, etc.) that provide land stewards with a comprehensive tool box that they can use when they head into the field to carry out invasive species management, timber stand improvement, prescribed burning, and many of the other projects that are essential to caring for a piece of land. The internship provides hands-on skills and a diverse knowledge base that creates a confident and experienced land steward. Please check out the applications guidelines to apply or contact Alanna Koshollek at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Frequently asked internship questions
What is the work schedule of the internship like?
The position is a full time, 40 hour per week seasonal position that starts in mid-February and goes into mid-November. Most of the time the Stewardship crew works Monday through Friday. We schedule our work days depending on our daily activity and the season. We generally work 9-5, but sometime it is 7-3, 8-4, or whatever schedule makes the most sense for the task to be accomplished that day. There are seasons were we might put in longer days to accomplish a task in exchange for time off later in the month. This usually happens during prescribed burn season where all stewardship staff is "on call" and when the weather is appropriate, we burn. Interns receive time off later in the season to compensate for the extra hours spent during burn season.
Will I have to work weekends?
Weekends are required occasionally. This is due to either an all-staff activity or training. Rarely do we work a weekend to finish a task that was started during the week. If you are expected to work a weekend you will know several weeks in advance and your schedule will be adjusted accordingly.
I don’t graduate until May, can I apply just for the summer?
No, at this time we do not have summer internships available. Due to the content of the internship it is important for interns to committee to the full February to November timeframe.
Are internships offered every year?
Yes, depending on the year there may be two to three positions available.
How much time should I expect to be in the field?
As an intern you will spend about 85% of your time in the field working with invasive species, conducting prescribed burns, collecting seeds for prairie restorations, conducting timber stand improvement, or a number of other activities. The other 15% of your time will be spent writing summary reports about the field activities, attending trainings or other professional development activities.
What is the most challenging aspect of the internship?
This is a very physically demanding job where work is necessary in a variety of weather conditions including snow, rain, heat, and yes – you are exposed to ticks and mosquitoes. However the internship is very rewarding at the same time. There is a real sense of camaraderie with the stewardship crew making even the most challenging tasks exciting and educational.
How will the work change with the seasons?
Buckthorn Removal: Snow cover provides an opportunity for the crew to tackle common buckthorn, an aggressive invasive species. This task involves chainsaws and chemical—the interns are quickly brought up to speed with these useful field tools by taking the Game of Logging chainsaw classes (offered through the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s Woodland School) and obtaining a Wisconsin State Herbicide Applicators license.
Prescribed Burning: Before spring green up, the crew hits the ground conducting prescribed burns on the Aldo Leopold Foundation property and on private landowner’s properties. Because the phenological window of opportunity for prescribed burning is dictated by the weather, the Stewardship Crew is more or less “on-call” for the month of April and working long days when the wind and rain cooperate, and taking days off when the weather is not favorable for burning. This is an exhilarating and physically demanding stewardship task.
Garlic Mustard: Garlic mustard control consumes a great deal of the Stewardship Crew’s time. This process involves walking transects over the entire Leopold Memorial Reserve (300 acres) to scope the area for garlic mustard seedlings and second year plants. While the crew is very focused on the task at hand, we also have fun watching the spring flora and fauna emerge—including fawns, snakes, and spring ephemerals.
Invasive Species: The Stewardship Crew monitors the Leopold Memorial Reserve for Japanese hedge-parsley (Torilis japonica), a newer invasive species of concern. It is very aggressive and has a very high rate of spread due to the production of stick-tight seeds. Both chemical treatment and hand-pulling control methods are employed.
Projects: Each summer projects such as seed collection, prairie restoration efforts, mowing trails, carpentry projects, plant sampling, research projects, vegetation monitoring, and landowner visits cover the schedule of the hot summer days.
Chainsaw work: As the leaves fall, the Crew heads back to the woods to test their chainsaw skills with Timber Stand Improvement (TSI), fire wood cutting and splitting, and buckthorn removal.
GIS Mapping: With the leaves off this is a great time of year to collect data to build base layer files for future GIS project.
How to Apply
Download announcement and application materials (PDF)
If you have further questions please contact Alanna Koshollek at email@example.com using the subject line: 2013 Internship Announcement Questions.
Candidates should send a resume, responses to the two scenarios below, and two letters of recommendation to Alanna Koshollek, P.O. Box 77, Baraboo, WI, 53913 or if you would like to submit an application electronically please submit it with the following subject line: 2013 Internship Application Materials to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications must be postmarked by Monday January 4th, 2013.
Approximate Hiring Timeline:
- January 4th-9th Application Review
- January 10th-18th Interviews
- February 11th - Start Date
The Aldo Leopold Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.