Land Stewardship Fellows

The Land Stewardship Fellows program provides conservation professionals who are just starting their careers with practical, hands-on land management experience based on Aldo Leopold’s land ethic philosophy. The program also fosters a better understanding of the land and the challenges of managing for overall land health as opposed to single resources, such as timber or water quality.

The outdoor classroom for this experience is the Aldo Leopold Foundation property in Baraboo, WI. This fellowship will allow you to immerse yourself in a landscape influenced by Leopold, work closely with dedicated conservation professionals, build your confidence, and enhance your own land ethic.

The stewardship crew normally works Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. However, depending on our activities and the season, the daily schedule will shift occasionally. In some seasons, we may also put in longer days in exchange for time off later. This usually happens during the prescribed burning season when the stewardship staff is on call to work when the weather is appropriate. Fellows receive time off later in the season to compensate for the extra hours spent during the burn season.

What You’ll Learn

As the seasons change, you’ll gain the problem-solving and technical skills needed to manage invasive species, improve timber stands, conduct prescribed burns, and carry out the many other practices that caring for land throughout the year requires.

Specific skills include:

  • Chainsaw use and safety
  • Chemical application
  • Tractor use
  • Sawing brush, mowing trails, and felling trees
  • Seed collection and processing, and plant sampling
  • GIS mapping and GPS
  • Report writing

You can also expect to attend a variety of workshops, talks, and other events that will help you expand your professional network, knowledge base, and understanding of non-profit operations. At first, you’ll work closely with your crew leader. As you gain experience, you’ll be granted more independence and opportunities for leadership roles.

As a fellow, you’ll spend about 75% of your time in the field controlling invasive species, conducting prescribed burns, collecting seeds for prairie restorations, doing timber stand improvements, and carrying out other activities. The other 25% of your time will be spent writing reports about field activities, and attending trainings or other professional development activities.

This is a very physically demanding job that requires work under a variety of conditions, including snow, rain, heat – and, yes, you will be exposed to ticks and mosquitoes. But the fellowship is very rewarding. A real sense of camaraderie develops within the stewardship crew, making even the most challenging tasks fun and educational.

How and When to Apply

This program seeks people with a strong desire to learn about conservation and land management. Applicants should have a four-year degree in a natural resources-related field and some previous field experience. Successful applicants must commit to the full fellowship term. Check the employment section of our website for the announcement, along with a list of required application materials.

Still a Student?

Some years, we also offer six- to 12-week seasonal fellowships starting in late May through late August. Check the employment section of our website in early spring for the position announcement.

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