JOB – Aldo Leopold Foundation Stewardship Internship Program

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.

Program Description
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.

Core Areas
–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 for more information.