Job Type: Paid Internship
Salary Details: $13-15 per hour
Deadline: Apr 26, 2023

Our Organization
The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (“JDCF”) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit conservation land trust whose mission is to preserve land for the lasting well-being of people and wildlife. JDCF is an accredited land trust that works with volunteers, local landowners, business owners, and community leaders to find creative solutions to conservation challenges that produce lasting effects. Since its founding in 1993, JDCF has preserved over 6800 acres of land in the beautiful Driftless Area of Jo Daviess County, Illinois.

Position Summary
The Land Conservation Internship (“the Intern”) position is a 40-hour per week, seasonal, paid position responsible for assisting with the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation’s (“JDCF”) Land Preservation and Land Stewardship programs, with a particular emphasis on conservation real estate transactions, geographic information systems, and ecological restoration. This position will also assist with the land stewardship activities at Twin Ponds Research Farm. This position is designed to give the Intern a comprehensive understanding of nonprofit land protection practices and procedures and land stewardship practices.

The goal of the internship program is to develop in successful Interns applied and on-the-ground skills complementing their academic training and improving their qualifications and experiences for entry into the professional natural resources job market. For the duration of the Internship, the Intern is treated as an employee of JDCF and is provided limited paid time off and reimbursement for all allowed expenses (e.g. related travel costs).

This position reports to the JDCF Director of Land Conservation. This position will spend approximately one day per week at Twin Ponds Research Farm and approximately four days per week working at the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation office and its local preserves. This position will be expected to work occasional evenings and weekends for special events.

Lodging will not be provided for this internship.

Duties and Responsibilities
The Land Conservation Intern will have three primary areas of work:

  • Twin Ponds Research Farm – A privately owned permaculture farm specializing in native plant propagation and perennial silvicultural crops. Duties at Twin Ponds Research Farm include propagating native plants for ecological restoration, monitoring bluebird populations, working with hazelnut and chestnut hybridization, native seed harvesting, and other tasks and duties as assigned.
  • JDCF Land Stewardship Program – Assisting with ecological restoration and other land management activities, including invasive species control and native seed collection.
  • JDCF Land Preservation Program – Conduct physical inspections of JDCF’s conservation areas, assist with real estate transactions, assist with grant writing and reporting, and other tasks and duties as assigned.

Required Skills and Qualifications:

  • At least 18 years old at beginning of internship
  • Currently enrolled in, or recently graduated from, a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science program in the fields of conservation biology, environmental science, botany, wildlife biology, natural resources, land use management, pre-law, forestry, or other related field.
  • Ability to effectively relate to a diverse range of people, including both oral and written communication skills.
  • Ability to work in extreme environmental conditions including excessive heat, biting and stinging insects, and steep terrain.
  • Ability to hike uneven and steep terrain and lift up to 50 pounds.
  • Basic computer literacy including Microsoft Office suite.
  • Ability to work semi-independently and without supervision after receiving proper training and instructions from supervisors.
  • Valid and current driver’s license.
  • Can provide own transportation to and from work sites.

Internship Learning Outcomes
The Intern can expect to gain an unprecedented level of meaningful work experiences that will serve them well in the job market. Residents are provided with training and may be eligible for certifications which they take with them upon the completion of the internship (e.g. prescribed burn training and certification, herbicide application certification, chainsaw training).  These trainings and certifications are important additions to applications for future. Knowledge, skills, and professional development outcomes include:

  • Identifying specific or more focuses career interests
  • Develop multiple skill sets to enhance future employment potential
  • Put classroom knowledge into practice on-the-ground
  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Basic knowledge of conducting real estate transactions
  • Basic knowledge of natural communities and ability to identify common species indigenous to northwest Illinois
  • Basic knowledge of horticulture and raising plants in a greenhouse setting.
  • Ability to identify invasive plant species present in northwest Illinois
  • Strong social and interpersonal skills including the ability to resolve and mediate conflict and maintain good working relationships with coworkers, volunteers, and members of the community
  • Experience operating chainsaws and other power tools
  • Basic competency in ArcMap digital mapping software

Additional Educational and Training Opportunities:

  • Opportunity to work with volunteers and members of the community
  • Participate in educational and outreach events
  • Work outside in the beautiful Driftless Area of northwest Illinois visit surrounding natural areas, and work on independent projects within the restoration
  • Herbicide use and safety
  • Chainsaw and brush cutter use, safety, and maintenance

Equal Opportunity Employer
It is the policy of JDCF to provide equal opportunity for all qualified persons and not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, ethnicity, religion, creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, veteran status, disability, marital status, or any other protected status.

Qualified applicants may send their resume and cover letter electronically to or by mail to:

Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation
Attn: Jim Johannsen
P.O. Box 216
Elizabeth Illinois 61028