Department of Environmental Conservation

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Naturalist Intern Program

See the application forms at the bottom of this page for the deadlines for each season at Five Rivers and Reinstein Woods.

DEC's environmental education centers (Five Rivers, Reinstein Woods, Rogers and Stony Kill) offer ten- to sixteen-week naturalist training internships to persons seeking professional experience in environmental education. Each intern will receive training in the mission and role of the DEC environmental education bureau, a wide variety of center programs, the operations and activities of a center, principles of environmental interpretation, and natural history of New York. Interns will assume the role of environmental education staff in carrying out the responsibilities necessary to meet the center's objectives. Opportunities for training and development of specific skills will be available depending on each intern's interests and the center's needs.

The internships run for 10 to 16 weeks (depending on the center) and are held year-round.


Anyone with a minimum of two years of college-level study or equivalent experience and able to work in the United States may apply. Academic training in natural resources, natural sciences (biology, geology, etc.), environmental science, interpretation, education, recreation or a related field is advantageous. Preference will be given to candidates with a strong natural history background, experience with teaching or youth leadership, and a demonstrated interest in environmental education. We expect interns to have a professional attitude and exemplify the standards of the NYSDEC. Valid driver's license required.

Intern Responsibilities

(may include the following)

Educational Activities:

  • Complete intern training: orientation to job and NYSDEC, environmental education philosophy and techniques, environmental education literature, customer service, safety, and emergency procedures
  • Plan and lead a variety of environmental activities for a wide variety of audiences including: pre-school, elementary, middle, high school, youth groups, special needs groups, general public
  • Design, prepare, conduct, and evaluate an original environmental education presentation
  • Interact with the public during weekend and weekday visitor center receptionist duty
  • Write newsletter or newspaper articles on natural history or environmental topics
  • Attend teacher training workshops and assist staff in conducting workshops; including Project Learning Tree, Project WILD, and Project WET
  • Attend staff nature study training sessions
  • Complete a project (to be arranged with the intern's supervisor). Examples of past projects:
    • Plan and present a walk on a particular topic either on or off-site
    • Create a theme slide show
    • Design and construct an exhibit
    • Develop new lesson plans and teaching activity materials
    • Write a seasonal trail guide

Administrative Duties:

  • Complete a visual impressions report of grounds, trails, and exhibits
  • Interview each staff member for practice in interviewing and to learn about each staff member's job
  • Assist staff in planning seasonal general public programs
  • Attend a meeting of the center's not-for-profit support organization
  • Care for live animals
  • Visit other environmental education centers
  • Check trails and exhibits, update program announcements
  • Survey nest box use
  • Perform other duties as assigned by environmental education center staff
  • Complete an evaluation of the Naturalist Internship Program

Living Arrangements

Normal work days are 8:30 AM to 4:45 PM Monday through Friday. Some weekend and evening work is required with compensatory time off. Depending on availability, each center may provide housing, with a fully-equipped kitchen, furnished living room, and private bedroom. Interns receive a stipend of approximately $330 per week. Check with each center individually for exact living arrangements and exact amount of the weekly stipend.

For Additional Information and to Apply

To apply to Reinstein Woods: download the Reinstein Woods NIP application (PDF) (171 KB) and return it by mail or email to the address listed in the application.

To apply to Five Rivers: download the Five Rivers NIP application (PDF) (225 KB) and return it by mail or email to the address listed in the application.

To apply to Friends of Rogers: download the Friends of Roger NIP application (leaves DEC website) and return to the address listed in the application.

Naturalist Intern Program is supported by the Environmental Protection Fund administered by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.