RISE Project Intern

New York, NY, US

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to make a positive impact for people and nature around the world in 69 countries, all 50 United States, major US cities and in your neighborhood. Founded in 1951, the mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we are committed to a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Visit www.nature.org/aboutus to learn more.

The Nature Conservancy offers competitive compensation, 401k or savings-plan matching for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities and promote from within. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires conservation achievement and personal development, both within the workplace and beyond.


This is an 8-month, full-time hourly paid internship position. The Intern will assist TNC Forest Health Program and Cornell staff in the development and implementation of at least 2 RISE pilot programs with senior populations in NYC during the spring of 2017. This 8 month paid internship will provide support and project management to advance this work as described in more detail below. Duties will include conducting outreach, coordinating with partners and volunteers, planning, implementing at least 2 RISE pilot workshops/trainings, collecting, assembling, and analyzing various types of data and information, and assisting in the production of reports, documents, outreach materials, presentations, and other program work products. Primary responsibility will be to provide program support to implement these two pilots.

The Nature Conservancy is advancing several conservation initiatives to connect people to conservation opportunities that they can take in their own homes, neighborhoods, and community.

No matter the size or location of a lot, the Habitat Network can help people better support biodiversity and build resilience into our urban landscapes. The Habitat Network uses an on-line tool to help people convert their existing property into places that sustain desirable plant and animal species with associated benefits to people and nature. The goal of the Habitat Network is to engage a large, diverse, and networked population of participants to meaningfully restore ecological function in the residential landscape. Habitat Network is designed to engage the public in mapping, sharing, and learning about sustainable practices they can implement in backyards, schoolyards, parks, and corporate campuses. Habitat Network focuses on stewardship practices and social interactions as contexts for learning about conservation and about management of private land and public spaces. It is designed for a broad selection of people who have an interest in sustainability, gardening, the outdoors, wildlife, or the natural world. The Habitat Network is being advanced by two well established and respected organizations, The Nature Conservancy and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The goal for the Habitat Network and RISE program collaboration will be to connect retirees with the information and tools to create lush, functional spaces that support a wide range of wildlife, increase property values, and create beautiful healthy spaces for people to enjoy.

The Conservancy is partnering with The Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging (CITRA) to develop conservation programing to connect older Americans to meaningful actions that they can take to improve the health of the environment and make communities more sustainable. In 2050, the population aged 65 and over is projected to be 83.7 million, almost double its estimated population of 43.1 million in 2012. It is widely recognized that citizen engagement in sustainability efforts is critically important to helping to solve environmental problems and challenges. The Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging (CITRA) created the Retirees in Service to the Environment (RISE) Program as an environmental education and leadership training program for adults over 60 as a way to connect this growing population with environmentally based later-life volunteering. RISE responds to the intersection of two critical trends – mounting concern about environmental sustainability and the growing aging population. Retirees are an underutilized resource who have the time, talent, and skills to help address issues like climate change, air and water pollution, waste management, and the protection of natural areas.

The Conservancy will work with Cornell to incorporate Habitat Network initiatives in the RISE model to connect seniors with the training, support and resources they need to help support the Conservancy’s work in NYC and beyond.


  • Work with TNC and Cornell staff to adapt the original Retirees in Service to the Environment (RISE) program which currently involves 8 three-hour sessions that involve expert presentations, field trips, and experiential exercises to develop leadership skills. The program culminates with a group capstone project that tackles a local environmental problem. In these modified pilots, the capstone activity will take place in one of two volunteer programs sponsored by TNC: Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities and/or The Habitat Network. The seniors will receive intensive education via hands-on workshops about key issues in environmental sustainability and conservation; training in leadership skills useful in volunteer stewardship work; and guidance in performing a capstone stewardship project.
  • Work with TNC and Cornell staff to modify the RISE workshop approach to incorporate the HTHC and Habitat Network into the RISE model with each pilot workshop being run over approximately 4 sessions.

  • Workshops: Climate change, Water quality, Impact of nature on health, and Orientation to one or both of the programs (HTHC and HN). (Note: workshop titles may be subject to change through the course of program planning.)

  • Topics will provide context for different aspects and uses of the HTHC and HN programs and majority of time will be spent on skill-building exercises – both in the classroom and in the field.
  • The typical format of each workshop will include one hour of context around topic areas above (could include multimedia presentations) followed by two hours of skill-building exercises related to HN or HTHC.
  • Test the model by running two RISE workshops: Possibly one for HTHC and one for HN or combine both and run same workshop twice.
  • Work with TNC, Cornell and partner contacts with the senior community to plan and execute at least 2 pilot workshops in NYC.
  • Work with TNC and Cornell staff to develop and deliver the assessment tools and methodology to measure the impact of the workshop on participants and assist with analysis and report write up.
  • Advance the 2 pilots according to this timeline:

  • Refine the existing RISE model, build out the workshop plan with requisite materials, content and approach. Jan

  • Identify two senior centers or communities to work with in target geographic areas. Set dates for workshops and conduct outreach to assist senior center staff with recruitment of 20-25 participants. Jan – Feb
  • Workshop 1: March – April
  • Workshop 2: May – June
  • Workshop wrap up, data analysis and report writing July – Aug


  • May interact with visitors.
  • Works under close or infrequent supervision.
  • May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations for long periods of time in isolated settings, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances


  • Bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology, natural resources management or related field and at least 1 year related work experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.


  • Ability to complete tasks independently within assigned time frames, manage multiple priorities, with assignments sometimes coming from a number of sources.
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office suite. Experience utilizing databases for data entry and report production preferred. Experience with graphic design software helpful.
  • Strong organizational skills including attention to detail and numerical ability. Ability to plan, administer, and record results of work-team meetings and activities.
  • Outgoing, self-starter with ability to work independently and as a team member.
  • Excellent oral communication and presentation skills.
  • Demonstrated understanding of scientific research and experimentation, especially in the social science fields.
  • Courteous, personable, tactful ability to deal enthusiastically and sensitively with public.
  • Flexibility and willingness to travel and work weekends and long hours when needed.


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The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of men and women of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

The successful applicant must meet the requirements of *The Nature Conservancy’s background screening process.*

Job Title: RISE Project Intern

Location: New England

Job ID: 45065

Regular/Temporary: Regular

Full/Part Time: Full-Time