Conservation Intern

The Conservation Intern acts as a research assistant in Highstead’s regional conservation program for a 12-week period from May 29, 2016 to August 19, 2016.

Highstead’s conservation program is engaged in building the capacity of partners to achieve large landscape conservation strategies in New England in support of the Wildlands & Woodlands (W&W) Initiative. Highstead works with more than eighty organizations in the Northeast to advance the pace and practice of large landscape conservation, and fosters collaboration across political, geographical, and professional boundaries. Highstead coordinates the rapidly growing Wildlands & Woodlands Initiative in conjunction with Harvard University’s Harvard Forest.

The intern will work with Highstead’s Senior Conservationist for Conservation Finance to implement research, outreach, and policy projects that will inform our partners on where and how new conservation finance opportunities may emerge. Highstead is a regional leader for advancing conservation through its roles with the Wildlands and Woodlands vision, the New England Forest Policy Group (NEFPG), the Regional Conservation Partnership (RCP) Network, Academics for Land Protection in New England (ALPINE), and the Conservation Finance Network (CFN).

Summer 2016 Conservation Program Initiatives

Intern will advance conservation in New England by bringing energy and enthusiasm, and writing, researching, and/or GIS skills to one or more of the following initiatives:

  • Cataloging Funding for Conservation: Build on recent research on trends in public funding for conservation in New England by quantifying public grant requirements for matching funds and overall public-private funding leverage. Assist in developing a survey of land trusts to assess quantity and type of private contributions (e.g., foundation grants, individual donations, debt instruments) received for land protection.
  • New England Conservation Finance Roundtable: Assist in developing speaker list and agenda for seminal national-caliber meeting to be held in Spring 2017. Will require working with partner organizations, including Conservation Finance Network, conducting background research on potential speakers, and research on past conference.
  • Conservation Finance Roadmap: Conduct background research for a catalog of conservation finance tools that show promise for advancing the pace of conservation in New England. Tasks may include assembling case studies, interviewing practitioners, preparing a literature review, and assessing feasibility of different conservation finance strategies.
  • Conservation Scenarios and Trends: Assist with a geospatial analysis of the success of recent land protection to advance the dual mission of conservation biodiversity and ecosystem services across New England. Will involve linking spatial and non-spatial conservation databases. Advanced GIS, remote sensing, and programming experience required.

The Intern will be expected to prepare and present a 15-minute presentation of their work at the conclusion of the internship and submit a brief retrospective of the research experience.


We seek a recent graduate of a Bachelors or Masters-level program with a demonstrated interest and enthusiasm for the development and implementation of real-world strategies for the following areas: conservation finance, landscape ecology, land conservation, and forest policy. Candidates must have good writing, research, and organizational skills. Priority will be given to candidates with strong GIS, survey design, database development, and quantitative skills. They must be comfortable working in a group setting and also taking individual initiative, as they will have considerable responsibility for advancing one or more projects. Candidates must have access to a car for travel within, and in some cases outside of, Connecticut.

How to apply

Submit résumé and 1-page letter of interest to Review of applications will begin April 10.