The mission statement of Wildlands Conservation’s internship program is “to train the next generation of conservation professionals.” Wildlands has strong working relationships with Federal, State, regional, and local agencies, private-sector ecological consultants, non-governmental organizations, local universities/colleges, and private landowners. Thus, we are uniquely situated to provide interns with hands-on experiences that will maximize their exposure to a wide variety of career opportunities and perspectives in the field of conservation biology.
Demand for internship opportunities is high – especially in the field of conservation. Academic institutions need opportunities for their students to develop experiences and skills that they do not receive in the classroom. Agencies and private-sector employers need job candidates with these skills as they decrease the expensive, time-consuming process of training new hires. Wildlands also has cooperative agreements with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local counties to provide interns for specific tasks to better help them improve conservation efforts.
From a student’s perspective, it is difficult to transition from an academic setting to a job in your chosen profession, and the first job is often the hardest one to get. We have had great success with interns that have used us as references and gone on to find great jobs. We have testimonials from some of our interns that demonstrate unequivocally that Wildlands’ internship program – interning with a local nonprofit that is involved in land management, conservation, education, and directed research – is a great stepping-stone to employment.
“In this time, Wildlands took great care to harbor a comfortable and effective learning environment. I was given the opportunity to work the full range of Gopher Tortoise relocations, through classwork and field experience. This included practice in transect surveys, safe trapping methods, GIS, and endangered species handling and management. In addition to this work, I partook in vegetative surveys – these allowed me to learn a lot about the native flora of Central Florida while practicing survey and statistical methods. The Wildlands staff has a great range of knowledge and experience for which I was very grateful to have a chance to benefit from. Furthermore, the staff is wildly approachable, which is an often overlooked quality required for a successful learning environment. I’m very appreciative for how much Wildlands Conservation taught me, and in such a short time.” – Eric S.
“During the 6 months of interning with this non-profit, I learned a lot of valuable skills that will be beneficial when working on the field. As an anthropology major with an environmental concentration, I was looking for a place that would allow me to get some experience doing surveys and working outdoors. I was able to assist in both vegetative and biological surveys during this time, along with becoming more familiar with GIS technology and data input. I also learned a lot about the administrative end of working in a non-profit due to my interest in continuing in the nonprofit sector. Each mentor provided valuable learning experiences, including gopher tortoise burrow identification and excavating procedures, identifying Florida plant species versus invasive species, and inviting me along to meet with members of Sierra Club and Tampa Bay Water. I gained a lot of knowledge in such a short amount of time and I truly appreciate the flexibility and opportunities that were provided to me during this internship. Because of the GIS and survey skills I learned, I was able to qualify for a school-funded anthropology project for the rest of the summer. I could not have done it without my experience with Wildlands.” –Kimberly C.
“Being an intern at Wildlands has allowed me to discover my true passion. If it weren’t for the experiences that I have had at Wildlands I would never know how much I truly wanted to pursue a degree in environmental biology. Because of this amazing opportunity, I have been able to learn about a whole new side of biology that I would have never been exposed to if it were not for Wildland’s intern program. I have been able to come home after a day of work and feel as though I have truly accomplished something, and it makes me feel inspired to accomplish even more. I am extremely grateful to be able to be a part of something so important and to be allowed the chance to learn something new every day.” –Fatima E.
“I had the great pleasure of working for Wildlands Conservation for 5 months right out of college. Despite being new to the professional world of ecological work, Wildlands took me under their wing and both facilitated my state certification as an FWC authorized gopher tortoise agent and immediately provided opportunities for field work. I learned vital ecological skills such as conducting surveys, mapping habitats, working with state-threatened species, and eventually biological monitoring. I am extremely indebted to Wildlands for the opportunity to learn these skills and expand my professional network. The professional rewards of working for Wildlands Conservation were immense, but my favorite part was working with its close-knit, knowledgeable, and friendly staff.” –Jelena R.
“They (Wildlands) were not only my employers, they were my friends. Because friends facilitate the talents of the people they care about. Friends allow you to be uncomfortable because they know discomfort is a necessary condition for growth. Friends invite you to their homes after a long day of digging burrows to chat and share a few laughs. Friends hold you accountable and expect reciprocation. So for anyone considering a month or two, perhaps even a semester, as an intern with this fine company, I say do it. I will forever cherish the memories made and experience acquired while working with Wildlands Conservation. And I suspect you could too. Get your nose out of the textbook. Go out into the great beyond. Get bit by an insect or two. Screw up. Assume some newfound responsibility. Get Lost. Get Found. Whatever. Wildlands will help you. Heck, it sure helped me.” – Jacob T.