The Farmscape Ecology Program is dedicated to exploring the human and natural dimensions of the landscape in and around Columbia County, NY through research and outreach. The Program is part of Hawthorne Valley Association, an educational non-profit located on a farm in rural upstate New York, and is comprised of a wildlife ecologist, a botanist, a social scientist, a conservation biologist, and two research technicians.
Our interdisciplinary research explores various dimensions of the historical, current, and potential future interactions of people with the land. An important part of our work is applied farmscape ecology, which involves documenting synergies between agricultural production and nature conservation, as well as creating,
managing, and monitoring experimental on-farm habitats for beneficial wildlife.
For the 2021 field season, we are looking for a learner/student intern dedicated mainly to the botanical aspects of our applied farmscape ecology work, involving hands-on gardening, botanical research, and public outreach. The season will run approximately three months, from late May/early June to late August/early September. There is the potential for a three month extension of the position with an independent project, but that is not guaranteed.
Activities: The successful candidate will be involved in the creation and maintenance of perennial native plant beds in a small butterfly house; the maintenance and expansion of a native plant garden; the maintenance of on-farm habitats (pollinator beds, beetle banks, a hedgerow, native meadows) created to support pollinators and other beneficial insects; and the creation and maintenance of a small, native plant nursery. Maintenance tasks include hand weeding, weed whacking, watering, planting/transplanting, seed collecting and mowing. The learner/intern will also be involved in the monitoring of vegetation composition and flower abundance in select areas across the season (both on the farm and off the farm); facilitate weekly gardening activities with a small group of volunteers; support and conduct weekly tours for small groups of visitors in the butterfly house and native plant garden; assist with insect sampling and processing of insect specimens, as needed; and will be trained and become responsible for the weekly monitoring of the phenology trails at Hawthorne Valley Farm. The learner/intern is expected to keep accurate records and to do data entry into the computer.
Qualifications: We are looking for candidates with a strong interest in plants and gardening or agriculture, who really enjoy the outdoors. The ideal candidate has some experience with plant identification and gardening and is eager to hone his/her skills in these areas, but also is excited to learn about insects and their interactions with native plants and agriculture. Candidates should be comfortable living and working in a rural environment, be energetic, and thrive outdoors even when the going gets rough (think long hot days in a field without shade!). Given the work environment, it is important that candidates are sociable, able to interact with a diverse range of people of all ages and backgrounds, self- motivated and can work independently with attention to detail. Most importantly, we are looking for people who are eager to learn. We expect the candidates to have basic computer skills (Word, Excel). Some academic and/or work experience in field biology, field ecology, natural history, environmental science, sustainable farming/gardening, environmental education, or related fields is a plus but not a requirement.
Accessibility: Our intention is to make this position accessible to applicants from diverse backgrounds, who are excited by this opportunity. We encourage people who are under-resourced, BIPOC, or with a nontraditional background to apply. If you have any concerns or questions about the accessibility of this learnership/student internship for your situation, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.
General Conditions: The learnership/student internship is based at Hawthorne Valley Farm, a 500-acre organic and biodynamic diversified farm located in the heart of Columbia County, NY. Successful applicants will be expected to work 40–45 hours per week, which will occasionally include hours that are earlier or later than normal work hours, and on weekends.
Compensation: The successful applicant will be provided with housing (a small, private room with a shared kitchen and bathroom) in the Farmscape Ecology Program building and a stipend of $1,000/month. We don’t want finances to be a barrier to taking this position: successful candidates will have the opportunity to apply for a need-based scholarship (maximum $500/month). Please refer to this scholarship description (https://hvfarmscape.org/scholarship
) to help self-assess your eligibility for it.
COVID-19 Considerations: We take COVID-19 seriously. While we recognize this is an ever-evolving situation, we will have a shared protocol for Farmscape Ecology Program employees, learners/interns, and volunteers that outlines how to work at and around the office safely. The occupants of the shared apartment will work with one another to determine a Covid protocol that they are all comfortable with. Because Covid limits abilities to carpool, it would be ideal for applicants to have their own car (mileage reimbursement is provided). However, we do not want this to limit you from applying to this position; please reach out to us if you’re enthusiastic about this position but don’t have a car, and we will see if we can work something else out. We can update you regarding current COVID conditions and protocols during the application process.
Additional Information: Information about Hawthorne Valley Association is available at https://hawthornevalley.org;
for more on the Farmscape Ecology Program itself, see https://www.hvfarmscape.org
Application Process: Please email us (email@example.com
) a CV including contact information for three references along with a cover letter highlighting why you are interested in this learnership/student internship and any relevant experience you might have. Accepted candidates will then have the opportunity to apply for the needs-based scholarship. If you have questions, please contact Claudia Knab-Vispo at 518-938-1109 or via the email address provided above.
We will begin reviewing applications on Feb. 15, 2021, but continue to accept applications until the position is filled (if you are considering to apply after Feb. 15, please check on https://hvfarmscape.org/internships
to see if the position is still available).