STEP Clinch Conservation Forestry Intern

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Abingdon, Virginia, USA



The mission of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is to conserve the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we develop innovative, on-the-ground solutions to the world’s toughest environmental challenges so that people and nature can thrive. Our work is guided by our values, which include a commitment to diversity and respect for people, communities, and cultures. From a rewarding mission to career development and flexible schedules, there are many reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want to know more? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube to hear stories from staff or visit Glassdoor.

One of TNC’s primary goals is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that employees around the globe have a sense of belonging and feel that their unique contributions are valued. We know we’ll only achieve our mission by hiring and engaging a diverse staff that reflects the communities in which we work. Recognizing that people bring talent and skills that have been developed outside the scope of a job, we take a holistic approach to recruitment that considers life experience in addition to the professional requirements listed in our postings. Please apply – we’d love to hear from you. To quote a popular saying at TNC, “you’ll join for the mission, and you’ll stay for the people.”


Join TNC Virginia as a STEP Intern! The goal of STEP is to create pathways for people seeking to gain experience with a conservation focused organization. We offer seasonal and short-term positions and internships in a range of disciplines across our Virginia Teams. With a focus on recruiting and developing a diverse staff, we strive to create an environment where people of all backgrounds, experiences, and identities feel welcomed to participate in conservation.

All STEP interns will attend an orientation, professional development webinars, and one group field trip. Along the way, interns will have the opportunity to broaden their experiences through interactions with Nature Conservancy staff and partners. STEP internships are designed for those early in their careers or with limited prior related experience.


TNC’s Clinch Valley Program is looking for an intern to support working forest management on the Conservation Forestry Program and assist field data collection on other conservation focal areas in southwestern Virginia including TNC’s Cumberland Forest Project. The intern will be working in the field to conduct boundary marking, timber and ecological inventory, and road and trail assessment. This position may work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances. Interns will dedicate 5% of their time to professional development activities through STEP or otherwise.
Main responsibilities include:
  • Marking and monitoring of Conservation Forestry Program property boundaries
  • Conducting condition assessment of Conservation Forestry Program road and trail systems
  • Assisting timber and ecological inventory, including monitoring for presence of invasive species, forests pests and pathogens, and other threats to forest resources
  • Assisting TNC foresters with treatment planning including boundary marking and field reconnaissance
  • Assisting execution of small-scale treatments for timber stand improvement using hand tools
  • Assisting Clinch Stream Connectivity Assessment Intern by:
o Navigating to remote stream crossing sites using maps, GPS devices, and passenger or off-highway vehicles.
o Documenting stream condition with basic field equipment such as tape measures, range finders, surveying equipment, and visual estimation.
o Following sampling/assessment protocols established by TNC and partners.
o Recording data with field iPad, GPS, ESRI Survey 123 or Field Maps software, camera.
  • Operating, loading, and unloading a side-by-side all-terrain vehicle, truck and trailer according to established safety protocols.
  • Assisting with volunteer events as needed


  • Current undergraduate student, recent graduate, or high school graduate with one year of applicable experience.
  • Experience performing physical field work in remote mountainous areas in adverse conditions, during inclement weather.
  • Experience working with or knowledge of natural systems .
  • Experience operating various types of equipment in a safe and efficient manner (e.g. UTV or OHV, hand tools such as loppers, hand-saws, shovels, or similar equipment).
  • Experience with handheld GPS data collection units.
  • Experience with digital mapping and/or geospatial software and applications.
  • Proficiency in learning procedures and adhering to instructions.


Preferred Qualifications

  • ArcGIS or ArcPro experience manipulating data, performing simple analyses, and producing maps and reports.
  • Comfortable using mobile device data collection applications such as ESRI Field Maps and Survey 123.
  • Experience performing tasks with limited supervision and making independent field decisions based on analysis, experience and context.
  • Must meet all TNC youth requirements and pass background check.


We’re proud to offer a work-environment that is supportive of the health, wellbeing, and flexibility needs of the people we employ!

STEP Interns are eligible for limited benefits including: Housing assistance, 401(k) employer match, paid time off (sick and personal), paid holidays, workers comp disability coverage, employee assistance program, employee discounts, and other life and work wellbeing benefits. Learn more about our benefits at in the Culture Tab on


Schedule: 35 hours/week for 10 weeks from May 30 – August 9, 2024
Hiring Timeline: Positions will close on February 25 (unless otherwise noted), Zoom interviews will occur in early March, Final hiring decisions made by April 5.
Pay: $17.00/hour, plus additional housing assistance as needed


This position requires a valid driver's license and compliance with TNC’s Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered "high risk drivers." To learn more about the Auto Safety Program, visit under the FAQ section.

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee's motor vehicle record.


The starting pay range for a candidate selected for this position is Pay: $17.00/hour. This range only applies to candidates whose country of employment is the USA. Where a successful candidate’s actual pay will fall within this range will be based on a variety of factors, including, for example, the candidate's location, qualifications, specific skills, and experience. Please note countries outside the USA would have a different pay range in the local currency based on the local labor market, and not tied to USA pay or ranges. Your geographic location will be confirmed during the recruitment.


To apply for job ID 54653, submit your materials online by using the Apply Now button at by 11:59 PM EST on February 25, 2024. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact

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 people 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.

Do you have military experience? Visit our U.S. Military Skills Translator to match your military experience with our current job openings!

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

An attractive salary and benefits package is part of TNC’s value proposition to our employees. TNC strives to provide competitive pay and bases salaries on the geographic location of the role committing to being equitable across groups and providing hiring salary ranges when possible.

Since we support flexible and remote work for our employees, many positions have a flexible location within countries where we’re registered as a Non-government Organization and established as an employer. This may mean we’re unable to provide a hiring salary range in the posting for some of our positions. However, candidates invited to be part of our interview process will be provided their location specific range upon request.