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We train the next generation

Empowering future leaders in conservation

Our internship and workforce development programs provide mentorship, technical training, and community to STEM students who are representative of New York City’s population and aspiring toward careers in conservation science.

By offering paid technical and professional development training to diverse intern cohorts, we hope to create new opportunities for young New Yorkers to pursue and succeed in green jobs.

Since 2016, we have provided 140 paid internships to over 100 students from the City University of New York (CUNY).

In 2022, we piloted our high school Student Urban Nature (SUN) paid internship program in Forest Park, Queens. This year, the high school SUN program will expand to Staten Island, and we’ll offer our new workforce development program to CUNY students interested in natural resource management.

Recent internship triumphs

CUNY internships

We offer paid CUNY internships every semester. In the summer, students can apply to participate in an eight-week, full-time urban ecology program. We also offer additional part-time internship opportunities in the fall and spring.

Throughout their internships, CUNY students receive training in plant identification, field ecology, data management, ecological surveying methods, and trail improvement techniques.

Interns also have the chance to hone their professional skills. We offer guidance on resume and cover letter development and the opportunity to network with professionals from organizations like NYC Parks, New York State Parks, Bloomberg LP, local park conservancies, and city environmental organizations.

We found that 80% of job-seeking interns secured employment within six months of completing our program, and 90% of those now work in the environmental field.

Our graduating students have gone on to create a thriving alumni network that continues to share knowledge and steward the environment.

A CUNY intern story

Field Notes: Q&A with Intern Leslie Garcia

Leslie Garcia was an intern in the NAC’s summer 2023 CUNY internship program, working on the Citywide Trails team.

Read more
A group of five high school interns sit around a picnic table with a water sample kit

High school SUN internships

Our high school SUN internship program is centered around fostering student interest in science by connecting young learners to local natural areas and the fascinating ecology within them. By engaging with high school students who have been historically underrepresented in STEM fields, we hope to provide mentorship and training that will expand their opportunities to pursue careers in conservation.

Students in our program can expect to learn how data and observations inform natural areas management, engage with local ecosystems through scientific inquiry, and ultimately conduct their own mentored research projects.

Support our internship programs by giving today

Your contribution will help us continue to offer paid work opportunities to STEM students.

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Hands hold a plant with blue berries