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Natural Areas Stewardship

One position designed to provide experience in natural areas land management including planning, assessment, stewardship and site restoration. Printable Job Description

Duties and Responsibilities

Work with natural areas staff to care for plants in natural areas:

  • Learn to identify native and non-native woody and herbaceous plant species
  • Manage invasive species competing with native vegetation; weed, cut, use herbicides under the direction of a Certified Pesticide Applicator, and remove seeds or other propagules
  • Increase populations of native plants; set up exclosures to protect plants from herbivory, prepare areas for planting and plant native species, and collect seeds and propagate plants
  • Maintain and develop trails and boardwalks to prevent damage to habitats
  • Monitor and clean-up sites
  • Help develop management plans for selected natural areas
  • Help to monitor populations of rare plant or animal species
  • Identify needs for long-term protection and assess threats
  • Use GPS and GIS to locate rare plants and trails or other landscape features and update maps
  • Update plant and animal databases

Develop a special project:

  • Work with natural areas staff to develop a management plan for a campus natural area. 
  • Identify needs for immediate and long-term site protection and assess threats to our conservation efforts.
  • Begin implementation of your management plan, and when appropriate, organize and supervise group projects to do so.
  • Document your management plan. 

Management plans may include:

  • Invasive species control
  • Identify invasive species and their effects on other vegetation
  • Investigate invasive species control methods and plan treatments
  • Use GPS and GIS to monitor invasive plant populations and effects of treatments
  • Set up exclosures to protect plants from herbivory
  • Reintroduction of native plants
  • Collect seeds to propagate plants for restoration projects
  • Prepare areas for planting and plant native species
  • Use GPS and GIS to locate rare plants.
  • Inventories
  • Inventory or monitor plant or animal species


  • Ability to commit to the entire internship period,
  • Must be a currently enrolled or accepted Cornell University student
  • Experience with plant identification is very helpful
  • Willingness to work outdoors under field conditions
  • Ability and willingness to do repetitive tasks
  • Ability to work alone and be self-directed, as necessary, in remote settings
  • Participation in group student activities and field trips, as scheduled
  • Ability to alternate between independent and group work
  • Must be able to lift 50 pounds
  • Learn to follow proper safety protocol
  • A valid drivers license and 2-3 years driving experience preferred though not mandatory

This is a full-time, 12 week internship. Typical work hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.