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Natural Areas Research

The Natural Areas Research Internship position will provide an introduction to methods of assessing condition of and changes in vegetation in natural areas.  Previous experience with vegetation or other ecological sampling methods will be helpful. Printable job description.

Sampling techniques allow natural areas managers to:

  • monitor rare or declining species. 
  • document changes over time.
  • evaluate the effectiveness of invasive species control.

Plantations Natural Areas Program manages over 30 Cornell-owned nature preserves both on- and off-campus, totaling about 4,300 acres. These natural areas are biologically diverse, and include examples of most of the ecological communities or habitats found in the region.  Several of the sites are important for the protection of rare species.  

As an intern you will work closely with the Natural Areas staff on a variety of tasks such as

  • vegetation sampling,
  • rare plant monitoring and protection, 
  • trail maintenance and 
  • invasive species control.  

Plant identification is basic to much of this work and frequent opportunities to improve your skills will be presented.  

Your own special project is a possible part of the internship.


  • 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 in variable weather and field conditions
  • Ability and willingness to do repetitive tasks
  • Ability to work alone and be self-directed, if 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, summer-long internship. Typical work hours are Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.