Hannah INHF intern at Quigley-Slattery Heritage Prairie

Statewide Land Stewardship internship

Help restore Iowa's natural beauty while learning about land restoration, ecology and wildlife.

Job description

INHF statewide land stewardship interns work hard to maintain and restore native Iowa landscapes for 12 weeks each summer. Interns help manage more than 20 different sites throughout the state, camping each week in state/county parks and public natural areas. These interns conduct land management and restoration on prairies, wetlands, woodlands and savannas on natural areas owned or protected by INHF. Interns will also assist with equipment maintenance when necessary (training provided). 

Students selected for INHF's land stewardship program will work closely with private landowners, Iowa conservation organizations (both government and independent) and other conservation professionals. Participation in the annual Loess Hills Prairie Seminar and biannual Iowa Prairie Conference will expose interns to conservationists and organizations in a concentrated setting. The program will give interns the opportunity to learn vital skills and gain experience for a career in conservation or land management.

Work examples

Interns will gain knowledge and experience in oak savanna, woodland and prairie restoration, invasive species control and removal, shrub removal, prairie planting, prairie seed harvest and coordination with landowners and Iowa conservation organizations at sites across the entire state.

Safety is of the utmost importance to INHF and our land internship program. We will focus on teaching and training our interns to work in a safe and effective manner. Each intern will receive individual and group training in the areas of chainsaw/brush saw operation, UTV operation, herbicide application, first aid and CPR and workplace harassment prevention.


INHF land stewardship interns will have a sincere passion for conservation in Iowa, possess a true willingness to learn and enjoy working in a fun, hardworking environment. This internship is physically demanding and requires fit, motivated individuals. It provides excellent hands-on experience in the field of natural land management and restoration. Interns will work very hard in all kinds of weather, and will gain invaluable field experience and knowledge about ecological restoration. 

Driving to various work sites is required, so interns must have a working car or be able to coordinate a carpooling arrangement.

College students of any age, even freshmen, are eligible for this internship. Conservation and equipment operation experience is a plus, but enjoying demanding, outdoor work is crucial. Past interns have included animal ecology, botany, forestry, biology, environmental policy or environmental science majors, among other majors. This particular internship requires someone willing to work hard outdoors in all conditions (especially summer heat).


INHF selects eight to 10 full-time interns each summer, who work together as a crew. These interns work 40 hours/week (Monday through Thursday, 10 hours/day). Travel and tent camping at parks near the work sites is required. (Campsites will always have reasonable amenities, including showers and flush toilets.)

Application information

To apply, please send the following:

  • A cover letter outlining your qualifications and why you want this position
  • Resume
  • Your college transcripts (unofficial)
  • Two letters of recommendation, with at least one being written by a professor in your major. The letters may be included in your application or sent separately by the writer. Include reference contact information.

Mail or email your application to the address below. Feel free to call or email in advance if you have questions.

Melanie Louis, Land Stewardship Associate
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
505 Fifth Avenue, Suite 444
Des Moines, IA 50309-2321

Phone: 515-288-1846, ext. 35
Fax: 515-288-0137
e-mail: mlouis@inhf.org