by Allison Ledwon
It’s that time of the year again. That time of year where it seems like everyone from your advisor to your Facebook-savvy Aunt Susan wants to know your plans for summer. It’s hard to think about June when the cold freezes your week three tears as they run down your face, but they’re right. It is the prime time to search and apply for summer internships. If you want to make an environmental impact, but don’t know where to start, this article will make the process a little less horrific.
Want to let your inner child run wild this summer, but still feel like you’re making an impact? Education internships might be for you. Usually, education jobs and internships involve hanging out with a group of kids all day and teaching them about nature, conservation and animals. Basically, it’s like going back to your grammar school days and showing off all that you know about the environment or more specific topics. Wait, you didn’t do that? Are you sure? Well then, it’s not too late to have your own experience with environmental education. Here are some ideas:
- -Usually, larger zoos, aquariums or museums have a summer camp or programs for kids who want to learn about nature, animals, conservation and other topics. As a counselor or teacher, you get to do all the teaching. Plus you get to spend every day at a cool institution and see what they have to offer.
- -You can be a counselor at a nature sleepaway camp. You spend every day immersed in the great outdoors, doing fun activities with your campers. You can share your love for the environment by showing them all the amazing wildlife in your area.
You’re influencing the next generation to love and appreciate the environment. Look at you. We’re #proudparents.
So you like the idea of informing the public but spending eight hours a day exclusively with a group of 7-year-olds sounds like a nightmare? I’ve got your back. There are plenty of opportunities to help people learn in smaller doses.
- -At any of the institutions previously mentioned, there are usually opportunities for internships as tour guides or docents, which are people who give out information about what you are looking at in the specific area. (If you have ever been to a zoo or a museum and someone is holding a skull or other specimen to tell you about it, that is usually a docent.) Similarly, you could also work with local national parks.
- -Various nature groups and organizations have outreach programs, which involve promoting their message at libraries or other venues to share their message, with the goal of educating and engaging the public.
When you connect people with nature and information, they have a better understanding of why it’s so important to be environmentally conscious. When people are aware, they are more likely to care and take action. It’s a step in the right direction, and you’re a part of it.
Are you a pro with all things techy but have a love for all things environmental? Then this type of internship is for you.
- -Environmental agencies and organizations are filled with brilliant people, but sometimes those brilliant people still don’t understand how to connect their laptop to the projector. That’s where you come in. You could work as an informational technology intern in their IT department. In addition to basic IT work, you could possibly be a part of data processing for the organization’s findings.
- -Social media and online presence have become a major parts of spreading your message and ideas throughout the world. Many environmental groups have realized this and are looking for interns to help maintain websites, Facebook accounts and Twitter accounts along with other online projects. You would be a part of connecting the general public with information.
Tech internships allow you to do what you’d be doing all summer anyway: perusing the Internet all day. But this is more impactful and gets you out of your pajamas every day.
Is changing the world more your forte? An environmental policy internship should be straight up your alley.
- -Intern with a governmental office on a local, state, or even national level to do some real work toward change. If you’re really ambitious (which you definitely are since you attend NU) you can apply to work with the White House Council on Environmental Quality http://environmentalinterns.ncseonline.org/display/internship/915.
- -You could also work with private organizations involved with green policy or have campaigns for change, like the Sierra Club, an organization that works to protect green spaces. http://environmentalinterns.ncseonline.org/display/internship/178
There seems to be an organization that works with governmental policy for everything from ocean preservation to sustainable agricultural practices. You can really be a part of something that could change the world.
Any of these sound cool? Hit up http://environmentalinterns.ncseonline.org/list/internships for more specific internships in your area.