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Natural Resource Social Science Internship

Sierra Institute for Community and Environmen
Job Field:
Water and Soil Resources
Job Type:
Seasonal, Temporary, Internship
Location Detail:
Job Description:

The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment is looking for a motivated individual to fill the position of a Natural Resources Social Science Intern. This person will work at the intersection of community and natural resources on collaborative forest and watershed restoration and rural community development through small-diameter wood utilization. Work will include both applied research and capacity-building work to promote resilient forest ecosystems and rural communities. Travel to rural communities throughout the state to conduct related work and research may be required. The duration of the position is six months, with the possibility of extension. Position is open until filled, though review of applications will begin on July 24, 2017. 
   Job Duties 
   Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI): 20% 
   The RCDI program builds the capacity of recipient organizations based in rural, economically disadvantaged communities striving to develop sustainable wood utilization projects. Intern will learn about these initiatives as s/he conducts wood industry-related research and/or literature reviews, takes notes during meetings/calls, supports workshop coordination, and performs other duties as assigned. 
   Sierra to California All-Lands Enhancement (SCALE) Project: 45% 
   SCALE is the mechanism for collaboration between forest collaboratives in California. These groups are united in their purpose to advance landscape scale, often times multijurisdictional, forest restoration while improving local socioeconomic conditions. SCALE identifies and addresses shared barriers to success among these groups. Intern duties related to this project will include forest and watershed management research, collaborative forestry policy analysis, interview assistance, and extensive meeting coordination support. Specific initiatives the intern will be expected to work on include: (1) research and comparative analysis of state-federal forest restoration programs; (2) a comprehensive annual report documenting accomplishments of forest collaboratives in California; and (3) a SCALE communications strategy and online information sharing. 
   Disadvantaged Community Involvement (DACI) Program: 25% 
   Sierra Institute administers a variety of other social science programs, including the Mountain Counties Funding Area (MCFA) DACI Program. This work includes identification, outreach, and engagement of disadvantaged communities for inclusion in Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) activities; hosting community capacity and needs assessments workshops throughout the MCFA; and facilitating workshops to share lessons learned across the region. The selected applicant will have the opportunity to learn about these initiatives by participating and assisting in their development. 
   Other Social Science and Organizational Support: 10% 
   Sierra Institute administers a variety of other programs, including natural resource education, a summer youth program, and a number of socio-economic research initiatives. The intern will be expected to contribute to the overall organizational success in addition to assigned projects – this may include participating on field trips with youth or answering calls in the main office. In addition, the intern will be expected to work with staff to pursue opportunities to engage in community activities (i.e., helping with community events, attending community meetings, hosting extra-curricular activities for youth) that contribute to the social fabric of our small, rural community.


   • An undergraduate or advanced degree in the social sciences, natural resources or related field; 
   • Excellent written and oral communication skills; 
   • Experience with qualitative and quantitative social science research methods; 
   • Understanding of land management policies, and natural resource issues such as wildfire, forestry, and ecological restoration; 
   • Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel); 
   • A willingness to work and live in a mountainous area that historically receives snow and ice in winter months; 
   • A team-oriented perspective with a productive level of self-guidance and initiative; 
   • An ability to bring critical thinking skills, creativity, and laughter to the work place; 
   • A personal vehicle for transportation outside of work; 
   • Experience living and/or working in a rural setting and a strong desire to learn about rural issues. 
   • Demonstrated knowledge of collaborative resource management and community involvement 
   • Proficiency with Adobe Creative Suite or other graphic design software; 
   • Experience with event coordination, online surveys, webinars, website management, and/or utilizing other computer software programs; 
   • Experience using ESRI ArcGIS.


 About the Sierra Institute 
   The Sierra Institute promotes healthy forests, watersheds, and communities by investing in the well-being of rural communities and strengthening their participation in natural resource management. Our work is grounded by the concept of triple bottom line values, supporting initiatives that simultaneously benefit the environment, economy, and equity within a given landscape. 
   Sierra Institute is located in Taylorsville, CA (population 154), and lies within an area referred to as “Indian Valley” that includes the communities of Greenville and Crescent Mills. Indian Valley offers uniquely rural community events and is surrounded by many outdoor recreation opportunities such as hiking, biking, and climbing within its surrounding public lands including Plumas National Forest, Lassen National Forest, and Lassen Volcanic National Park. 

The intern will receive a stipend of approximately $1,200/month, plus shared housing, with the option to receive health insurance benefits after three months. The Sierra Institute will provide fully furnished, utilities-paid accommodation within walking distance of the Sierra Institute office
How to Apply:

Please send your resume, cover letter, and contact information for three references as one pdf to with “Natural Resource Social Science Internship” in the subject line. Please include where you heard about the job in the text of the email (please be as specific as possible). Position is open until filled, though review of applications will begin on July 24, 2017. Please call 530.284.1022 if you have questions.