Habitat Restoration Internship Program

Photo: Camilla Cerea / Audubon

For over a decade, Audubon Great Lakes has trained young adults for careers in conservation through our Habitat Restoration Internship program. Annually, Audubon hires, trains, and supervises restoration interns, who work in small crews of on lands managed by the Forest Preserves of Cook County and Chicago Park District, respectively.

Habitat Restoration Internships are 20-24 week programs, full-time, 40 hour/week positions with competitive hourly salary and do not require previous experience in restoration. Interns are expected to complete necessary trainings and certifications in order to remove invasive vegetation, collect and distribute seeds, plant shrubs, trees, and plugs, and participate in prescribed burns. Certifications include:

  • IL Deptartment of Agriculture Herbicide Applicator License
  • Brushcutter/Chainsaw Feller 1
  • Chicago Wilderness Midwest Ecological Prescription Burn Training
  • Brushpile Burn Boss & Building
  • First Aid/AED/CPR
  • Work Day Leader Courses (Group Leadership, Managing Invasives, Practical Herbicide)

The internships also provide job-skill training and project management skills as the interns will attend and participate in community stewardship and volunteer work days, professional conference(s), field workshops with partnering organizations, and work alongside a growing network of conservation and habitat restoration professionals.

An Audubon Restoration Internship is highly coveted, with nearly 70% of our interns since 2014 moving into jobs in the conservation field immediately following their time at Audubon.

Local conservation organizations and companies that have hired Audubon Alumni include:

  • Forest Preserves of Cook County
  • Lake County Forest Preserves
  • Chicago Park District
  • National Park Service
  • Citizens for Conservation
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Openlands
  • Friends of the Forest Preserves
  • The Morton Arboretum
  • Pizzo & Associates
  • Stantec Consulting
  • Applied Ecological Services
  • Davey Tree Expert Company
  • McGinty Bros., Inc.

The internships are available through Audubon's Wings internship program and post to the Audubon Career Portal in Mid-March.

For additional information on the Habitat Restoration Internships contact:

Teri Valenzuela, Stewardship Coordinator at  

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