Restoration Intern | Sonoma Ecology Center

Since 1990, we have worked with landowners, volunteers, and other nonprofit and government agencies on projects that restore, protect, and preserve the Sonoma Valley Watershed.  We have developed a deep understanding of the Valley, its ecology, and its residents’ concerns.  With expertise in native plants and wildlife, invasive species eradication, creek restoration, and with grant funding and donations, we can perform ecological restoration and research throughout the Sonoma Valley Watershed.

The Restoration Intern will conduct various restoration-related activities, centered on reaching long-term goals in riparian rehabilitation, native plant restoration, and invasive species control.  Interns work side-by-side with our Restoration staff, who have extensive experience in vegetation management and other land management practices, such as fire ecology, and wildland firefighting.

This internship is ideal for acquiring practical career experience in conservation, natural resource management, land stewardship, or ecological studies, and is particularly well suited to prepare participants for graduate school or work in conservation or natural resource management.


Training and Focus:

The Restoration Intern will gain skills in the field such as plant identification, biological monitoring, fire ecology, fuel reductions, and various land management practices. Interns will also learn best practices in using both hand and power tools.  Additionally, you will gain experience in GPS & GIS applications, survey protocols, and research methodology.

The focus of this internship is to gain technical restoration skills, which includes native plant management (40%), invasive species removal (40%), and other tasks as assigned (20%). Final intern duration and hours is to be determined. It offers school units/credits only – three units minimum, six units maximum.


Activities Include (but are not limited too):

  • Invasive plant removal: mechanically & manually
  • Native plant installation and landscaping
  • Mulching, caging, and other weed control measures
  • Supporting community workdays and volunteer events
  • Seed collecting, propagation, transplanting, care, inventory
  • Installing and maintaining irrigation systems
  • Erosion control: waddles, fabric, masonry
  • Rare plant monitoring
  • Stream debris removal
  • Engaging with the local community


Position Requirements:

Hiking, physically demanding tasks, outdoors on rugged terrain in variable conditions throughout the seasons including hot weather and prolonged sun exposure, cold weather and rain.

Work is performed mostly in the field with limited time in the office. Fieldwork includes bending, stooping, kneeling, reaching, climbing, crawling, wading or standing in water, and standing for long periods.  The candidate must be able to safely lift, carry, push, pull, up to 60 lbs.  One will be exposed to inclement weather, including heat, exposure to the sun, high winds, rain, and cold. Office work includes the use of a computer, phone, copier, and may sit for long periods. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and safety measures are mandatory.

Must have valid driver’s license, current personal auto insurance, a working vehicle, cell phone, and must be able to lift and carry 60 lbs safely. Over 60 lbs requires a safe two person lift.  Other, but not limited to, physical requirements, are listed below.  The intern is expected to wear protective gear and suitable footwear. Periodic weekend work is required; you must be able to commit, in advance, to certain weekend days.

Candidates should be eager for new learning opportunities and willing to practice new skills in a team and independently. Intern must be a respectful, enthusiastic, flexible, self-motivated, team player, and able to work without direct supervision at times.


Desired Qualifications:

Excellent organizational skills, communication skills, and the ability to multi-task; prior experience in land management or landscaping; plant identification skills; experience with power and hand tools; experience working with volunteers or comfort working with the public; interest in the mission of the Sonoma Ecology Center, 2+ years of undergraduate coursework.


How to Apply

To apply, please submit a letter of interest and your resume, preferably in a PDF document, to, adding Restoration Intern in the subject line. Please, no phone calls.

The cover letter should outline what you would hope to gain from the position, how your prior work experience has prepared you for this internship, your relevant coursework, and why you feel that you are an ideal candidate. 

After consideration, we will reach out to you to see if you can perform the required amount of hours to meet your school credit requirements.  Then, you will submit all of the necessary school documentation, such as the school internship application, the instructor’s pre-approved learning goals, and an internship agreement.