WHO ARE YOUNG NATURALISTS? WORK, LEARN, AND EXPLORE IN THE PARKS

Young Naturalists are high school students who want to learn more about nature and love spending time outdoors. They accept the challenge to work hard in conditions that are at times harsh and physically demanding to improve the health of the park. Young Naturalists are also interested in pursuing a degree or career related to environmental science, ecology, education, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) or sustainability.

The Young Naturalists program is a fun, paid opportunity for students to get outdoors and learn about the environment, gain unique work and leadership experience, and meet other teenagers who are interested in the environment. Students spend their summer outdoors learning about plants and animals alongside expert naturalists while working to improve the health of our parks by controlling erosion, managing and monitoring invasive species, repairing trails, and caring for trees.  

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WHO SHOULD APPLY?

  • Students who have completed their 9th grade year of high school through graduating seniors  

  • Students who want to learn more about nature and enjoy spending time outdoors  

  • Students who demonstrate commitment, drive, reliability, and interest in the environment  

  • Students who are willing to do physically demanding work outdoors in varying weather  

  • Students who are interested in pursuing a degree, career, or hobby related to environmental science, ecology, outdoor recreation, conservation, or sustainability 

INTERESTED IN APPLYING?

VIRTUAL INFORMATION SESSION

Intrigued by the program and want to learn more? We are hosting a Virtual Information Session for interested students on Thursday, April 28 from 4:00-5:30 P.M. At this session, we’ll share information about the Young Naturalists program and create space to ask program instructors and alumni questions about the internship. Click here to register!

APPLYING TO THE PROGRAM

To apply and be considered for the Young Naturalists summer internship, fill out the application here. In the application, we ask you to write four short essays to help us get to know you. The questions are outlined below:

  • In 300 words or less, why are you interested in participating in Young Naturalists?
  • Young Naturalists focuses on environmental science (animals, plants, ecology, etc.). In 300 words or less, what do you think is the most critical environmental issue you will face in your lifetime? Why?
  • In 150 words or less, what are your future education and/or career goals?
  • In 150 words or less, how do you spend your free time? Do you have any hobbies or are you involved in any other organizations related to environmental science

PAY, GEAR, AND IMPORTANT DATES

Participants are paid a $800 stipend over the five-week program. During this period, they attend a three-day, two-night retreat in the Laurel Highlands while working four days a week for the duration of their program. Students also receive a raincoat, t-shirts, water bottle, work boots, bus passes, and tuition. Additional paid and volunteer opportunities with our education team are available for students who complete the program.

The Young Naturalists Summer Interns will meet 4 days a week, Tuesday through Friday, June 21-July 22. Students accepted into the program must be available for all dates.

COVID AND YOUNG NATURALISTS

As with everything in life, Young Naturalists will be impacted by COVID-19. We cannot predict the future, but we are planning for the 2022 Young Naturalists to meet  outdoors in person as much as possible this summer. Young Naturalists and staff will be asked to commit to following safety protocols at all times. These will include properly wearing face masks (we can provide if you don’t have them), maintaining physical distance, regular handwashing, and other safety and sanitation procedures. Some portions of the program may take place remotely over Zoom if there are significant rises in infection rates. 

PROGRAM TIMELINE

MAY 10 | Applications due 

MAY 9 - MAY 20 | Interviews with students and a parent/guardian 

JUNE 16 | Program orientation (5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) 

JUNE 21 | First Day in Frick Park 

JUNE 22 - JUNE 24 | Overnight team-building retreat in Laurel Highlands 

JUNE 27 – JULY 22 | Research & restoration in Frick Park (Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Time subject to change)

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YOUNG NATURALISTS ARE MAKING A BIG DIFFERENCE

These young learners bring energy, excitement, and determination in working to better Pittsburgh's park system each and every year through annual stewardship projects!