The 2021 Young Naturalists Program is no longer accepting applications. Check back in April of 2022 for more information about next year's program!

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.  

Want to learn more?

We'll be hosting a Virtual Information Session for interested students on Thursday April 29th from 4:00-5:30pm. At this session, we'll share some information about the Young Naturalists program and create a space for interested students to ask both the program instructors and alumni questions about the internship.

A group of people putting a stake into the ground at Frick Environmental Center

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 

MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM

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. 

IMPORTANT DATES FOR 2021:

The Young Naturalists Summer Interns will meet 4 days a week, July 6th – August 5th. 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 2021 Young Naturalists to meet in person (outdoors only) 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. 

Take a look at the slideshow to the right to see examples of work completed during 2020's remote internship program!

PROGRAM TIMELINE

APRIL 29 | Virtual information session for interested students to learn more about the internship program

MAY 13 | Applications due 

MAY 17 - JUNE 4 | Interviews with students and a parent/guardian 

JULY 1 | Program orientation (5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) 

JULY 6 | First Day in Frick Park 

JULY 7 - JULY 9 | Overnight team-building retreat in Laurel Highlands 

JULY 13 – AUG 5 | Research & restoration in Frick Park (Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Time subject to change) 

Person measuring garden walls

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!