2023 Environmental Internship Opportunity: Forest Conservation in New Hampshire

This internship can be defined in terms of the intern’s interests and skills as well as the needs of the project.  It will be appropriate for the intern to spend some time at the project site, and some or most work can be done from a location of the intern’s choosing.  The project sponsor will assist with housing.  The intern will need to have her/his own transportation.


Early in 2022 a small group (three families) purchased about 200 acres of mostly mature forest in southwest New Hampshire (Richmond, about 1.5 hours east of Williams) from Yale University with the intention of conserving it in a forever-wild state.  The property shares a border of approximately one mile with an established conservation area, the Quint Preserve, some 300+ acres of forest owned by New Hampshire’s largest land trust, the Society for the Preservation of New Hampshire Forests, and managed under a somewhat different conservation plan that includes forestry.  Together these two areas comprise close to a square mile of conserved land.

The intention of the current owners is to find a suitable non-profit organization such as a land trust, to create a conservation easement (a legal, unchangeable, and perpetual protection on the property) acceptable to that organization, and to donate the property to it.  Although there are several land trusts and other plausible non-profits in the region this has been challenging in large part because most conservation organizations practice timber harvesting as a source of income, and it will not be permitted in this case.

Possibilities for the basis of an internship include the following:

*A forest inventory that will provide a detailed description of the area’s biota including tree species with age estimates as well as plants, birds, etc.  This will be useful in presenting the possibility of the land’s donation to a conservation organization.  It is likely that the resources of an organization such as Williams’ Center for Environmental Studies or the Harvard Forest (a world-class research facility within 30 minutes of the site) will be useful in this regard.

*Land use history of the property which includes at least one cellar hole that suggests a substantial farm in earlier times.

*A search for an appropriate and willing recipient organization.  This would involve identifying potential recipients and, in coordination with the owners, reaching out to them to explore the possibility of the donation.  Recipients can include any reasonable non-profit organization (including educational groups such as colleges and environmental centers).

*Development of a model conservation easement  to be used in negotiation with the organization to which the land will be donated.  These legal documents are one of the most widely utilized conservation tools.  A basic understanding of conservation easements is key to many conservation jobs.

*An examination of the impact of this and other conserved lands on the town in which they are found, Richmond, NH.  Richmond is a relatively remote and rural town with a population of less than 2000.  It has a town hall, library and volunteer fire department, but no store, post office, public school, places of employment, or police force of its own.  It would be helpful if this project’s benefits to the Town were identified and described.

*Other possibilities may occur to potential interns and you are encouraged to communicate with me to explore them as well as to learn more about housing possibilities.

Shaun Bennett ’65, PhD

267 971 6587

[email protected]

435 W. Johnson St.

Philadelphia, PA 19144