Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center

The Farmscape Ecology Program is dedicated to exploring the human and natural dimensions of the landscape of Columbia County, NY through research and outreach.  Our interdisciplinary research focuses on historical, current and potential future interactions of people with the land.  The Program is part of Hawthorne Valley Association, an educational non-profit, located in the center of Columbia County, and is comprised of wildlife ecologist Conrad Vispo, botanist Claudia Knab-Vispo, social scientist Anna Duhon, and technician Dylan Cipkowski.

This summer, we are looking for an intern to assist with several projects related to applied farmscape ecology. This includes research into the relationships between natural habitats on and surrounding farms, the pollinators and beneficial insects present on farms, and the ecological services provided to the farmer by native biodiversity. It also includes the implementation of on-farm habitat improvements designed to support pollinators and beneficial insects.

The minimum duration of an internship is 10 weeks with a flexible starting date. We would also be glad to discuss possibilities to extend the full-time internship during the summer months into a part-time internship while school is in session, including possibilities to develop an independent study.

Internship Activities: The intern will assist our research team in field inventories of flowering plants and insects on a variety of farms in the mid Hudson Valley. During rainy days, there will be data entry and insect sorting. The intern will also be part of a team of staff and volunteers dedicated to establishing new plantings of native wildflowers and flowering shrubs around the vegetable fields at Hawthorne Valley Farm (we propagate many of our plants from seeds collected on site), improving the habitat value of existing natural areas, such as hedgerows, by removing invasive species and planting natives, and monitoring the impact of these habitat improvements on the pollinators and beneficial insects.

Qualifications: We are looking for a candidate with an affinity for plants and a curiosity about insects, with a keen interest in exploring how nature and agriculture can support each other. Some plant identification skills and some gardening experience are a plus but not required. The candidate should be eager to learn field botany and to become familiar with the groups of pollinators and beneficial insects found on our farms, be comfortable in a rural environment, enjoy physical activity, yet be patient and diligent when careful observation is required, and thrive out-doors even when the going gets rough (think 90 degree days in the middle of a large farm field without shade). Given the work environment, it is important that the candidate is sociable and happy around dogs, able to interact with a diverse range of people of all ages, self-motivated and can work independently with attention to detail. Most importantly, we are looking for people who are eager to learn and willing to ask questions.

We expect the candidates to have basic computer skills (Word, Excel). Experience with GIS software and social media would be a plus.

General Arrangements

Location & Hours: The internship is based at Hawthorne Valley Farm, a 800-acre organic and biodynamic diversified farm located in the heart of Columbia County, NY, in the southeastern corner of Ghent. Interns will be expected to work at least five days per week. Occasional weekend and after-hours work might be requested, but the basic internship is organized around a 40-hour work week.

Compensation: The internship is not paid, but we can offer free on-farm housing in a 3-bedroom apartment shared with two other people. Interns also qualify for 10% discount in the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store and are eligible to glean produce from the fields.

Application Process: Please send a CV including contact information for three references along with a cover letter explaining your interest in the internship to [email protected] or to FEP, 1075 Harlemville Road, Ghent NY 12075. Potentially suitable applicants will be interviewed by phone, and typically a personal visit to the Farm is requested before we make a final commitment.

We hope to fill this position as soon as possible and urge you to apply quickly. Please don’t hesitate to call Claudia at (518) 672-7994 or email if you think you might be interested in applying, but have questions.