Two-week Internship offered through the Center for Environmental Studies, Williams College
Spring Green Zen Dojo, Spring Green, Wisconsin
August 15 – 29, 2021
Spring Green Zen Dojo was founded in 2006 on 109 acres of meadows and hardwood forests in the Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin. Our forest is deciduous, containing species that migrated here after the fires that kept this entire area as an oak savanna were suppressed in the mid-1800s. To date, we have managed the 80 acres of woods primarily for lumber for our building construction and for our own firewood supply. We would now like to shift to a management focus on maximizing carbon sequestration and retention. Our intention is that the Dojo remains surrounded by a sustainable and ecologically rich forest for many generations to come.
Position Description and Expectations
There has been a growing focus on the use of forests to mitigate the growth of CO2 in the atmosphere. The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science has created a “climate change response framework” that seems promising as a set of management guidelines for small forest holdings. The intern(s) selected for this position would be responsible for evaluating the suitability of such a framework to this particular forest. This would entail becoming familiar with both the literature and the forest and our practices to date. Indoor/ outdoor time would be split roughly 50/50.
Our expectation is that an analysis of practices relevant to these woods will be written no later than December 2021.
We encourage at least two people to apply for an internship, fostering the opportunity for robust discussion of ideas and impressions.
Our terrain is hilly, so to understand the forest we need to get up hill and down. Those with disabilities might find hiking difficult, so applicants can assume that adaptations will be made as necessary. Interns should have some familiarity with tree species identification, or a willingness to learn the basics. Beyond these, we expect an ability to analyze published literature and to write clear prose.
Location and Transportation
Our forest is located one hour’s drive west of Madison, Wisconsin. The nearest town is Spring Green, about 8 miles away. It has a population of around 1500 people, and has a grocery, banks, post office, a general store and an outstanding bookstore. This area is well-loved by cyclists – smooth and rolling roads with little traffic. The Wisconsin river is about 4 miles away, with good opportunities for swimming, fishing and canoeing. Also nearby is the American Players Theater, a renowned company performing Shakespeare and other classics of theater (depending on progress with fundraising and Covid-19 immunizations for their audience). In addition, we plan a visit to the Menominee Forest, a massive sustainable climax forest on the lands of the Menominee tribe in northern Wisconsin.
If the interns do not have a car, we can provide transportation to and from Madison upon arrival and departure. We also have one mountain bike available for use.
Lodging is in a bunkhouse with electricity and stairs but no plumbing. An outhouse is located about 100 yards away. Cots are provided. Hearty meals will be eaten with my wife and myself. The menu is primarily vegetarian but not strictly so. My wife and I do Zen meditation twice a day, early morning and early evening, and we are happy to provide instruction for those interested. Because of the terrain, many cell phones don’t receive service here but we maintain a landline for use in emergencies. We have satellite internet and carefully manage data usage (e.g., no streaming allowed).
Gordon Greene, ‘72
Head Priest, Chosei Zen, Madison Wisconsin
Clinical Professor of Family Medicine, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
PhD in Physical Geography (energy balance climatology), University of Michigan
Email: [email protected]
Covid – 19 information
This area of Wisconsin (Iowa County) has not been a virus hot bed but there have been cases and deaths. To date, both personally and as a religious organization, we have been continually following expert guidance from a network of physicians as well as analysts at the Center for Disease Control. One constraint on this offer of an internship is that any student, and my wife and myself, must have received proper immunization by August 1, 2021. In-person Zen training is not being resumed until Fall, 2021, meaning no one other than my wife and myself will be living onsite during the internship.