Barbara Heskins Davis, PP, AICP, Vice President of Programs at The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, visited the Bloustein School early in the semester to begin a conversation with graduate students about how interns play an integral role in the projects and programs the fifteen person office is proud to put forth. Some of these tasks include hands on projects like trailblazing, property inspections, maintaining preserves, and town or city wide tree inventories.
The Land Conservancy of New Jersey preserves land and water resources, conserves open space, and inspires and empowers individuals and communities to protect our natural land and environment. It offers experience for interns in planning, grant writing, stewardship, engagement, land negotiation, and contract review. These municipal services are not what you’d typically expect to learn about from a Land Trust, so interns have unique opportunities at The Land Conservancy. Interns may also get the chance to strengthen their communication skills by putting together maps or fact sheets for community engagement purposes.
Land Conservancy internships involve many skills, including planning (writing, technical research, data analysis, and mapping), GIS, stewardship (restoration projects, monitoring preserved properties, maintenance of protected areas), communications, and an enthusiasm for the outdoors. Internships are paid, available immediately and continue through the school year, up to 20 hours per week with flexible start and end dates are flexible. The organization also offers a Scholarship Program for two students in New Jersey every year for $7,500 each.
A 19-year veteran of The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, Barbara’s advice to students interested in applying for an internship or job in the area of land and environmental management in New Jersey is to include a map with a writing sample, take the AICP test as soon as possible, learn how to listen to your client, learn about Sustainable Jersey, and be comfortable asking the primary source data collector how to interpret their data. She also recommended that students take advantage of classes and studios to learn how to become comfortable presenting and communicating their work.
Following the event many students had the opportunity to meet with Ms. Davis one-on-one, remarking that her visit not only opened up their eyes to the many skills that an intern at the Land Conservancy can gain, but also noting that her advice is applicable to many areas of their education and professional lives. Students interested in internship and employment opportunities were also invited to reach out to Ms. Davis with specific questions and materials.