The number of potential sustainability internships and volunteer opportunities is limitless. This is a very volunteer-centric field, attracting a host of community-minded individuals. The environmental sustainability industry has little trouble finding volunteers and interns, therefore there are many opportunities. As a volunteer or intern, you will gain hands-on experience and learn lessons that you would never get in the classroom. With an environmental internship you will learn from experienced professionals while contributing to the environmental well-being of the community in which you serve. This experience will give you a well-rounded, solid education, and it will be invaluable when you search for an environmental career.
One of the main lessons of sustainability is localism. That is, utilizing as many local entities as possible, such as eating locally, working locally, etc., so you have as little negative effect on the world as possible. Using this train of thought, first check for local internships and volunteer opportunities in your area. Contact your city officials, county health department, and any green-oriented businesses. They may be able to find you a local sustainability internship or volunteer opportunity quickly and easily.
Sustainability internships and volunteer opportunities
There are a variety of environmental internships available throughout the country. Some internships are paid positions, and some are considered volunteer programs. Either way, they should both count toward credit hours at your school. The first step is to contact your respective college or university and learn about the internships they have available. Then utilize these resources to find other opportunities.
Environmental Leadership Program: A non-profit organization that focuses on training, mentoring and fellowships.
Green Corps: A non-profit group that offers one-year, full-time paid positions to train people in grassroots environmental organizing and sustainability.
The National Council for Science and the Environment: A national organization that offers 3-month and 6-month internships with a paid stipend.
Student Conservation Association: A non-profit group that offers conservation internships in all 50 states.
Sustainable Living Farm Jobs: A small group of farmers that seek individuals for seasonal farm work to learn sustainable farming and ecology.
Wind Power and Sustainable Living: A sustainability internship program teaching sustainable design and wind power generation.
Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture: A farming and agriculture based internship program.
The Food Project List: An environmental internship focusing on renewable agriculture, especially for third-world areas.
The Attra List: Internships in the organic agriculture field.
Nofa List: A Massachusetts-based program for sustainable organic agriculture.
Canadian Internships: A list of Canadian internships for sustainability and soil preservation.
When you undertake a sustainability internship or volunteer opportunity, you'll get hands-on, real-world training from professionals in the industry. The experience you gain will translate to a more well-rounded education and aid in your overall career pursuits.