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May 3 / BARD CEP

Sustainable Communities Summer Internship- Montpelier, VT

Organization: Vermont Natural Resources Council

Job Title: Sustainable Communities Program Summer Intern

Location: primarily Montpelier, VT

Hours and Compensation: unpaid

Position Dates: summer 2012, star and end dates are flexible

Application Deadline: applications reviewed on a rolling basis

Posted on: Apr 29


Organization Overview

Founded in 1963, the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) is Vermont’s oldest conservation organization. With the support of nearly 5,000 members and activists, VNRC has worked to protect, restore and promote Vermont’s surface and ground waters, viable communities, forest and wildlife resources, working landscape, and energy independence.

VNRC has four program areas: Energy and Climate Action, Forests and Wildlife, Sustainable Communities, and Water. The projects listed below are being overseen by VNRC’s Sustainable Communities program, but the four programs work closely together.



VNRC interns are a valuable part of the VNRC team. Interns gain experience specific to the program area under which he or she works and also gets insight into the various aspects, key players and processes of Vermont’s environmental movement.


There are two project possibilities for this internship, though Project 1 is the priority:

Project 1: Research support for regional sustainability planning

Earlier this year, the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission and the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission received a Sustainable Communities Planning Grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. With this grant, they have formed a consortium to develop, over the next three years, the East Central Vermont Regional Plan for Sustainable Development. VNRC is providing technical support to the consortium on one slice of the project, a task called “Development review as if the environment matters.”

The intern will contribute to this project by drafting an annotated bibliography that includes information about “how and why” to achieve certain environmental protections. Topics include things like protection of surface and groundwater, minimization of loss/fragmentation of farms and forestland, reduction of energy used or greenhouse gasses emitted, increase in land developed/redeveloped at a more dense scale, etc.

The bibliography will include references for each topic, but will also discuss the importance of a given resource (the “why”), and the types of techniques used to achieve protections of these resources (“how”). It will be written for use in the regional plan update, but will also be designed so that a lay audience could use it to learn about “Development Review as if the Environment Matters 101” when undertaking zoning or subdivision bylaw updates.

Project 2: Website updates and creation of a master data spreadsheet with Census and other data

VNRC manages a planning resource called the Community Planning Toolbox ( We are in the process of updating this toolbox, and as part of that want to update the data and information it contains. The first part of Project 2 would be reviewing the toolbox pages to identify where updates to data and other information are needed.

The second part of Project 2 would be updating the toolbox pages with current data and information. As part of this process, the intern would work with staff to create and populate a master data spreadsheet. This would be designed so that it could be easily updated on an annual basis, and then used to create graphs and other analyses for VNRC’s work.


The ideal candidate is someone who is interested in, and has knowledge of or experience with:

  • land use
  • local planning and regulation
  • sustainability
  • climate change
  • natural resource issues including those related to farm and forestland, stormwater, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, smart growth, and multi-modal transportation
  •  US Census data and other data sources

Necessary skills include:

  • Excellent writing and communication skills, including the ability to take complex ideas and present them in a way that is accessible to a variety of readers.
  • Attention to detail
  • Research skills
  • The ability to work independently

A graduate-level intern is preferred; upper-level undergraduates will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

How to Apply:

Please send your resume and a brief cover letter describing how your interests, experiences, and skills would support the projects detailed above. Submissions should be via e-mail to Kate McCarthy ( We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis until the position is filled, and may request a phone, Skype, or (if possible) in person interview.

Please email or call Kate with any questions: (802) 223-2328, x. 114

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