Quest Program Internship-Bedford Hills, New York
Position Title: Quest Program Internship
Location: Bedford Hills, New York
Hours and Compensation: 35 hours per week, 8 weeks. Stipend of $1500
Application Deadline: Not listed.
Westchester Land Trust and Bedford Audubon Society are pleased to offer a paid internship focused on environmental education and interpretive programs located in northern Westchester County, NY. This unique internship offers the chance to enhance the visitor experience at permanently protected landscapes owned by Bedford Audubon Society and Westchester Land Trust.
About the sponsoring organizations: Founded in 1988 by dedicated residents, Westchester Land Trust (WLT) works together with public and private partners to preserve land in perpetuity, and to protect and enhance the natural resources in our communities. The Land Trust has preserved approximately 7,500 acres through accepting the donations of conservation easements, or by accepting the donation of parcels of land by the transfer of ownership. WLT’s conservation efforts impact the long-term health of the cities, towns and villages of Westchester and Eastern Putnam Counties through protection of watersheds, wildlife, air and water quality, and local food supply.
Bedford Audubon Society (BAS) is a local chapter of the National Audubon Society. Founded in 1913, BAS serves the communities in much of northern Westchester and eastern Putnam Counties. Today, Bedford Audubon continues to be the local authority on birds and habitat, promotes environmental literacy, and conducts critical research to protect and conserve wildlife habitat in the community. In 2001 Mary Welsh Parker donated Bylane Farm, her 120-acre property, to Bedford Audubon, expanding the Hunt-Parker Sanctuary to a total of 338 acres. The sanctuary is home to 185 species of birds and 64 species of butterflies. More than 8 miles of hiking trails are open dawn to dusk, seven days a week.
Project background: Questing is a place-based education program—combining elements of orienteering, art, and puzzle solving—that is used by teachers and naturalists as a tool to collect and share a community’s distinct natural and cultural heritage. Participants collect clues along a specific route that leads to a “treasure box” where a takeaway stamp or trinket proves one’s successful participation. The ‘clues guide’ can be picked up at the kiosk at the trailhead or downloaded in advance. Conservation organizations use questing as an interpretive tool to educate visitors, school and civic groups, on the heritage of their communities.
In 2009, Westchester Land Trust installed a Quest at Bylane Farm, Bedford Audubon’s center of operations at 35 Todd Road, Katonah. It was created on a trail that spans both sides of the property on the north and south sides of Todd Road, and is based on the influence of birds on our environment. The creation of this Quest was generously sponsored by Jennifer and Roger Schwartz through the Louis and Anne Abrons Family Foundation.
2014 marks the kickoff of a renovation and update to Westchester Land Trust’s Quest Program beginning with the popular Quest Trail at Bylane Farm, Bedford Audubon’s center of operations. The groups partnered to research, design and install this trail in 2009. With altered landscapes, new content and improvements in the design and delivery of interpretive information, the Quest Trail is in need of an update. Working exclusively on three existing Quests (Bedford Audubon Society, Westchester Wilderness Walk-Zofnass Family Preserve, and Rose Preserve) and within a modest project budget, the intern will devise a standard for the delivery of information throughout the trail systems, based on industry best practices and proven innovative designs.
• Assess the condition and necessary improvements to three Quest Trails in Katonah, Pound Ridge, and Lewisboro (northern Westchester County, NY).
• Research industry standards for Quest Trail structures and perform site visits as necessary.
• Devise a general model and standard for future Quest Trails and information delivery.
• Work with staff from WLT and BAS to update Quest content, design, and locations.
• Create three separate plans for renovation of existing trails (considering conservation values, target audience, budget, etc.) beginning first with the Quest Trail at Bylane Farm.
Dates: June – August (start & end dates are flexible). Ideal applicants will be available for a public presentation in mid-late August, 2014 (date TBD).
Time commitment: 35 hours per week, 8 weeks
Education: Undergraduate/graduate students with a Major or concentration in Natural History, Environmental Studies, Field Biology or a related field
Pertinent experience/skills: The candidate must be an enthusiastic and organized individual with a passion for conservation issues, environmental education, and community engagement. He/she should have demonstrable experience in landscape interpretation, the ability to manage a multifaceted project over time, and have had experience in the production of interpretive content and structures for a variety of user groups. A cheerful eagerness to work in a public setting is desired. The candidate should be self-motivated and able to work successfully independently and in a team setting. The candidate should be in good physical condition and be able to work outside for extended periods of time.
Lodging: Free housing may be available at Bylane Farm for qualified candidates
Primary office location: Westchester Land Trust (Sugar Hill Farm, Bedford Hills, NY)
Primary field location: Bedford Audubon Society (Bylane Farm, Bedford, NY)
Transportation and equipment: Must have personal vehicle to use for WLT business, a valid driver’s license and personal auto insurance. Travel expenses/mileage are not reimbursed. The use of personal laptop is strongly encouraged.
For application forms and complete submission details visit: westchesterlandtrust.org/internships.
Please direct any questions you might have regarding this internship to:
Kara Hartigan Whelan, Director of Conservation Programs