2023 Conservation Internships

We're hiring text over photo collage of people working in natural settings

Two positions: 1) Field Conservation Intern, and 2) GIS & Field Conservation Intern
Location: 3236 S. Kelly Ave., Suite 200, Portland, Oregon 97239
Period of Employment: Approximately 6 months, April 3rd – mid October, 2023 (dates somewhat flexible)
Pay: $18.67/ hour
Work hours: Average of 20 hours per week, two to three 8-hour days per week, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (times somewhat flexible), Monday through Friday, with occasional optional evening and weekend hours.
Application deadline: Friday, January 20, 2023 by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. The application form will no longer be available after that time.

General Summary

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District (“District”) is hiring two adult (18+ years old) temporary, part-time Conservation Interns for spring through fall of 2023. Work is both in the field, within our district service area, and in our office in S. Portland. Conservation Interns will receive mentorship, gain experience, and have opportunities to learn more about the field of natural resource conservation through caring for and giving to the land as practiced on non-public properties. We are looking for people with a passion to actively improve air and water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and soil health and a desire to work as part of a dynamic team of professionals.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our organization: in those we serve, in our workforce composition, through the contractors we hire, and in those that benefit from our work. Interns will be provided with equity training, are expected to help co-create an inclusive work environment with fellow staff, and are invited to participate more deeply through the District’s diversity, equity, and inclusion committee or other opportunities.

The District does not discriminate based on any class or identity including age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and veteran status. The District is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. The District makes reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and special needs so as to provide access to District events, materials and services. If you have requests for accommodations or complaints about discrimination, harassment, inequitable treatment, lack of access to District events, materials or services, or for any questions at all, please contact us at info@wmswcd.org or call (503) 238-4775 and leave a message with a return phone number at extension 100.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Survey, collect field data, and treat priority invasive weeds (including use of herbicides)
  • Monitor native and invasive plants on the landscape and assist with other field site visits
  • Perform data entry and analysis, make graphs, and write reports
  • Create maps with ArcGIS (for the GIS & Field Conservation Intern only)
  • Communicate effectively and work directly with staff, the public, property owners, and contractors through face-to-face contact, telephone, written, or email correspondence
  • Routinely communicate progress, seek help when needed and balance multiple tasks
  • Meet regularly with Internship Program Supervisor to check in on work activity for mentorship, professional development and support

Secondary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Collect additional field data, such as water quality and forestry parameters (includes using GPS, mobile devices, and other specialized field equipment)
  • Assist with outreach and educational activities to inform the public on natural resource conservation issues and support collaborations with local partners
  • Work closely with individual staff for mentorship on special projects (Opportunities may include projects such as drafting and implementing conservation plans, exploring how GIS is used in conservation, involvement in DEI initiatives and strategies, etc.)
  • Other duties as assigned, with personalized opportunities based on professional interests and goals (including independent trainings, special projects and post-internship preparation)

Minimum Qualifications for BOTH positions

(required to be eligible for either internship position; experience level in 1&2 used in evaluating and ranking applicants)

  1. Experienced with plant identification: Proficient in recognizing and naming common plants of the Pacific Northwest, trained in the use of plant identification resources, knowledgeable of plant anatomy and/or traditional ecological knowledge of plants and first foods
  2. Skilled in the use of Microsoft Excel and Word software (or similar): Ability to enter data, create graphs and compose written documents incorporating text, pictures, and tables
  3. Ability to work outdoors under a range of conditions and terrain with reasonable accommodations
  4. Willingness to work with and apply herbicides (using hand-operated sprayers) alongside licensed District staff members after provided training and obtaining trainee license

Additional Minimum Qualification for the GIS & Field Conservation Intern position ONLY

  • Proficient in ArcGIS mapping software: Ability to import, create, and edit both spatial and attribute data in ArcGIS (ArcMap, ArcPro or QGIS) and to create readable maps that incorporate clear symbology and basic cartography elements such as labels, keys and scale references.

Desired Experience, Abilities, and Attributes

  • Previous participation in an environmental workforce development program (such as, but not limited to: Green Jobs Internship and Training Program, Verde, Wisdom Workforce, Blueprint Foundation, Greenspaces Restoration and Urban Naturalist Team/TNT, TALON, or Northwest Youth Corps)
  • Active pursuit of a vocational or associates degree with a demonstrated interest in natural sciences, natural resource management, environmental education, or another related field
  • Personal and professional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, including exploration of power and privilege, a willingness to self-reflect, and experience engaging with marginalized communities and individuals in a welcoming and respectful manner
  • Experience collecting field data and maintaining field notes
  • Proven ability to maintain positive, cooperative relationships with others, and conducts work in a professional manner

Job Conditions

  • Both positions will work in the field approximately 60% of the time, and in an office setting approximately 40% of the time.
  • The fieldwork may include working in and around such locations as urban areas, farms, and working forests; streams and ponds; properties with dense, thorny vegetation; steep slopes, and other hazardous terrain, and applying herbicides. Occasional interactions with farm animals and pets may occur.
  • Physical exertion is commonly required for field tasks, such as walking outdoors and carrying equipment and tools.
  • Interns may need to transport themselves and field equipment throughout the day in an efficient and timely manner to and from and/or between conservation project sites. Sites in the rural West Hills and on Sauvie Island can be 20 miles or more from our office in S. Portland. Possession of a valid driver’s license is very helpful and strongly preferred, and a District vehicle may be provided when available (once the results of a motor vehicle report are determined to be satisfactory). Miles driven for work in a personal vehicle can be reimbursed if a District vehicle is unavailable.
  • Interns must abide District safety policies, including COVID-19 mitigation requirements, which currently mirror Multnomah County guidance found here: https://www.multco.us/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/face-coverings-masks-and-covid-19


Base pay is $18.67 per hour. Pro-rated holiday pay and sick leave is provided (but not health, retirement, or other benefits available to permanent employees). The employee or the District can withdraw employment without cause. The District will pay for trainings and licenses required to fulfill the job duties, such as a trainee pesticide applicator license. Use of a personal vehicle, phone, computer, or internet is not required, but if such use becomes necessary or beneficial, certain expenses may be eligible for reimbursement.

How to Apply

Interested applicants may apply for one or both positions. Past WMSWCD interns are not eligible for re-hire for this internship, though Green Jobs Workforce Program interns are eligible. Applications must be submitted by the application deadline, 5:00 pm, January 20th, 2023.

  • Fill out a brief eligibility checklist through our online form
  • If you meet all the requirements, you will be prompted to upload a cover letter (maximum length of ONE page) and resume (maximum length of TWO pages).
  • In your cover letter and resume, discuss or give examples of how your personal, professional and/or school experiences have provided you with the Minimum Qualifications and Desired Experience, Abilities, and Attributes; and prepared you for the Primary and Secondary Duties and Responsibilities, as described above.
  • Applicants are eligible for Veterans’ Preference when applying for a position with West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District. For details on required materials to submit, see our Veterans’ Preference Policy.

District Redaction of Your Application Materials

In pursuit of our equity goals and to reduce the potential for unconscious bias during application review, the District has elected to redact some personal information from submitted materials before evaluation by the review team. Redacted information includes name, contact information, links to social media accounts and personal websites/webpages, photographs, graduation dates and names of schools. Degrees obtained and number of years attended will be retained for review.


For questions about the application process, or to request an accommodation to access and participate in this recruitment, email hiring@wmswcd.org or call (503) 238-4775, ext. 100 and leave a voicemail message with your name, phone number and inquiry.

For questions about the internship positions, email internship@wmswcd.org or call (503) 238-4775 ext. 109 and leave a voicemail message with your name, phone number, and mention of the position.

Download a pdf of this 2023 Conservation Internship job announcement.

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