Internships and Apprenticeships

Contribute to a vibrant and exciting non-profit and work on skills to help you be the (mission driven, systems thinking, independently motivated) person every employer is looking for!

Friction Fire. Epic Games. Awareness. Laughter. Natural History. Stories and Songs. Building Community. Gratitude. Strengthening connection to Nature. Tree ID. Tracking.

Sound like the place to be? It is!

As a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, Primitive Pursuits is a leader in both the national wilderness awareness movement, as well as a regional effort to develop financially sustainable social enterprises; developing social change within the market place rather than relying on philanthropy and other traditional revenue streams.

Working with Primitive Pursuits will provide invaluable experience on multiple levels; from cutting edge wilderness education and mentorship to small business development and project management.

Primitive Pursuits is always looking for Summer Interns and Apprentices for our innovative summer day camp program in central New York’s Finger Lakes Region.

Best of all you’ll get the chance to become the person that every employer is looking for: a mission driven, systems thinking, independently motivated community visionary.

All internships are provided through Cornell Cooperative Extension and are unpaid unless interns have a summer FWS award.Our radical approach to education fosters a meaningful connection to nature through nature awareness, primitive skills, curiosity, community and the mystery of the natural world.

Youth aged 3-15 spend their entire days immersed in the fields, forests and waterways of undeveloped nature – gathering resources, crafting tools, navigating the landscape, mastering fire skills and surviving limitless challenges together.

Current Offerings...

Summer Wilderness Instructor Apprenticeship – Must complete a minimum of 300 hours of service (7 weeks of camp, plus staff training)

  • Receive Certificate of completion of the Wilderness Instructor Apprenticeship with Primitive Pursuits
  • Free camping on our land, with access to a kitchen and hot showers
  • Free weekly box of local fruits and vegetables from a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share.
  • $50 weekly travel allowance ($75 per week for weeks 9/10)
  • Work alongside incredible nature connection mentors and receive ongoing mentorship and training throughout the summer
  • Two day-long professional development workshops during the summer – details TBA
  • CPR and Wilderness First Aid course offered during training week
  • Participate in Four day (24 hour) New Staff Instructor Training Program

Summer Field Internship – Must complete a minimum of 120 hours of service (three weeks of camp, plus staff training)

  • Free camping on our land, with access to a kitchen and hot showers
  • Free weekly box of local fruits and vegetables from a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share.
  • $50 weekly travel allowance
  • Work with our experienced and knowledgeable staff- join the 2017 internship team for a full week of training before the summer to gain the tools you will need to be successful. Gain one-on-one mentorship with our lead instructors throughout your internship.


"Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books." John Lubbock

Field Opportunities

Field Internship and Apprenticeship combines wilderness survival skills and bioregional knowledge with the most effective tools of mentoring and professional development.

As part of a committed group that challenges, creates and leads together you will have many opportunities for personal growth and valuable workforce training. Interns act as assistant instructors for our summer camps and receive training in our unique approach to mentoring youth in nature, which focuses on curiosity, play and asking questions as much or more than delivery of facts.

What You Will Experience:

  • Trailblazing through epic forests in the Finger Lakes Region
  • Advanced Primitive Skills including wild edibles, friction fire and natural shelter
  • First-hand experience in experiential wilderness education
  • With experienced lead instructors, guide groups of youth into natural areas, away from facilities and without modern gear, engage them in a self-directed inquiry into basic, personal and group survival needs.
  • Spending every day in the forest having the time of your life!
  • Overnight camps opportunities also available.

Interested applicants must be passionate about outdoor education and discovering the mysteries of nature. Applicants must be excited about spending everyday outdoors in the woods, no matter the weather. Curiosity required, experience is not.

Details: Field Internships and Apprenticeship are 40 hours per week, with one week of skills training. Field Internship requires a minimum of 120 hours of direct teaching experience. Apprenticeship requires 300 hours. Free rustic accommodations available onsite. Summer camp typically run nine or ten weeks.

Administrative Internships

Creative thinkers. Radical Problem Solvers. Join our team at Primitive Pursuits to contribute to our national effort to develop social change and nature awareness.

We offer cutting edge internships where you will test your knowledge and build your skills. You’ll receive support and guidance from a team of entrepreneurial minded program leaders dedicated to building financially successful models of lasting social change. Expect a great deal of learning opportunities and a friendly, innovative work environment.

Available Internships include:

  • Marketing Strategist
  • Photographer/Videographer
  • Non-Profit Administration
  • Journalism and Writing

Administrative internships are generally 20 or more hours per week. Qualifications include ability to: understand and incorporate teaching philosophy into program delivery; maintain a positive, professional and inclusive environment; collaborate effectively with others and engage youth; promote the Primitive Pursuits nature education mission; keep effective records; and demonstrate commitment to your own professional growth. Expect a great deal of learning opportunities and a friendly, innovative work environment.

Writing Intern Blog Posts

Work-Study options may be available, call our office for details...

Need a trail guide?

We’re happy to help you navigate. Give us a call at the office (607) 272-2292 ext. 195 or use the link below

Get In Touch

Don't miss a beat, add yourself to our list to get all the latest details.