internships

Field & Administrative Internships

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!

Currently accepting Interns for Spring & Summer 2020!

Keep reading for more information!

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Friction fire. Epic games. Awareness. Laughter. Natural history. Stories and songs. Building community. Gratitude. Strengthening connection to Nature. Tree ID. Tracking.

For over 20 years, Primitive Pursuits has been a one-of-a-kind organization committed to improving the health of our planet through getting kids and adults outside and connecting with nature, themselves and each other.

Here at Primitive Pursuits, we value BELONGING, GRATITUDE, AWARENESS and GETTING OUTSIDE!

A day at Primitive Pursuits might include:

  • Leading an epic game of capture the flag through the woods
  • Helping preschoolers navigate social-emotional skill development
  • Communicating with parents and care-givers to help bridge the gap between in-the-moment outdoor education and long-term youth development
  • Collaboratively designing innovative and exciting nature-based activities
  • Receiving mentoring from trained Wilderness Instructors, including earth-based skills and outdoor leadership

Sound like the place to be?

Apply now to join our team as a Field or Administrative Intern: contribute to the success of a thriving local non-profit while gaining skills and experience to last a lifetime!

Our Field Interns and Apprentices assist Instructors with youth programs (ages 3-16). They attend planning meetings, receive personal mentorship, and provide leadership and support in the fields, streams and forests we call home. Opportunities are available during the school year (with Ithaca Forest Preschool, Homeschool, and Afterschool programs) and during the summer with our unique Summer Day Camp programs.

Our Administrative Interns are an integral part of our organization, and support our mission and programs through photojournalism, marketing, growth and development, graphic design, grant writing - the options go on!

What skills do you bring to the table?

All internships are provided through Cornell Cooperative Extension. Primitive Pursuits academic year internships are unpaid and provide extensive on-the-job training. We partner with local universities providing internships to fulfill degree requirements, such as Ithaca College's Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Environmental Studies majors.

Paid summer internships and apprenticeships are available!

Field Interns and Apprentices

  • Passion and comfort in exploring the natural world
  • Ability to work on a team
  • Strong interest in learning more about working with children in a rugged outdoor setting
  • Excitement about spending every day outdoors in the woods, no matter the weather. Curiosity is required - experience is not!
  • Academic Year: Ability to work a regular schedule in one or more of our youth programs for the duration of a program season. Staff hours for Ithaca Forest Preschool are Mon-Thurs, 8:45am-12:45pm; Homeschool hours are Thurs, 8:30am-2:00pm; Afterschool programs meet various weekdays, usually 1:45pm-4:45pm.
  • Summer: 3-6 weeks of camp at 40 hours per week (M-F) for an Internship position; 7-10 weeks of camp at 40 hours per week (M-F) for an Apprenticeship position

Administrative Intern

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and Google Drive and comfort with computer skills development
  • Maintaining a positive, professional and inclusive environment
  • Collaborating effectively with others
  • Desire to promote the educational mission of the program and the parent institutions
  • Other skills such as photography, writing, social media, etc, strongly desired
  • Academic Year: Flexible scheduling, several hours per week
  • Summer: Flexible scheduling, usually 20 hours per week and at least six weeks in duration, starting the beginning of June through the end of August

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"I am so grateful for your Wilderness Skills Instructor Certification course and how much it has sharpened my awareness and curiosity." A.K., Wilderness Skills Alumnus

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: SUMMER Field Internships and Apprenticeship are 40 hours per week. Free rustic accommodations available onsite. Summer Camps in 2020 will run for ten weeks. ACADEMIC YEAR Field Interns work a regular schedule in one or more of our youth programs for the duration of a program season.

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


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