The Young Naturalists program this year may be cancelled or delayed due to COVID-19. We are holding out hope that the program will be able to proceed as planned, but are also preparing for scenarios where that is not possible. Students who apply to the 2020 program will be eligible to apply for the 2021 program if cancellation due to COVID-19 occurs. We will inform you whether Young Naturalists will take place or need to be cancelled a minimum of two weeks prior to the start of the program.
Application and nomination deadlines have been extended to accommodate the current situation. See below for updated timeline.
Who are Young Naturalists?
Young Naturalists are high school students who want to learn more about nature and love spending time outdoors. They accept the challenge to work hard in conditions that are at times harsh and physically demanding to improve the health of the park. Young Naturalists are also looking to pursue a degree or career related to environmental science, ecology, education, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) or sustainability. The Young Naturalists program is a fun, paid opportunity for students to get outdoors and learn about the environment, gain unique work and leadership experience, and meet other teenagers who are interested in the environment. Students spend their summer outdoors learning about plants and animals alongside expert naturalists while working to improve the health of our parks by controlling erosion, managing and monitoring invasive species, repairing trails and caring for trees.
Applying for the Young Naturalists Program
To apply and be considered for the Young Naturalists summer internship, a student must have either participated in the High School Urban EcoStewards program during the 2019/2020 school year, volunteered as a Junior Camp Counselor with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, or been nominated by a teacher or mentor from one of our partner organizations. The nomination deadline is Friday, May 15.
Participants are paid a $800 stipend over the five-week program. During this period, they attend a three-day, two-night retreat in the Laurel Highlands while working Monday - Thursday for the duration of their program. Students also receive a rain coat, rain pants, t-shirts, water bottle, work boots, bus passes, and tuition. Additional paid opportunities with our education team are available on weekends during the school year for students who complete the program.
2020 Program Timeline
April 30: Virtual Information Session
May 15: Student Nomination Deadline
May 20: Applications due
May 26 - June 5: Interviews with students and a parent/guardian
June 25: Program orientation (5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.)
July 6: First Day in Frick Park
July 7 - July 9: Overnight team-building retreat in Laurel Highlands
July 13 – Aug 6: Research & restoration in Frick Park (Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.)