Experiential learning

The Cayuga Lake Watershed Internship Program

EXPLORING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A ‘SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED’
AND OUR ROLES AS CARETAKERS OF THE EARTH

The WIP offers young adults the chance to explore their interests with a broad range of organizations, working side-by-side to protect and enhance life in the Cayuga Lake watershed, and beyond. WIP partner organizations work together to provide the best possible experience, and a truly holistic perspective, for our interns, and to discover new opportunities for collaboration along the way.

“I recently switched to Environmental Science and being able to communicate about the things I’ve learned is very important to me. This internship definitely helped me advance my public speaking skills, and I had a really good time meeting everyone in our group.” – Jacob, Discover Cayuga Lake intern

The WIP IS SUPPORTED BY GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM THE PARK FOUNDATION OF ITHACA, NY AND BY PRIVATE SPONSORS AND DONORS.

Watershed Internship Program

About the Program

The Cayuga Lake Watershed Internship Program (WIP) is collaboration of watershed based organizations offering internship opportunities for young adults. It gives interns insight into working in the fields of watershed protection, management, access and education from a variety of perspectives.

Fields of work/study include:

  • ecological studies
  • climate change
  • environmental education
  • social and environmental justice
  • environmental communication, outreach
  • marketing and promotion
  • farming and food justice
  • eco-tourism
  • outdoor recreation and access
  • community engagement and more

“I had an amazing time being a WIP intern!  We had a lot of great conversations and I was able to spend a lot of time outside which improved my mental and physical well being. I was able to form connections with other youth in the community and learn about organizations that are dedicated to sustainability.” – Eden, Cayuga Lake Watershed Network intern

Interns are hosted by partner organizations in line with their interests and skills where they are paid to work on program-specific projects. They also participate in paid weekly activities that enhance and enrich their collective learning experiences. The program is meant to be enriching, engaging and enjoyable!

The program runs from early June to mid-August. Positions are 20-40 hours per week with the majority of time spent working with partner organizations on projects and ~3 hours per week dedicated to WIP group activities which include presentations by community members, local organizations, field trips, and mutual sharing of experiences and learning regarding the fields mentioned. There is an initial orientation session and a final presentation of learning. Participants are expected to be active contributors to the program, developing mutual learning goals and projects and assessing outcomes.

Eligible participants are age 18-25 who are interested in increasing their professional skills and/or enhancing their college experience. Preference is given to young adults who are living in or studying in the Cayuga Lake watershed. We are interested in working with a diverse group of people from various socioeconomic, racial and gender identity backgrounds.

All positions are paid, at the minimum, a Tompkins County Living Wage ($18.45/hour in 2024).

Host Organizations – 2024

Watershed Internship Program

Available Positions – 2024

APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY MARCH 11TH WILL BE PRIORITIZED, FOR MOST POSITIONS.

Applications from underrepresented minorities are particularly encouraged. WIP Partners recognize that all people should benefit from access to the natural world and be able to contribute to conservation efforts, and that more needs to be done to engage diverse communities that are under-represented in these fields. We believe that bringing diverse voices to the table will help to foster a broader perspective and ultimately, a more just and inclusive natural environment. 

Participating organizations are listed below. Each organization selects its own interns. Please check the position descriptions and apply as directed.

Email: astrid@discovercayugalake.org if you have any general questions.

Discover Cayuga Lake

Engages students, community members, and visitors in learning about the ecology and history of Cayuga Lake and provides equitable access to Cayuga Lake to foster appreciation of the Finger Lakes watersheds for local ecosystems, human use, and natural beauty.

Cayuga Lake Watershed Network

A grassroots education and advocacy organization of citizens, businesses, groups, and local governments from across the Cayuga Lake Watershed.

  • POSITION DESCRIPTION PENDING – This will be a Cornell University Work Study Position.
Sustainable Finger Lakes

A citizen-based organization working towards the long-term well-being of our communities by integrating social equity, economic vitality, ecological stewardship, and shared responsibility.

 

Community Science Institute

Empowers citizens to monitor and protect local water resources for sustainable management through water testing labs, volunteerism and education.

Paddle-N-More

Aims to increase the number of people who participate in paddle sports in the Finger Lakes region and provide services that promote environmental health and education.

Groundswell Center for Food & Farming

Works toward building a more sustainable, just food system for all through farming education and training.

  • POSITION DESCRIPTION PENDING (check back soon!)
The Soil Factory/WEAVE

Explores interactions between social, artistic and scientific networks through interactive and experiential community oriented projects

  • POSITION DESCRIPTION PENDING (check back soon!)

I’m so grateful for the activities I participated in, the people I’ve met, and the lessons I learned in the Watershed Internship Program this summer! As someone who’s passionate about sustainability, I was able to expand my horizons and gain a deeper understanding of the sustainability movement in Tompkins County.” – Milena, Sustainable Finger Lakes intern 

Read a Blog Post by former intern Diana DeLuca - Click here!

My experience with WIP and DCL was super enlightening. I gained so much experience from collecting samples to working with others, working independently, and how to teach kids. So many of our conversations felt very impactful and interesting, learning others point of views, and the joy of just being around like minded people was awesome.

PROGRAM LEADERS

Astrid Jirka, WIP Coordinator and DCL Director of Tourism Initiatives and Outreach, she/her

– Astrid works to develop and promote DCL’s eco-tourism and community inclusion programs. She grew up in Ithaca in a German and Spanish speaking family, has degrees in Anthropology, Natural Resource Management and Intercultural Communication, and is also a Yoga Instructor.  She has taught courses in eco-tourism, and organized and led multiple student and yoga trips overseas, including to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland. She’s a big believer in working together to protect the natural world and in spending lots of time enjoying the outdoors.

Bill Foster, DCL Executive and Education Program Director, he/him

– Bill is the founder of DCL, having initially established the Floating Classroom on Cayuga Lake in 2003. He is also an Ithaca ‘townie’ and attended Cornell University for his degree in Civil/Environmental Engineering, which led him to work in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mid-Atlantic Office of Water in Philadelphia for many years. His path led to the nonprofit sector and stream restoration work in the Catskills before his return to Ithaca. He’s since become well connected to and immersed in the Cayuga Lake watershed community. He loves working with kids of all ages (adult kids too!) and you’ll usually find him on his kayak or on cross-country skis enjoying our beautiful natural areas.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU!

We’d Love to hear from you!

Connect
with Us

For Cruises & Charters:
booking@discovercayugalake.org

For Educational Programs:
education@discovercayugalake.org

HOME DOCK:

1000 Allan H. Treman Marina Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14850

OUR OFFICE:

110 N. Tioga St., Suite 303
Center for History & Culture
Ithaca, NY  14850

Discover Cayuga Lake 2023