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Terms and Dates:

  • Summer 2020
One Time Opportunity

Cornell Affiliations:

Atkinson Center

Off-campus partner:

Environmental Defense Fund


Opportunity Description

Job Title: Working Lands Intern
Program/Department: Ecosystems, Working Lands
Reports to: Amy Hughes

Are you interested in exploring a career at an internationally-recognized environmental organization? By joining EDF as an Intern, you too can be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and a focus on results are a way of life. EDF’s Internship Program welcomes intellectually hungry leaders to join us, advance our work, and cultivate the skills and relationships needed for a successful career working for the environment. Alumni of our Internship Program have gone on to important leadership positions, most notably our own President, Fred Krupp. Could you be the next Fred Krupp? 

EDF offers internships and fellowships for students and recent graduates in a variety of programs and departments throughout the organization. The ultimate goal of our internship and fellowship program is to provide high-quality experiences (including relevant projects and opportunities for networking) that form the foundation for any individual who is serious about pursuing an environmental career. 

Program Overview 

EDF’s Working Lands team strives to create resilient agricultural landscapes that benefit people and the planet by improving habitat, reducing water quality impacts, rebalancing water supply management, mitigating climate change, and contributing to rural economies.

As one way to assess rural economies’ resilience, EDF monitors USDA’s “prevented planting” statistic, which in 2019 was the highest since the agency started reporting the figures in 2007. This is in large part due to catastrophic flooding and atypical weather experienced in the Midwest this spring and the wettest September on record. If climate change makes the weather events of 2019 become the new normal, farmers – and the policies, funding sources and regulatory environment that influences their decisions – need to adapt.

The selected intern will own an EDF Working Lands project that evaluates existing US federal policies such as “prevented planting” and develops recommendations for innovative solutions. The intern will identify opportunities to move the current system dominated by corn and soybean production to a more diverse and resilient system that provides multiple social and environmental benefits. The intern will also tap into EDF experts and partners to quantify policy outcomes in ways that will persuasively influence decision makers and stakeholders to take action. The intern will present project findings and recommendations to EDF leadership and staff at the end of 10 weeks.   

Key Responsibilities:

The intern will contribute a unique perspective to EDF strategic thinking and communications by performing research and analysis to illustrate the potential positive impacts of alternative USDA Farm Bill scenarios that provide payments for ecosystem services. 

•    Calculate the total amount of conservation acreage that could be installed with re-allocated farm subsidies from sources like trade assistance, disaster assistance and crop insurance, levee repair and other flood prevention infrastructure spending.
•    Quantify loss of tax base and local government income that may result from converting cultivated acreage in floodplain to conservation uses.
•    Conduct a review of literature and international policy to identify novel strategies to create a new line of income for the farmers if they change the land use to marketable ecosystem services in addition to or instead of crops.
•    Describe and illustrate findings using white papers, mapping, PowerPoint presentation and other communications.

10 weeks during the summer

Full-time (35 hours per week)


Application Materials
Interested applicants should submit their cover letter and resume, together with a writing sample no longer than 5 pages, through the application portal/link.