Palouse Land Trust Hires First Intern
Alumna-led nonprofit and student both benefit from work experience
As a small grassroots organization, the Palouse Land Trust knows how to do a lot with very little. They operate with only two full-time staff members. So when they added an intern recently, it was a significant increase in their human resources.
Executive Director Lovina Englund ’05, M.S. ’07, was happy to find a good candidate in Sierra Hamilton, a senior in University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources, Englund’s alma mater.
“Sierra came to me last spring looking for an internship opportunity, and I was so impressed by her. She had such a professional manner and genuine interest in land stewardship,” said Englund, who is also the former outreach coordinator for the U of I Rangeland Center.
The internship had a substantial impact for both the nonprofit and Hamilton. The Palouse Land Trust has a big mission — to conserve the land and rural heritage of a region spanning eight counties in Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington. With an intern, they expanded their capacity to meet directly with private landowners.
For Hamilton, who is majoring in natural resources conservation with an emphasis in management and planning, the internship meant she got to put her education into practice.
“In all my classes, they always say how important it is to work with people. That’s what natural resources is all about – and I really got to experience that at the Palouse Land Trust,” she said.
“In all my classes, they always say how important it is to work with people. That’s what natural resources is all about – and I really got to experience that at the Palouse Land Trust.”Sierra Hamilton, senior, College of Natural Resources
A large part of the internship involved working with private landowners who have conservation easements with the land trust; these agreements restrict certain uses on a property. For instance, the easement allows the activities of a working farm or forest but eliminates the possibility of subdividing the property for a housing development.
Hamilton met with landowners to see how they were managing their property and offer assistance with any issues they might be having. Englund was pleased with the work the senior did on the trust’s behalf and expects to hire future CNR interns.
“She did a fantastic job, and I’m glad for the opportunity to give back,” Englund said. “It makes me really proud to be an alum.”
Englund wanted to make sure Hamilton got the most out of her internship. She found opportunities for her to learn about local conservation such as going on a tour hosted by the Palouse Conservation District in Pullman where Hamilton witnessed the power of collaboration among landowners, natural resource agencies and conservation-focused nonprofits, like the Palouse Land Trust.
“I wanted her to see that it’s not just about the work we do protecting conservation values of these special places, but it’s all these partners across the region that truly make the vision come into focus,” Englund said.
Hamilton enjoyed the internship so much she’s now considering working for a nonprofit when she graduates.
“It has opened so many doors for me,” she said.
Article by Sara Zaske, College of Natural Resources
Published in Winter 2019-20 CNR Magazine