Friends of the Chicago River moonlight canoe trip at Skokie Lagoons, May 5, 2012.

Archive for the ‘Internships’ Category

Eleven Tips for Getting a Job in Natural Resources, from the Perspective of an Employer

Posted: April 11th, 2017

Read what our friend, Frank on a Bike, has to say about how to increase your chances of getting a job in natural resources.

Originally published in Good Oak News.

Cook County programs gives youth summer forest preserve jobs

Posted: May 25th, 2016

More than 100 young people will get the chance to earn money and experience the outdoors through a summer jobs program in Cook County’s forest preserves.

The Green Brick Road: My journey as an environmentalist

Posted: January 6th, 2016

It all started with a stuffed polar bear. That is how my journey as an environmentalist began. It was gifted to me as a child and I still have it to this day. I became so attached to that stuffed polar bear that I remember watching those commercials about dying polar bears on melting icebergs and feeling like I personally needed to save my stuffed polar bear. But it was later when I took Environmental Science in high school that my love for the environment really took off. I remember collecting data on crawfish and exploring prairies during our field trips. It was during that time that the enormity of our planet’s environmental problems hit me. The sense of doom that a lot of us who care about protecting the environment feel became real to me in high school. I knew at that point that whatever I would end up studying in college and later pursuing as a career would revolve around protecting the environment.

Growing up in Lemont I also had access to a lot of Cook County’s forest preserves. Exploring the forests and going camping in Wisconsin became a pastime of mine. All this greatly shaped the goals and dreams of my life, but it was when I studied Sustainable Development in India that my day to day really changed. Living in a culture that wasted so little has affected my trash output enormously. Now I am very conscious of all the trash I produce and try to be intentional about using reusable cups and bottles. Buying secondhand clothing and eating less dairy have also become habits of mine. Currently, as the Research and Office Management Intern for Friends of the Forest Preserves, I have gotten the opportunity to interact with nature within the city’s limits. I am more than thrilled to continue my journey of exploration and curiosity as an environmentalist for the rest of my life.

Kathy MachajBy: Kathy Machaj, Research and Office Management Intern

Homecoming Reunion

Posted: September 3rd, 2015

Join Friends for a Homecoming Reunion at Dan Ryan Woods for all our Conservation Corps alumni! Enjoy a relaxed get-together with all your old friends with free lunch, and a little restoration work to give back to the forest preserves. If you feel like making a snack, feel free to bring it along! Otherwise just bring yourself, because Friends will provide all the food and tools. We also welcome friends, family, and non-alumni to participate in a fun afternoon!

What: Homecoming with other Friends Conservation Corps alumni and free lunch

When: Saturday, November 14th, 9 am- 12 pm

Where: Dan Ryan Woods, by the 91st-Beverly Hills Metra Stop, Chicago, Il 60643

View the map here.

Click here to sign up!

Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps Crew Member Spotlight: Jalanni Matthews

Posted: August 6th, 2015

Jalanni Matthews

Name: Jalanni Matthews
Age: 17
High School: Chicago Bulls College Prep
Crew: Sand Ridge Nature Center

What is your experience with conservation?
I have been a volunteer for the past two years at Powderhorn Lake and Dan Ryan Woods. My mother first approached me about helping out in the forest preserves when she came across volunteer opportunities online.
What is your favorite part of working with the CCLC?
I love the work I do and the people I’ve met. I really take pride in nature.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? 
I want to go to Paris one day because the country looks beautiful and the attractions are a sight to see.

Fabian RiveraInterviewed by Fabian Rivera. Fabian has been working with the Student Conservation Association since last October. This is his first summer as an Assistant Crew Leader for the Sand Ridge Nature Center crew. He starts at Harold Washington in the fall.

Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps Crew Member Spotlight: Trevor Taylor

Posted: August 3rd, 2015

Trevor TaylorName: Trevor Taylor
Age: 18
Crew: Crabtree Nature Center

What is your experience with conservation?
It’s my third year with the Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps. I also volunteers at local preserves throughout the year.
What is your favorite part of working with the CCLC?
I like making a difference that you can see.
Why are you passionate about the environment?
It’s where we live and it’s our job to take care of it. We can’t leave it to future generations because if we don’t take care of it now, there won’t be anything left for future generations.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I would travel to the Wudang Mountains in China. I want to go to the Wudang Mountains because they are an extremely important site in Taoism. They’re also in the exact condition they were in hundreds of years ago.

Anthony MisiakInterviewed by Anthony Misiak. Anthony is the Assistant Crew Leader for the crew at Crabtree Nature Center. It’s his second year with the Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps. Anthony will be a freshman at University of Illinois-Chicago this fall. He’s hoping to pursue a career in an environmentally related field.

Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps Crew Member Spotlight-Dawson Cox

Posted: July 29th, 2015

Dawson CoxName: Dawson Cox
Age: 16
Crew: Sagawau Environmental Learning Center

What is your experience with conservation?
I have a lot of experience with conservation. My dad has been working with Friends of the Forest Preserve for 11 years. I have been volunteering for almost just as long and have been apart of a prescribed burn. This is also my second summer with the Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps.
What is your favorite part of working with the CCLC?
The work we do in the CCLC program is very rewarding. I enjoy seeing the difference we make after working. Volunteering is just a 1 day event and it’s hard to see the progress made. Through this program, we work for a longer period of time and the progress really stands out.
Why are you passionate about the environment?
I feel at peace in nature and feel the need to protect it.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
France. I enjoy speaking French especially with people who also use the language.

Adam MedelInterviewed by Adam Medel. Adam is the Assistant Crew Leader for the crew at the Sagawau Environmental Learning Center. This is Adam’s first year with the CCLC, and he’s picked up a vast amount of knowledge so far throughout the program from sharing experiences with those around him. After this program ends, Adam will begin to attend Moraine Valley Community College where he will study biology. He is very excited to learn more about plants and animals and ecosystems as a whole, and even more excited to use this knowledge to make a difference.

Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps Assistant Crew Leader Spotlight-Alex Morales

Posted: July 16th, 2015

Assistant Crew Leader Alex Morales

Assistant Crew Leader Alex Morales on the Dan Ryan Crew

Name: Alex Loren Morales
Age: 19
College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame
Studying: Psychology
Crew: Dan Ryan Woods Assistant Crew Leader

What is your experience with conservation?
My first experience with conservation began with Friends of the Forest Preserves and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) as a crew member at Eggers Woods. I came back for another summer because of the personal growth that happened while working with my crew. Since my first year I have found a desire to keep working with Friends because it gives me an enjoyable summer.

What do you like about the Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps?
What I really enjoy about the Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps is the community that forms. Several amazing people band together to work for a cause they’re passionate about. This is the only way that progress is made.

Why are you passionate about the environment?
I am passionate about the environment because it gives me a strong sense of intrinsic motivation, which helps me acknowledge my environment instead of blindly recognizing it.

If you got the chance to travel anywhere, where would you go?
If I had the chance to travel anywhere it would be to South America because I have close friends that live there.


Youth Sustainability Corps

Posted: May 20th, 2015

Rico Harris removes the bark from a dying ash tree to create a log for a trail in Dan Ryan Woods.

Rico Harris removes the bark from a dying ash tree to create a log for a trail in Dan Ryan Woods.

This past summer was probably the most memorable one I have had since becoming a young adult. During my childhood in the inner city, I wasn’t exposed to many trees or shrubs or plants, except the common weed or grass that grow in your backyard. I never really knew much about trees. The only fact I could tell you was that they help us breath. But this pat summer, I’ve learned about almost every tree that grows in the Cook County and how they all contribute to life in Illinois.

Through Central States SER and Friends of the Forest Preserves’ Youth Sustainability Corps, I was able to participate in a six-week paid internship that worked with inner city youth, taking them out of the environment they considered the “norm” and getting them use to life outdoors.

Over that six weeks, I loved every minute of the time I spent with Friends and I developed a true passion for wildlife and flora. As the internship came to an end, I was given the opportunity to meet with Benjamin Cox, President of Friends of the Forest Preserves, who gave me advice about working in conservation and restoration. Shortly after that, I was back on the job hunt, searching for any opportunity to start working in that particular field. Surprisingly enough, Friends was searching to find somebody with past experience to fill in a position that had recently became open with the Forest Preserve Leadership Corps. Long story short, here I am today, an employee of Friends and enjoying every minute of it!

Henry "Riko" HarrisBy: Henry “Rico” Harris, Forest Preserve Leadership Corps member and former Youth Sustainability Corps member.

FPLC: Building Skills and Changing Lives

Posted: May 13th, 2015

In the summer of 2010, I first volunteered at Camp Sagawau and it was a life changing experience. Through the Associated Colleges of Illinois, I was exposed to the Student Conservation Association (SCA), and that is how I volunteered at Sagawau doing restoration work. After volunteering for a week, I was offered a position as an intern for the SCA. Five years later, here I am today, an intern for the Friends of the Forest Preserve’s Leadership Corp (FPLC) program. Aside from working with the FPLC, I also assist other Friends of the Forest Preserve staff in doing outreach work by promoting free recreation events in the forest preserves of Cook County.

Eduardo Paz helps teach a youngster how to fish at one of our free recreation events in the Calumet.

Eduardo Paz helps teach a youngster how to fish at one of our free recreation events in the Calumet.

Through the FPLC, I have acquired many new and helpful skills. I have broadly expanded my knowledge in native plants and trees, as well as invasive species. In just the eight months that I worked with the FPLC, I have learned to appreciate the natural forest preserve land a lot more. Being out in the field four days a week can really have a lasting impact on a person. I have gained skills in chainsawing, tree identification, invasive plant identification, prescribed burns, first aid and CPR, as well as public speaking. These are just some of the many skills we have acquired.

Public speaking is probably one of the most useful skills we have acquired. Being able to speak to an audience is required in almost every job, not only while working in conservation. One of the most memorable events where I had to put my public speaking skills to the test was when our crew presented and led activities in front of elementary school children and children with special needs at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. During that presentation, we informed the children about the work we do and why controlling invasive species is important. Although the information that we presented was very informative, the best part was being able to see how much the children enjoyed talking to us about the work we do. We literally let them step in our shoes by giving them the opportunity to take pictures with our chainsawing gear and prescribed burn suit.

I am very grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to be a member of the FPLC. The work we do is very rewarding and inspiring. I am excited to see what other opportunities are presented to me because of the skills I have acquired through the Forest Preserve Leadership Corps.

Eduardo Paz, Forest Preserve Leadership Corps crew member, Friends of the Forest PreservesBy: Eduardo Paz, former Forest Preserve Leadership Corps member. Eduardo recently left Friends to start a new position with the Student Conservation Corps. We trained him so well, another organization stole him.