Environmental Leadership Internship

Earn valuable environmental stewardship and project management experience while spending time outside improving your outdoor leadership skills with this fun, nontraditional internship!


  • Jonathan Collins, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • Jarrod Gaut, Graduate of Pitzer College
  • Matthew Griffith, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • Richard Handley, University of Colorado at Denver
  • Isabella Lackner, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • Hannah Millsap, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (graduated in May 2017)


RMFI’s Environmental Leadership Internship gives motivated undergraduate and graduate students a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience co-leading field-based trail and restoration projects throughout the Pikes Peak Region.  Student interns play a dynamic and integral role in the planning and implementation of RMFI’s projects.

Interns will hone environmental stewardship and leadership skills as they assist senior field staff with project implementation. The intern’s primary responsibility is to coordinate with RMFI field instructors and assist with planning and leading volunteer days on trail maintenance and restoration projects. While on-site, the ELI will assist RMFI field instructors and engage volunteers in project tasks, oversee safety and project goals, and carry out education objectives. The ELI may also be asked to assist with tool/equipment and warehouse maintenance and other tasks as assigned.


The typical internship runs April-May and September-November, though summer opportunities may be available. RMFI’s spring and fall schedule is focused primarily on single-day community volunteer events in the Garden of the Gods Park and other local project sites. In the park, RMFI works with over 2,300 volunteers annually to complete critical restoration and revegetation work, as well as trail maintenance. In the spring, interns will be responsible for coordinating GOG volunteer stewardship days under the direction of the Program Manager and Field Coordinators. In the fall, interns’ responsibilities will increase. This portion of the internship is meant to give the intern a greater role in coordinating all aspects of the project including: facilitating communications with land managers/partner organizations, volunteer recruitment, safety and orientation briefings, tracking project data, volunteer records, and evaluation forms, and other logistical requirements. The culmination of the internship will be the complete oversight of a volunteer project, from start to finish.

In addition to single-day programs, interns will have the opportunity to work on select multi-day, overnight programs. These work sites include Shelf Road Recreation Area, Waldo Canyon Burn Area, and others.


April-May, Garden of the Gods or other Colorado Springs or El Paso County public parks: One weekend day/week
May: 4-day FVS Senior Seminar Program at an overnight worksite location
September, Shelf Road: 2-day National Public Lands Day
September-November, Garden of the Gods or other Colorado Springs or El Paso County public parks: One weekend day/week
A typical field day runs from 7:30am-4:00pm


The internship is open to undergraduate and graduate students in the Colorado Springs and Front Range area.  The program requires strenuous fieldwork, often in inclement weather.  Interns must be comfortable working in the Colorado backcountry at high elevations.  Wilderness First Responder certification preferred, but not required. Students studying environmental science, environmental policy, or a natural science major are encouraged to apply.


This internship is unpaid. However, upon successful completion of the program, outstanding interns will have the opportunity to be hired as field staff.


Please contact Jay Minton, Program Manager, at 719-471-7736 or [email protected].


The Rocky Mountain Field Institute is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization based in Colorado Springs, Colorado dedicated to the exemplary restoration of key natural areas through the integration of volunteer stewardship, education, and research. Founded in 1982 as the American Mountain Foundation, since 1989 RMFI has accomplished its mission by completing key environmental projects in recreation areas throughout the Southern Rocky Mountains and Colorado Plateau. RMFI has received national, state, and local recognition for trail construction and restoration that is widely regarded as some of the finest work of its kind accomplished in the region. Land agencies at the local, state, and federal level seek us out for our innovative trail and restoration solutions, our ability to leverage dwindling financial resources, and rally community volunteers to accomplish the work. Since its inception, RMFI has mobilized thousands of volunteers to achieve its mission, averaging 2,300 individuals and 24,000 hours annually.