Conservation Associate (2 openings)

Willistown Conservation Trust

In accordance with the mission of the Willistown Conservation Trust (WCT), the Foundations in Conservation Internship program aims to inspire and educate future conservation and environmental leaders from diverse backgrounds. This program provides a platform for traditionally underrepresented college students and graduates in the conservation field – including, but not limited to individuals who identify as Asian, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, or multiracial – to engage in and help shape WCT’s conservation work. Conservation Associates will participate in a four-month long paid internship, gaining real-world, hands-on experience, receiving professional mentorship, and participating in networking opportunities designed to equip students with a strong foundation for a successful career in conservation and beyond.

Using Rushtown Woods Preserve as a campus, the Conservation Associate will have the opportunity to participate in each of the Trust’s program areas – Land Stewardship, Land Protection, Watershed Protection, Bird Conservation, and Community Farm.


The Conservation Associate will support the efforts of each Department in the following ways:

Easement Stewardship/Land Protection:

  • Annually monitor WCT easements; identifying and resolving violations as required.
  • Create annual easement monitoring reports for each easement; organize and include supporting documentation such as maps and photos when needed.
  • Review and interpret proposed architectural, landscape, and engineering plans for easement properties; coordinate with landowner design professionals as needed.
  • Assist with researching land protection opportunities and mapping.

Land Stewardship:

  • Work with the Preserve Manager to maintain Kirkwood, Ashbridge, and Rushton Woods Preserves for maximum public enjoyment, accessibility and safety. This includes: trail construction and maintenance, invasive species plant management, native plant restorations, and habitat improvements.
  • Conduct the scheduled activities outlined in the preserve management plans.
  • Assist with the development and implementation of the Rushton Woods Preserve Master Plan.
  • Work alongside and engage with stewardship volunteers and participate in outreach events like guided preserve walks or Rushton Nature Keeper events.

Watershed Protection:

  • Work with Watershed Team to assist with field work throughout the headwaters of Ridley, Crum and Darby Creek including scheduled monthly water sampling and macroinvertebrate analysis of ten sites throughout the program area.
  • Participate in equipment monitoring efforts at four EnviroDIY sensor stations and participate in routine equipment maintenance, data collection, analysis and dispersal of information to a general audience.
  • Assist with Spring and Fall Riparian Tree plantings at Ashbridge Preserve. Activities will include moving planting supplies, planting trees and shrubs in a riparian zone and volunteer management as well as ongoing maintenance of the planting area throughout the internship period.
  • Support citizen science activities, including coordination of volunteer data collection, water sample analysis and education activities with partners at Stroud Water Research Center and Darby Creek Watershed Association and learn about the role of anthropogenic activities and the impact on freshwater ecosystems in rural and suburban watersheds.

Community Farm:

  • Work with community farm volunteers on Wednesdays and assist with field work on the 6-acre, organic Rushton Farm, which provides food for a 125 family CSA membership as well as dedicated crops for a donation garden for the West Chester Food Cupboard.

Bird Conservation:

  • Observe activities of the bird conservation program as opportunities arise.


  • Conduct an independent research project that supports the Trust’s mission and focuses on one or more of the Trust’s program areas.
  • Set goals and objectives to ensure successful completion of the project.
  • Mentorship and guidance provided by the Director of Stewardship with weekly meetings and support from relevant staff on project design.
  • Present the project either orally or in writing via the Trust’s blog and/or newsletters.
  • Contribute to the Trust’s outreach efforts via the blog, social media, virtual or in person events.


  • A recent college graduate, graduate student or those in pursuit of a college degree in landscape architecture, natural resource management, ecology, biology, geography, arboriculture, environmental sciences, or other related field.
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a close-knit team as needed.
  • Ability to communicate positively and effectively with a full range of professionals, landowners, WCT constituents and contractors.
  • Knowledge of ecological and landscape restoration principles and best practices.
  • Ability to manage and prioritize multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Basic plant identification skills including knowledge of native and invasive plant species.
  • Familiarity with invasive plant management techniques and methods.
  • Ability to work with basic hand and power tools, including chainsaws.
  • Knowledge of ArcGIS software a plus.
  • Enthusiasm, a good sense of humor, and a passion for the Trust’s mission.


  • A four-month stipend of $8,000.
  • A public transportation and gear stipend may be available based on need.
  • Equal opportunity employer.
  • Smoke free office.
  • Dog-friendly office.

How to Apply

Send cover letter, resume, and three references to:

Andrew Kirkpatrick, Director of Stewardship
Willistown Conservation Trust
925 Providence Road
Newtown Square, PA 19073
610-325-0869 (fax)
[email protected]