Natural Environment Intern- October 2022

An Taisce is a statutory consultee for forestry and aquaculture. We assess these applications for possible ecological impact, and to determine if they have identified all of the ecological sensitives of the area, and whether they are abiding by the relevant legislation, both Irish and European, in safeguarding them.

Working within An Taisce's Advocacy Unit as an integral part of the Natural Environment Office an intern can expect to receive practical experience in many facets of planning and environmental policy with a particular focus on afforestation and aquaculture licensing.

Whilst no practical experience is required the ideal candidate will be highly motivated and demonstrate the ability to work independently. In addition you will be able to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the public purpose underlying An Taisce and show empathy with its vision, mission, goals and objectives;
  • Basic knowledge and interest of planning and environmental policy issues particularly in relation to the natural environment;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills together with competence in MS Office applications.
  •  A minimum BSc in a relevant discipline is required, an MSc is desirable.

The intern role is expected to last for 4-6 months, and will be fully remote.

Description of Role:

Your primary function is to review and respond to forestry applications. This involves familiarising yourself with forestry policy and practice, in addition to the relevant policy such as the Wildlife Act, the Birds and Habitats Directives, the EIA Directive, the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Each application must be reviewed in regard to its location, and the nearby ecological vulnerabilities. From this you will gain a thorough grounding in the requirements of the Birds and Habitats Directives and the Wildlife Act. You will learn the geographical location of many of the SACs and SPAs in Ireland, and the sensitives of the protected species/habitats in these areas, and how development may threaten them. You will also gain a thorough understanding of the forestry application process and environmental assessment procedures.

It is likely that you may also have the opportunity to work on aquaculture licence applications, in addition to ecologically sensitive planning applications, reviewing the corresponding environmental assessments provided by the developers. An Taisce is heavily involved in the planning process, and strong environmental oversight and critique is an essential part of our submissions. This will involve familiarising yourself with the Planning and Development Regulations, and Irish and European case law.

Small pieces of research work may also be required, in addition to proof-reading and editing policy and planning submissions. You will also be responsible for updating and organising existing databases.

Learnings from this internship

You will receive informal training in:

  • Ecological and conservation issues associated with the different sectors as well as relevant environmental policy.
  • On completion of the internship you will have attained skills in research, analysis, and writing and will have learnt to communicate your work effectively.
  • Administrative and organisational skills, time management and teamwork are all important learnings the internship has to offer.

Details of internship and application

The position will be fully remote. The role will be part time, approximately 2 days a week, with flexible hours/days (negotiable). The successful candidate must have access to their own computer, but travel/office expenses will be covered. There is currently no other funding available for this post.

Please forward your Cover Letter, CV and a sample of your written work to the Natural Environment Officer, Elaine McGoff, at [email protected]. The sample should be 500 to 2,500 words in length and can be an extract from a longer document. You have discretion over the piece you select (e.g. academic pieces, newspaper pieces, report for college assignments etc); there is no set format. Our aim is to assess your functional writing skills. The closing date for applications is 24th October 2022, but late applications may be considered. 

 Feedback from previous interns:

“The natural environment internship with An Taisce provided great experience and insight into environmental advocacy. I learned a great deal about Irish environmental policy and had the opportunity to work on a diverse, exciting range of projects and policy submissions. Throughout the internship, Elaine provided fantastic training and guidance while allowing me to carry out independent work. Overall, this internship has given me valuable knowledge that I will use throughout my career and life. I would highly recommend applying for this internship role!  “

-Elizabeth Quinn-Sheridan 

“The natural environment internship was a great way to gain an insight into the Irish environmental sector. I learned about a wide range of topics, such as biodiversity and ecosystems, planning, forestry, and water. During my internship, I was encouraged to delve into topics of my own interest and given the opportunity to experience working as an environmental advocate, preparing policy submissions, joining meetings and getting hands-on with publicity stunts. Elaine and the An Taisce team are brilliant, providing support and guidance as well as being fun to work with. If you want to work in the environmental sector and feel like your work has a positive impact, this internship is a great chance to get involved and learn the intricacies of environmental advocacy!” 

-Laura Niessen

“The natural environment internship with An Taisce was an invaluable experience in my professional career. I learned how to apply complicated environmental policy to practical, real-world circumstances. I gained experience translating technical information from studies and regulations into analysis for a more general audience. I was mentored and trained in what was expected, but also given the time and space to be self-directed and proactive. I’ve used all of these skills in my subsequent positions and feel that my time at An Taisce has been instrumental in my career development and upward mobility over the last few years. In addition to the wonderful education I gained there, I found it to be an exceptionally welcoming and fun place to work. I will always be grateful for my experience at An Taisce and for the opportunity to work with such amazing people.”

-Annie Allen

The Natural Environment internship with An Taisce is a fantastic opportunity to get hands-on experience in environmental advocacy and policy. An Taisce is at the forefront of environmental advocacy in Ireland, and the position provides a plethora of exciting projects and opportunities to be involved in. My time with An Taisce allowed me to play an important role in a ton of exciting projects ranging from forestry and biodiversity, aquaculture, climate change adaptation. Applying the same policies and directives that I learned in the classroom in a real-world setting with real-world implications was an incredible experience, and I gained new perspectives and learned more than I could have in a classroom. 

Elaine is a wonderful supervisor who provides guidance and support, and the rest of the An Taisce team made me truly feel like an important contributing team member. The Natural Environment Internship position enabled me to develop several professional skills such as research, analysis, report writing, and project management which have served me incredibly well since. As the Natural Environment Casework intern, you play an important role in work that truly matters, and you see the results everyday!

-Dan Vise