We are currently seeking an intern to work in our Natural Environment Office.

An Taisce is a prescribed body for forestry, aquaculture and dumping at sea permits. 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 gained in all 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 and ideally an MSc is desirable. 

The Intern role is expected to last for 4-6 months, and will initially 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

We will ensure you 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 initially be fully remote, with the potential for some office based work (Covid allowing) at our headquarters in Tailors' Hall, Back Lane, Christchurch, Dublin 8. The role will be part time, approximately 2-3 days a week, with flexible hours (negotiable). There is currently no 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.

Feedback from a previous intern

“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!”