2018 Anna Beal Intern Crew
2018 Anna Beal Intern Crew Interns pose after their first prescribed fire. © TNC

Stories in Iowa

Anna Beal Internship Program

The Anna Beal Internship provides a lasting educational experience and forges new friendships.

Cathy - 2018 Anna Beal Intern
2018 Anna Beal Intern Cathy © Dan Smith/TNC

The Anna Beal Trust, founded in 1974, is the primary funding source for the summer intern program. The benefactors of the Trust were Ed and Anna Beal, farmers from Black Hawk County. They wanted to provide educational opportunities for deserving Iowa youth by providing scholarships for college students, who without financial assistance could not obtain a college education.

As an Anna Beal intern, students have the opportunity to learn basic land stewardship and ecological management while working in Iowa’s diverse landscapes. For 11 weeks, from May until August, the intern crew will travel the state and accomplish a variety of land management tasks on a number of preserves owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy and other conservation entities, such as County Conservation Boards and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Interns will have opportunities to interact with a variety of conservation professionals, sometimes while assisting with land management on preserves owned by other agencies and organizations. Interns may also have an opportunity to attend public events such as the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar and Iowa Prairie Conference, which provide excellent opportunities to interact with many knowledgeable conservationists in Iowa.

Anna Beal interns will be exposed to a number of management tools and techniques, including using and maintaining chainsaws and other power tools, collecting native seeds and performing invasive species control. While actual controlled burn experience is not guaranteed, students will have the opportunity to complete basic wildland fire training (S130 and S190). These National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) courses are the basic training required for employment as a firefighter by many federal and state agencies and are required by TNC and many partner agencies for participation on prescribed burns.

Anna Beal Interns work hard and the internship requires physically fit and motivated individuals who demonstrate a sincere desire to learn about land management and Iowa's natural heritage. While the work is physically demanding, interns will gain invaluable hands-on experience and exposure to a variety of techniques and skills. While most interns major in environmental science, forestry, or a related subject, students from any major are encouraged to apply. No prior experience is required, only a willingness to learn and a desire to work hard.