Field Biology Internship Programs

Growing knowledge. Inspiring action.

How can science and communications benefit the whole community of life here in the Carolina Piedmont?

Carolina Wildlands Foundation (CWF) Field Biology Internships hopes to answer that question.

By working with local universities training field biologists to understand our wildest of kin — native plants and animals.

By engaging more communications leaders to share compelling stories that speak for those species.

By presenting more landowners with a call to action to protect and restore the natural places they call home.

More field biologists, more creative communicators, and more conservation landowners means the whole community of life benefits.

  • CWF Field Biology Internships can help maximize the impact of biology and communications programs at Carolina colleges and universities.
  • We encourage a multidisciplinary approach to field research projects that include Nature videography, creative writing, graphic arts, history, and other disciplines. This benefits students beyond field biology and provides the opportunity to tell the story of our local native ecosystems to the larger community.
  • CWF offers students logistics support, learning stipends and project expenses, and deep immersive experiences through on-site internships in a one-of-a-kind nature preserve.
  • Student and faculty researchers have full use of our research field station during the internship period.
  • Research projects can generate much broader ecological impact in the Carolinas when students share solid field research with compelling stories of discovery written in lay terms enhanced with great graphics.

Our primary study area is a biological field station, Southern 8ths, over 1,400 acres of preserved property spanning parts of Chesterfield, South Carolina and Anson County, North Carolina. This  central location is on the edge of the Carolinas’ largest landforms – the Piedmont Plateau and the Coastal Plain. Southern 8ths is an ideal biological laboratory with upland and bottomland hardwood forest, planted and native pines, reclaimed native grasslands and prairies, freshwater ponds, wetlands, and streams, all supporting healthy, diverse communities of native plants and wildlife.

After centuries of farming, 90% of the property is undergoing conservation and ecological restoration to reclaim the land for Nature.  The Carolina Wildlands Foundation oversees long-term land stewardship in conjunction with the Field Biology Internships Program.

The research field station offers the following facilities:

  • a large learning center with high-speed internet, LCD projector and screen & sound system
  • shared kitchen/dining area and men’s/women’s bathrooms with showers
  • overnight accommodations including group tents with cots for student Fellows and guest houses for faculty researchers
  • a secure equipment storage room

CWF encourages students and their faculty mentors to identify ideas, projects and programs that can help bring the complicated stories of climate change, extinction, and man’s role in the environment into focus in understandable terms. Working together we can ensure that the Carolinas region is a leader in true biodiversity conservation, and a healthy place to live.

The goal is to illustrate how seemingly small natural areas, when maintained as quality habitat, can impact the Earth’s overall health, and reveal how one piece of property can support thousands of species. To achieve this end, the plan is to identify the various species (terrestrial and aquatic) that make up our native ecosystems and identify the important roles they play in the overall biodiversity of where we live – and, ultimately, their impact on the well-being of our human communities.  Essentially, we are helping to explain to others why a beetle or a bobcat,  a mushroom or a maple, and a water snake or a wild turkey are all worth saving.

Working collaboratively with the schools to create and tell the stories of their research, we can make science accessible and understandable to all – especially large landowners who can use our findings to improve their land use practices.  We help create the story in print, electronically and on social media.  Together, our goal is to advance our shared understanding of native ecosystems, and work to engage, inspire and educate landowners, neighbors, and family members to take greater responsibility as ecological stewards of our natural inheritance.

  • Trends show that most of today’s college biology majors who pursue scientific careers choose laboratory-based research that involves little or no field experience. This trend leaves a disturbing hole in the areas of science needed to fight the environmental battles we all face. We hope to change that by cultivating CWF Interns who know the benefits of understanding and protecting Nature and, in doing so, the overall public welfare.
  • Research published in scientific journals is essential to advancing the understanding of Nature among scientists, yet it is frequently unfathomable for those not well versed in scientific principles or jargon. Beyond the alarm call of “climate change” from the major news outlets, there is little useful information presented about what a landowner can do on their land to make a difference — whether it be ways to sequester more carbon or save the habitat of moths to save the birds that feed off them. By immersing themselves in the study of our local ecosystems and sharing what they learn, the CWF Interns can be a voice for Nature and a guide for landowners.
  • Our primary focus for these programs will be with smaller universities in the Carolinas, who may lack access to protected research sites and whose enrollment mirrors the ethnic diversity diversity of our region. Our goal is to have diverse and passionate groups of Interns who help retain Nature’s diversity beyond their time working here with us.
  • The Carolina Piedmont region, while rich in ecological diversity, is the least studied Carolina land type and is overshadowed by the Coastal Plain and the Blue Ridge Mountains from a research perspective. It’s time that the Piedmont gets the level of study it deserves.
  • While the Piedmont covers almost 1/3rd of North and South Carolina it also contains the largest potential development areas, including Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, Charlotte, Columbia, Greenville and Spartanburg and has the highest potential for the further loss of ecological habitat and native species.
  • We believe the owners of tracts 50 to 5,000 acres in size in the Carolinas are in an unusual position to make a difference for the good of Nature.
  • By sharing solid ecological research with compelling stories written in lay terms, we can create much broader impact to protect and restore biological diversity, and quality of life for all Carolinians.
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