TeenNat is a workplace internship program where diverse youth ages 13-18 learn about natural resource careers through participation in scientific research. We aim for 24-28 participants each year that reflect the ethnic demographics of Sonoma County. Bilingual fliers and applications are emailed to over 75 partners, staff at over fifteen high schools and middle schools, TeenNat alumni, and non-profit partners, including other organizations. Staff visit local high school and career fairs. 105 youth have taken part in TeenNat to date.
The five-week TeenNat conservation science summer internship combines outdoor exploration, technology, social media, photography, and forest ecology. Interns are trained to use Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers and digital cameras to document species and their locations via expeditions on the preserve. Using laptops to manage this data, interns share and upload their observations. Interns also participate in annual sword fern monitoring in our redwood forest. To enhance their field time, interns take part in lessons on a range of topics and attend a Career Day luncheon. TeenNat alumni are kept engaged through alumni events which include environmentally themed conferences and visits to partner sites. In addition to events, we also provide alumni with job, internship, and career information via regular online and one on one communication. Alumni are also eligible to apply to serve as paid TeenNat Assistants and publish on our blog.
Accepted to the Portfolio: March 2017