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

Target Outcomes

Short Term Outcomes

TeenNat participants will:

  • Develop hiking skills and confidence in the outdoors including being able to describe the “Three Living Dangers” to consider when hiking in Northern California: ticks, rattlesnakes, and poison oak
  • Increase their desire to spend time in nature
  • Identify native plants and animals including redwoods, sword ferns, and associated species
  • Increase knowledge of the scientific process including being able to describe sword ferns as an indicator of climate change
  • Demonstrate plant identification, photography, orienteering, and GPS skills
  • Increase their awareness of careers in the natural sciences

Long Term Outcomes

  • Increase in individuals enrolled in STEM higher education programs
  • Increase in individuals employed in STEM careers
  • Increase in citizen scientists contributing to scientific research
  • Increase in individuals committed to environmental stewardship
  • Increased community value for the environment

Target Population


  • Kindergarten  - 12th Grade

Service Area

  • Northeast (District 4)

    Program Implementers

    The following organizations implement this program locally:


     Pepperwood Preserve Foundation

    Program Funders

    Many thanks to the following funders for making this program possible.

    Local Funders

    • Community Foundation Sonoma County

    Other Funders

    • Dean Witter Foundation
    • Miranda Lux Foundation