Conservation Training Program

Since 2019 City Engineering has offered two seasonal Conservation Trainee positions. Trainees in this growing seasonal program perform restoration field work on the City’s stormwater land, including ponds, greenways and rain gardens.

Interns seed collecting

Duties, Responsibilities

  • Remove invasive plants by manual, mechanical or chemical means including digging, hand pulling, power brush cutting, foliar spraying, cut-stump treatments and others.
  • Learn to identify and inventory common plant species, especially highly problematic invasive species.
  • Plant and care for desirable plants including plugs, seedlings or seeds.
  • Collect native seeds for use on greenways and ponds under the guidance of staff.
  • Make informed decisions about restoration approaches on ponds and greenways under the guidance of the Greenway Vegetation Coordinator and/or Conservation Technician.
  • Evaluate city rain gardens and medians for invasive species, safety/vision hazards, look and plant health. Remove undesirable vegetation as necessary.
  • Work with and provide guidance to Operation Fresh Start (OFS) youth crew members under supervision of the OFS crew leader and/or Greenway Vegetation Coordinator.
  • Provide guidance to volunteers in the field.
  • Field and/or direct inquires about restoration work from residents.

Intern Dan Seed Collecting

Minimum Qualifications

Interest in learning about native Wisconsin plants and habitats, invasive plant identification and control techniques, and ecological restoration techniques and theory.

AND at least one of the following:

  • Previous participation in Operation Fresh Start Conservation Crews OR participation in Briarpatch Youth Services Madison Summer Team, Cream City Conservation Group, or similar.


  • Three or more months experience working in the field in any of the following capacities: restoration ecology related position; landscaping; farming; forestry; or experience in vegetation management such as identifying native and invasive plants and pursuing invasive plant control or related. 


  • Currently enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree or higher program in Restoration Ecology, Landscape Architecture, Conservation, Forestry, Wildlife Ecology, Horticulture, Environmental Studies, Biology or related field.

Special Requirements

  • Possession of a valid driver’s license.
  • Possession of a Wisconsin Commercial Pesticide Applicator’s License in Right-of-Way/Natural areas within 45 days of start of position (City can provide study materials and limited work time for completion of licensure process).

Physical Requirements

  • Must be able to lift up to 25 pounds frequently and 50 pounds occasionally.
  • Must be able to walk on uneven terrain.
  • Must be able to perform sustained physical activity under a variety of conditions including heat, humidity, sun, rain, etc.

The Conservation Trainee position runs from May to mid-November and is a full-time, 40 hour a week seasonal post. Accommodations may be possible for those with limited seasonal availability, i.e. students, teachers, etc. The application typically opens in January; check and search “Conservation Trainee.”

Was this page helpful to you?