IN-17025 Energy Intern for the Northern Great Plains


World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization, seeks an Energy Intern for the Northern Great Plains (NGP) program.

WWF Background:

WWF’s NGP program is working to establish a living prairie in the heart of North America by protecting habitat, restoring wildlife and working with communities to ensure that conservation is sustainable. The NGP spans more than 180 million acres and crosses five U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Our long-term goal is to safeguard this ruggedly beautiful and iconic American landscape in ways that enable wildlife to rebound while supporting healthy communities. We recognize that conserving the NGP goes hand-in-hand with sustaining the rural communities who live here. WWF supports grasslands and those who live here, identifying conservation solutions that help both thrive.


The Badlands is the common and historic term used to describe a large geographic region in western North Dakota. The Little Missouri River runs through the heart of it, and the Little Missouri National Grassland – managed by the US Forest Service – comprises over 1 million acres of the area. Private lands, state lands, other federal lands, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park (the only national park in North Dakota) complete the mosaic. The Badlands harbor some of the richest diversity of plants and wildlife in the state as well as important cultural and community resources.


The Bakken and Three Forks oil-bearing formations underlay these grasslands, and new technologies in the oil and gas industry have allowed developers to tap into previously inaccessible oil and gas resources. The state had roughly 4,500 producing wells in 2009; by November 2015, the number of wells had grown to over 13,000. Many analysts are currently predicting up to 40,000 new wells by 2035. When such rapid development occurs, managing growth and integrating the viewpoints of all local stakeholders is challenging. Although North Dakotans recognize the importance of the jobs and revenue that the oil and gas industry has created since the boom began, many also are concerned about impacts to the Badlands and its associated grasslands and wildlife. The Badlands provide a unique opportunity and challenge for how to develop oil resources and minimize impacts to wildlife, ranching, and the historic culture of the Badlands region.


In response to these concerns, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) began working with conservation partners in the Badlands in fall 2014. WWF recognizes that to be successful in the state a clear understanding of North Dakota culture and values, the process of oil and gas development, and conservation on a landscape-scale is needed.


Position Overview:

The Energy Intern will work with the Energy Program Officer in research needs related to WWF’s project in the North Dakota badlands. In this position, the intern will assist or lead research projects such as, but not limited to: learning about the process of leasing and developing oil resources on private, state, and federal lands; landowner rights and educational resources available to landowners; and state and federal policies to balance energy development with conservation. The intern will have some ability to choose projects in which they are most interested. He or she may present their findings to the NGP team through presentations, reports, or white papers. The research will inform WWF strategy, and the intern may participate in strategy and planning meetings. The energy internship position also provides an opportunity to work one-on-one with the Energy Program Officer along with other appropriate WWF staff and learn how a large conservation nonprofit operates.


The position may be based in the WWF NGP field office in Bozeman, MT or based remotely. If the intern were based in the Bozeman office, he or she would need to provide his or her own laptop. If the intern were remote, he or she would have regular contact with their supervisor, the Energy Program Officer, by phone, e-mail, and webinar mediums. The internship will last approximately one college semester (Spring 2017), and it requires the intern to earn college credit for their service.


Over the course of the semester, the intern will do the following:

  • Research topics related to WWF’s project in the North Dakota badlands such as, but not limited to energy development, landowner rights and education, and federal and state policy;
  • Present the findings of the research project(s) through presentations to the NGP team or through written products, such as reports or white papers;
  • Communicate regularly with the Energy Program Officer on his or her progress; and
  • Assist the Energy Program Officer as needed.



The position is best suited for college undergraduates to M.S. level students with strong research and writing skills. Students focused on natural resources management, wildlife management, natural sciences, environmental studies, or environmental policy are preferred. Experience or familiarity with energy issues and federal land management agencies is also preferred.

Additionally, the ideal candidate will demonstrate the following:

  • Enthusiasm for WWF’s mission and the NGP vision;
  • Ability to conduct scientific and policy research and synthesis;
  • Ability to work collaboratively with the WWF team and work with minimal supervision;
  • Ability to stay organized and self-motivated;
  • Outstanding attention to detail;
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills; and
  • Proficient with Microsoft office software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access).


The position will be based either in WWF’s Bozeman office or remote. If remote, the intern can be located anywhere within the U.S. Only U.S. applicants can be accepted at this time.


Unpaid. For all unpaid internships, applicants must be enrolled in school and be able to obtain academic course credit from their university.


How to apply: Please submit a resume & cover letter through our Careers page. , IN-17025


* Please note that WWF does not provide VISA sponsorship to interns

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