Hamm Internship Endowment

Make a Difference | Help Create Opportunities for Young Change-Makers

Allegheny Land Trust will employ its tenth annual “Hamm Intern” at the Wingfield Pines Conservation Area this Summer! Every year since 2012, a passionate and knowledgeable student of the environment has worked with us at this special conservation area to maintain and enhance the land, improve plant and wildlife habitat, conduct educational and scientific programming, and be the face of ALT to the conservation area’s many visitors during the busy summer season.  

Far more than simply a good summer job, the internship provides a truly outstanding opportunity each year for one college- or graduate-level student in an environmental field. The intern in this position can apply their classroom learnings and further explore their career interests through hands-on application in a working outdoor laboratory. 

Wingfield Pines is a better place thanks to a decade of service from Hamm Interns, most of whom have leveraged their internship experience as a building block to successful conservation or environmental careers. Please see the enclosed sheet for examples of how Wingfield and the interns have benefitted from this special program. 

The internship was established a decade ago in memory of John Hamm, a board member of the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Fund (PAEDF) and a tireless advocate for Chartiers Creek. Generous donations at the time from PAEDF and Mr. Hamm’s friends and family created the initial fund that enabled the internship to be established.  

Unfortunately, that initial fund’s investment proceeds do not cover the total cost of the internship each year, leaving ALT to cover more than $1,500 of costs out of the organization’s regular operating cash flow. This annual deficit could be permanently funded by an increase of $30,000 in the Hamm Internship Fund.  

On this, the 10th Anniversary of its creation, we’re launching a fundraising campaign to raise the $30,000 necessary to guarantee the sustainability of the Hamm Internship in perpetuity. We are respectfully requesting your assistance in reaching this goal.  

Please contribute today to ensure that this program will always provide deserving students with career-building opportunities while improving this cherished conservation area selecting “Hamm Internship Endowment” while using our online donation form at the button below. 

THE HAMM INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY

The Hamm Internship provides a well-rounded immersion into a multitude of conservation and environmental topics that vary by the day and by the year. While no two Hamm Intern experiences are the same due to different property needs and circumstances, they all: 

  • Communicate the land’s unique attributes, critical habitats and resources, rules and regulations, and education and recreation opportunities to visitors. 
  • Lead interpretive walks of the abandoned mine drainage (AMD) treatment system. 
  • Participate in scientific research occurring on site. 
  • Coordinate and lead volunteer events. 
  • Make presentations and represent ALT at community events and meetings with community members, local authorities, and volunteers.  
  • Assist with hands-on management plan implementation, invasive species control, and native habitat development. 
  • Perform maintenance of trails, signs, parking areas, and other visitor facilities using tractors, mowers, small power equipment, and hand tools.  
  • Maintain accurate records of activities, events, and happenings on the land.  

In addition to regular day-to-day responsibilities, Hamm Interns have: 

  • Led sign design, purchase, and installation projects, including the “living roof” property kiosk, AMD interpretive signage, and habitat signs.  
  • Planned and overseen volunteer programs to remove invasive plant species and to plant native tree and shrubs in their place to promote a healthy ecosystem. 
  • Facilitated community efforts to build and install bird, bat, and waterfowl boxes.  
  • Performed special maintenance on the AMD system. 
  • Created the Wingfield Pines Facebook Page, and Friends-Of Group. 
  • Conducted bird and wildlife censuses. 
  • Recorded water flow and iron levels to monitor the AMD system performance. 
  • Created new trails to increase access to the southern portion of the conservation area to make connections to neighboring Boyce-Mayview Park and complete much needed repairs to the wetland boardwalk. 

Stories from Past Hamm Interns

SHANNON POWERS – 2012

Pursuing dual majors in Environmental Studies and History at NYU, Shannon developed an appreciation for the importance of community building and communications in the non-profit world and credits her time as a Hamm Intern with providing hands-on exposure in those areas.  “As an intern at Wingfield Pines I did a lot of physical outdoor work as you’d expect, but I was grateful that ALT was willing to tailor my internship to focus on my professional interests in nonprofit communications, event planning, and community building, which are all skills that I apply in my career today,” she said. 

Shannon, a communications/development professional at a large New York City hospital network says the Hamm Internship helped to foster personal interests as well.  “I loved getting to know the environmental world and remain involved where I live now,” adding that “Yes, NYC has a thriving community of naturalists and outdoors people too!”

DAN DOUGHERTY – 2014

Dan was a new graduate of Slippery Rock University with a degree in Environmental Studies/Geography when he landed the Hamm Internship. “Wingfield Pines is an amazing place—so much natural diversity with the woods, the meadows, the ponds, Chartiers Creek, and the AMD system— I just really loved digging in every day and working on the land, assuming full responsibility for what happened there from day-to-day, being a part of the ALT team, dealing with the issues that come with managing a large property, coordinating volunteers of varying skills and interests, and getting to know many of Wingfield’s regular visitors. It was a great first professional experience that

led directly to my current job.”

Dan is now a project manager/superintendent at one of the region’s leading green-build companies and is currently leading the construction of a net-zero energy building.

GARRETT STRUBLE – 2018

As a Biology major entering his senior year at Duquesne University, Garrett Struble found the Hamm Internship to be “an amazing learning opportunity that provided firsthand exposure to the management complexities of land conservation.” After graduation he continued at Duquesne in pursuit of a master’s degree in Conservation Biology and hopes to work as a wildlife conservationist upon earning his degree in May 2021.

“My work at Wingfield Pines was the perfect transition to my master’s work and inspired me to do my thesis on abandoned mine drainage remediation. Wingfield’s AMD treatment system showed me the importance of developing land management strategies that consider a property’s unique environmental issues and demonstrated that unsustainable land use has implications that reach far into the future.”

LORI KOFALT – 2019

Lori had just earned her diploma in Horticulture Technology from the Bidwell Training Center in Pittsburgh when she took on the role of Hamm Intern in the Summer of 2019. Now the Community Greenspace Services Coordinator at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, she says the Hamm internship provided her with an introduction to the conservation field and helped her to make valuable connections with other conservation organizations.

“I was able to participate in trail building, had the opportunity to use GIS (which I use every day in my current position), learned how to solicit in-kind donations, and worked with ALT staff on educational programs, community outreach and volunteer events, and the coordination of contractors,” Lori says. She joined the WPC staff shortly after completing her summer as ALT’s Hamm intern.

JOSH WEILAND – 2020

“The Hamm Internship really allowed me the freedom and support to explore my interests. I felt uplifted by the ALT staff and urged to follow through on projects that I was passionate about enabling me to more accurately define my aspirations,” says Josh. He had just completed his junior year at Chatham University as a Sustainability major when he worked at Wingfield Pines.

After completing the internship, Josh accepted a position as a Sustainability and Resiliency Metrics Assistant within the Office of Sustainability at Chatham as he also works to completes his degree. Upon graduation he intends to pursue career interests in the areas of corporate social responsibility and the intersection between our ecological and urban worlds.

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