Forest Management and Rural Communities Apprenticeship

Website Sierra Institute for Community and Environment

The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment is looking for two motivated individuals to fill the positions of Forest Management and Rural Communities apprentices. The selected applicants will work at the intersection of community and natural resources on collaborative forest and watershed restoration. Work will include both applied research and capacity-building work to promote resilient forest ecosystems and rural communities. Occasional travel to rural communities throughout the state to conduct related work and research will be required. Apprenticeships will last a minimum of six months, but may be extended up to nine months. Apprenticeships are expected to begin in January/February and continue through June/July. Positions are open until filled, review of applications will begin on December 13, 2019.

Job Duties: Selected candidates will have the opportunity to advance their knowledge and professional skills while contributing to meaningful outcomes for rural communities and landscapes through involvement with a suite of Sierra Institute projects. Project areas described below provide an overview of the core efforts apprentices will contribute to. These are meant to provide a general understanding of the position, and may not capture all responsibilities.

Collaborative Restoration Planning and Forest Management: The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment is working in partnership with the South Lassen Watersheds Group, a collaborative planning for the future of forest management, climate resilience, and economic development in critical upper watersheds, to accelerate restoration across a 600,000-acre focal landscape. In support of this work, the apprentice may work with staff to identify models from across the country, provide background research support for environmental planning, and engage in an array of field activities including forest monitoring and inventory, project preparation work, and implementation of fuels reduction and forest restoration.

Disadvantaged Community and Tribal Involvement: The Sierra Institute’s disadvantaged communities work includes identification, outreach, and engagement of disadvantaged communities for inclusion in Integrated Regional Water Management activities; coordinating technical assistance projects; and coordinating a ‘lessons learned’ summit. As part of this work, the apprentice may collect and manage relevant socioeconomic data, support Tribal engagement, conduct research related to water policy, and assist with coordination of groups and meetings.

Collaborative Natural Resource Management:  The Sierra Institute is actively engaged with a number of collaboratives working to advance landscape scale, cross-boundary forest restoration while improving local socioeconomic conditions. Our work includes facilitation and coordination of individual groups, research to identify and address shared barriers to success among these groups. Apprentice duties related to this work may include forest and watershed management research, collaborative forestry policy analysis, interview assistance, and extensive meeting coordination support.

Community Capacity Building and Biomass Utilization Support: The decline of the timber industry has left many rural communities across the West with severe challenges related to poverty, unemployment, and low institutional capacity, as well as a continued need to manage forests.  Our work engages communities throughout the Sierra and Cascades to build community capacity for economic development, largely through wood utilization. Selected candidates will work alongside Sierra Institute staff to assess community capacity for wood utilization and project management, nurture rural community leaders, and support community-scale wood utilization projects.

General Organizational Support: As a member of Sierra Institute’s professional staff, the apprentice will contribute to the organization’s overall pursuit of its mission. Responsibilities may include participating on field trips with youth, assisting with administrative duties in the main office, or other organizational support activities.



  • An undergraduate or advanced degree in the social science, natural resources or related field;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Experience with qualitative and/or quantitative social science research methods;
  • Basic understanding of land management policies, and natural resource issues such as wildfire forestry, and ecological restoration;
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel);
  • A willingness to work and live in a rural, mountainous area that receives snow and ice in winter;
  • A team-oriented perspective with a productive level of self-guidance and initiative;
  • An ability to bring critical thinking skills, creativity, and laughter to the workplace;
  • A personal vehicle for transportation outside of work;
  • Experience living and/or working in a rural setting and a strong desire to learn about rural issues.


  • Demonstrated knowledge of collaborative resource management and community involvement;
  • In-depth experience conducting community surveys and/or stakeholder interviews;
  • Experience with online surveys, webinars, website management, and/or utilizing other computer software programs;
  • Experience using ESRI ArcGIS.

More Details

About the Sierra Institute: The Sierra Institute promotes healthy forests, watersheds, and communities by investing in the well-being of rural communities and strengthening their participation in natural resource management. Our work is grounded by the concept of triple bottom line values, supporting initiatives that simultaneously benefit the environment, economy, and equity within a given landscape.

Location: Sierra Institute is located in Taylorsville, CA (population 154), and lies within an area referred to as “Indian Valley” that includes the communities of Greenville and Crescent Mills. Indian Valley offers uniquely rural community events and is surrounded by many outdoor recreation opportunities such as hiking, biking, and climbing within its surrounding public lands including Plumas National Forest, Lassen National Forest, and Lassen Volcanic National Park.


Please send your resume, cover letter, and contact information for three references as one pdf to with “Forest Management and Rural Communities Apprenticeship Spring 2020” in the subject line. Please include where you heard about the job in the text of the email (please be as specific as possible). Position is open until filled, though review of applications will begin on December 15, 2019. Please call Kyle or Tracy at 530.284.1022 if you have questions.

To apply for this job email your details to