Fellowship Program

Shaping Tomorrow’s Conservation Leaders

Each summer, twelve students spend eight weeks with The Piedmont Environmental Council, a placed-base, community-supported conservation nonprofit, to gain a firsthand look into how we achieve environmental and social change in our communities.

Are you an undergraduate or recent graduate interested in learning more about a career in environmental conservation? If so, you should consider applying for the 17th annual Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) Fellowship Program! Twelve students will be selected for this unique opportunity to spend the summer living and learning with other current and future activists and decision-makers in the environmental movement.

The PEC Fellowship Program is much more than an internship! It’s an immersive experience that promises personalized experiences and practical knowledge and skills for transitioning into various career fields, such as:

  • Public policy and law
  • Land conservation
  • Grassroots advocacy
  • Land use/regional planning 
  • Habitat management and restoration
  • Renewable energy
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Historic preservation
  • Environmental fieldwork
  • Nonprofit leadership, development and communications
  • Geographic information systems (GIS) mapping
  • and more!

Application deadline: February 21, 2023
Program dates: June 5 – July 28, 2023

PEC Fellows walk in a field

Eligibility and Application

This program is a professional development opportunity designed for undergraduate students and recent grads interested in environmental stewardship, land conservation, historic preservation, community planning, agriculture, and other related fields.
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The hybrid eight-week program gives participants a practical and comprehensive understanding of the role of nonprofit and local engagement in addressing complex and interdisciplinary environmental issues faced by communities today.

Five weeks of the program will be online through Google Meet/Zoom, featuring Socratic seminar-style classroom discussions, guest lectures, and assignments to practice knowledge and skill application. Three weeks will be devoted to an in-person stay in Northern Virginia, with off-site excursions to conservation properties owned by PEC and key sites in our nine-county area and the City of Charlottesville. Fellows will be engaged in hands-on activities, fieldwork, educational tours, and recreation – from hikes at state and national parks to a float down the Rappahannock River. Along the way, fellows will explore how individual and collective action can shape the short and long-term futures of communities, the climate, and the environment as a whole.

The program culminates in a collaborative real–world practicum, during which fellows will choose a research focus of interest based on a particular aspect of PEC’s work in the Virginia Piedmont.

Fellows on a tour of the Bruce Jones Nature Sanctuary

Academic Portion

The academic portion of the fellowship includes a combination of classroom sessions, hands-on activities, and field trips.
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Research Practicum

Research Practicum

For the final three weeks of the program, the fellows focus on a collaborative practicum, designed to meet their expressed skills and interests.
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Stipend and accommodations

PEC covers all program-related expenses and provides each fellow with a stipend of $325 per week to cover living expenses. For the three weeks in-person, PEC will provide dual occupancy lodging/hotel accommodations and offer a travel reimbursement, subject to prior approval, to cover the cost of getting to and from the Virginia Piedmont (i.e. airfare, gas mileage).

We encourage you to apply to the PEC Fellowship Program if you:

  • want to broaden your environmental knowledge and gain new perspectives;
  • are interested in a local, interdisciplinary, and multi-sector approach to environmental work;
  • want to explore how policy, conservation science, and advocacy intersect on the ground, in the real world;
  • hold space for nuance and complexity in problem-solving;
  • value smart growth, land conservation and access to nature;
  • have an interest in the nonprofit or government sector;
  • are passionate about a diverse and holistic environmental field;
  • are committed to supporting and advocating for equity and justice; and
  • want to strengthen your leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills.
fellowship reunion

Alumni Experiences

Hear what alumni of PEC's Fellowship Program had to say about their experience.
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