Introducing Sarah LeBlanc, INHF’s new communications intern

img_1378Hi there!

My name is Sarah LeBlanc and I’m thrilled to be the new communications intern for INHF. I’m in my last year at Drake University studying journalism and politics, and I’m originally from Madison, Wisconsin but have come to call Des Moines my home away from home.

When I have down time, you can typically find me binge watching the latest Netflix original series, running outside or reading a book. My sweet tooth also leads me to find the best ice cream and candy shops in Des Moines.

As a communications intern, I’ll be writing for INHF’s magazine, typing up press releases, blogging and a little bit of everything else in between. I’m excited to join the team here and learn more about what makes Iowa so beautiful.

If you want to get in touch with me, give me a shout at or on Twitter: @sarahleblanc201.

Meet INHF’s summer interns

Join INHF in welcoming our summer interns! These young conservationists are hard at work in the office and in the field protecting Iowa’s wild places.

New Office Interns

Two new interns have joined our office in downtown Des Moines. Shoot them an email and say hello!

Jessica Riebkes Ι Grant Writing
Hometown: Cedar Falls, Iowa
School: Central College and Northern Iowa University
Major: Graduated with a B.A. and M.S. in Biology
Favorite native plant/animal: Rough Blazingstar

“I’m looking forward to writing grants to protect properties in Iowa and learn about INHF as an organization.”

Jared Morford Ι Trails
Hometown: Watertown, South Dakota
School: Iowa State University
Major: Graduated with a B.S. in History and a MCRP (Masters of Community and Regional Planning)
Favorite native plant/animal: Coyote

“I’m looking forward to working with INHF to help expand the trails network in Iowa.”

Returning Office Interns

These two interns will continue their work with INHF this summer.

Katie Bandurski Ι Communications
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
School: Drake University
Major: Magazine journalism, minors in Marketing and English
Favorite native plant/animal: Wild Turkey

“I’m excited to explore Iowa’s natural places and learn more about conservation.”

Kelsea Graham Ι Graphic Design
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
School: Drake University
Major: Graphic Design and Advertising
Favorite native plant/animal: Fox Squirrel

“I look forward to designing the INHF calendar.”

Statewide Land Stewardship Interns

These interns travel all over Iowa to manage the land at our projects. Whether restoring prairies, wetlands or savannas, they help protect Iowa’s natural beauty.

Abby Walling
Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa
School: Carleton College
Major: Biology
Favorite native plant/animal: River Otter

“I am excited to learn more about the ecology of my home state and help to protect the environment for generations to come!”

Katelyn Behounek
Hometown: Chelsea, Iowa
School: Simpson College
Major: Biology and Environmental Science
Favorite native plant/animal: Spotted Skunk

“I’m looking forward to traveling Iowa. I’ve seen a lot of the country but not as much of my home state.”


Nick Jackosky
Hometown: Lakewood, Ohio
School: Iowa State University
Major: Global Resource Systems and Environmental Science
Favorite native plant/animal: American Bison

“I am most looking forward to meeting more incredible people who care about healing and restoring our natural resources as much as I do.”

Sean Kenan
Hometown: Grand Junction, Iowa
School: Iowa State University
Major: Animal Ecology
Favorite native plant/animal: Rattlesnake Master and Peregrine Falcon

“I look forward to seeing the unique lands that Iowa has to offer.”

Riley Dunn
Hometown: Martensdale, Iowa
School: Iowa State University
Major: Landscape Architecture and Environmental Studies
Favorite native plant/animal: Indiangrass and American Sycamore

“I’m looking forward to seeing all the prairie plants out in the field rather than in a book.”

Michael Parker
Hometown: Dike, Iowa
School: Iowa State University
Major: Forestry
Favorite native plant/animal: Burr Oak and White-Tail Deer

“I’m looking forward to seeing the great areas of the state.”

Austin Chipps
Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa
School: Central College
Major: Biology and Chemistry
Favorite native plant/animal: Hoary Puccoon and Scarlet Tanager

“I’m excited to explore the diverse Iowa landscape and learn to manage habitat.”

Taylor Didesch
Hometown: Chillicothe, Illinois
School: Iowa State University
Major: Animal Ecology
Favorite native plant/animal: Red Fox

“I can’t wait to see plants and animals in person and meet the landowners that really care about them!”


Sara Vettleson-Trutza
Hometown: Spring Grove, Minnesota
School: Waldorf University
Major: Biology and Psychology
Favorite native plant/animal: Land Snail

“I can’t wait to know all the prairie plants (or close to it). I know this whole experience is a great growing opportunity for me and I can’t wait to see how it changes me for the better.”

Blufflands Land Stewardship Interns

Blufflands interns focus exclusively on INHF projects in northeast Iowa, helping to restore and maintain remnant and reconstructed prairies, woodlands and oak savannas.

Ryan Crum
Hometown: Mt. Horeb, WI
School: Luther College
Major: Environmental Studies, Policy and Politics
Favorite native plant/animal: White-Tail Deer and Indiangrass

“I’m looking forward to learning different restoration techniques, meeting and talking to landowners and  visiting/seeing the different properties.”

Eric Young
Hometown: Lowden, Iowa
School: Upper Iowa University
Major: Conservation Management
Favorite native plant/animal: Dutchman’s Breeches and Blanding’s Turtle

“I’m looking forward to gaining experience in land           management and ecological restoration.”

James Ostile
Hometown: Decorah, Iowa
School: Luther College
Major: Biology
Favorite native plant/animal: White Pine and American Bison

“I’m excited to learn how to properly manage and restore native habitats.”

Karyl Clarete
Hometown: Winnipeg, MB, Canada
School: Iowa State University
Major: Environmental Science and Global Resource Systems
Favorite native plant/animal: American Bison

“I’m really looking forward to learning more about native plants of Iowa and seeing more of its natural areas.”

Apply Now: INHF’s grant writing summer internship

Are you a strong writer? Apply to be INHF’s program support and grant writing intern and use your skills to help protect Iowa’s land, water and wildlife!

This summer position focuses on writing grants that will provide funding for on-the-ground land conservation. As an INHF intern you won’t be fetching any coffee — the work you do here will make a real difference for Iowa’s natural landscape. Applications for the 2016 summer position are due Thursday, March 17.  Continue reading

Apply Now: INHF Blufflands Land Stewardship summer internship

Looking for a summer internship but don’t want to sit at a desk all day? Get outside and come work with INHF in northeastern Iowa!

We’re looking for four motivated individuals with a passion for preserving and protecting Iowa’s landscape. Have what it takes? Check out a recap from last year and read the description below. Applications for the 2016 summer crew are due Friday, Feb. 12.

Job description
Blufflands Land Stewardship interns work hard to maintain and restore native landscapes in extreme northeast Iowa. Interns will conduct needed land management and restoration on remnant and reconstructed prairies, woodlands, oak savannas and other natural areas owned or protected by INHF. Interns will use a variety of hand tools and chainsaws to help accomplish restoration goals.

Students selected for INHF’s Blufflands internship will learn from and work closely with landowners and working professionals in the field. Educational opportunities beyond the daily work experiences will be provided, including participation in regional natural resources conferences, which will expose interns to several conservationists and organizations in a concentrated setting. First aid, CPR and harassment training will be provided at the beginning of the internship.

The internship will give interns vital skills and experience for a career in conservation or land management, as well as a greater appreciation for the importance of our natural areas. This is a physically demanding, yet very rewarding internship!


Work examples
Much of the work will focus on prairie, oak savanna and woodland restoration with an emphasis on invasive species control. Control of species is by chainsaw, hand saw, digging, pulling and herbicide treatment. Removing Eastern Red Cedars from hill prairies, thinning oak woodlands of fire-intolerant tree species and pulling Wild Parsnip from reconstructed prairies are examples of some of the important restoration work that will be performed. Stream bank stabilization, fire break construction and prairie seed collection are other possible intern activities.

This internship is physically demanding, requiring fit, motivated individuals. Those with a positive attitude, eagerness to learn and desire to make our natural areas healthier are well-suited for this position. Interns will work exclusively outdoors in all kinds of weather conditions including heat, humidity and rain. Driving to various work sites (mostly in Winneshiek and Allamakee counties) is required, so interns must have a working vehicle. Carpooling is highly encouraged. Prior land management experience or a farm IMG_6334background is desirable, but not required. College students of any grade level, even freshmen, are eligible for this internship. Compatible majors to this internship include, but are not limited to: Animal Ecology, Botany, Biology, Forestry, Environmental Studies or Environmental Science.

NOTE: This internship does not supply lodging or meals.

Four full-time interns will be hired and work together as a crew. The internship begins May 23 and ends August 11. Interns will work a total of 11 weeks within that period. The work week will consist of 10 hour days, Monday through Thursday. Pay is $9.75/hr.

Application info
To apply, please send Brian Fankhauser, Blufflands Program Director, the following:

  • A cover letter outlining your qualifications and why you want this position
  • Resume
  • Your college transcripts (official or unofficial)
  • Two letters of recommendation, with at least one being written by a professor in your major. The letters may be included in your application or sent separately by the writer. Include reference contact information.

Mail or email your application to the address below.  Feel free to call or email in advance if you have questions.

Our internships are sponsored by the Richard “Sandy” Rhodes Internship Program, the Svare Family Internship fund, the Robert R. Buckmaster Internship, funded by the R.J. McElroy Trust and many other idividual donors.

Brian Fankhauser, Blufflands Program Director
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
1111 S. Paine St., Suite E
Decorah, Iowa 52101

Phone:  563-382-2008


Meet INHF’s new design intern

Hi all!
My name is Kelsea Graham and I’m the new INHF design intern this spring. I’m a junior at Drake University studying graphic design and advertising. I’m a Kansas City, MO native, but I’m excited to make Des Moines my new home.Kelsea
I spend my much-appreciated free time discovering old and new music, playing The Sims, and dying my hair crazy colors.
As a design intern I’ll be making things aesthetically pleasing, including event materials, brochures and so on. I’ll also be responsible for organizing our large collection of photos.
I’m so excited to work with INHF and put my passion toward a greater good! I can be reached at

Apply for INHF’s summer land stewardship internship

Looking for a summer internship? Want to help restore Iowa’s natural beauty while learning about ecology, land management, and wildlife? Then apply to be an INHF Land Stewardship intern!

Check out Matt’s story here  and read the description below to get a taste of what exactly the internship entails. Applications for the 2016 summer crew are due Sunday, January 24, 2016.

Continue reading

Support an INHF intern

hannahgivingtuesday-emailVERTThis Giving Tuesday,
support an INHF intern.
Each summer, an INHF land stewardship intern devotes
440 hours to Iowa’s land.
Along with a crew of their peers, they remove invasive species that threaten native ecosystems. They restore habitat for Iowa’s pollinators, birds and other wildlife. Most importantly, they make meaningful, lasting change for the future of Iowa’s natural resources.

They are the next generation

of Iowa conservationists, and they wouldn’t be able to do such great work without your support.

On Dec. 1, help INHF ensure the future of our internship program. Make a gift to support an INHF intern, and help foster the next generation of Iowa’s land stewards.

Meet INHF’s new communications interns

Rachel Headshot Hi everyone!

My name is Rachel Dupree and I’ll be joining the INHF communications team this fall. I’m a senior at Drake University studying public relations and international relations with a concentration in global public health. I’m originally from Forest Lake, Minnesota, but I love Des Moines more than my heart can stand. Continue reading

2015 Intern Recap: Blufflands Land Stewardship

M.o.S crew

The second summer of the INHF Blufflands Stewardship intern crew was a success! Our Blufflands crew worked a total of 44 days on 14 sites around northeast Iowa, making a lasting impact on several properties and projects. The internship wrapped up on Aug. 13.

The first few weeks of the summer were spent at INHF’s Heritage Valley property in Allamakee Co. weeding the prairies and woodlands of things like garlic mustard, wild parsnip, queen annes lace, sweet clover, and thistles. The next few weeks involved a lot of chainsaw work both at Heritage Valley and around the driftless region, removing cedar trees from bluff prairies and combating honeysuckle and buckthorn. Interns were also able to participate in several seed harvests and volunteer events.

Interns were able to work with other conservation professionals, working with partner land stewardship organizations and volunteers either on partner properties or INHF properties. The highlight week for the interns was at Raleigh Buckmasters’, an INHF conservation easement in Allamakee Co., where they were able to see timber rattlesnakes. Interns also enjoyed their time at Indiangrass Hills in Iowa Co., along with the Iowa Prairie Conference at UNI.

Thank you, interns, for your hard work for Iowa’s land, water and wildlife!

Learn more about INHF’s Blufflands land stewardship internship.

2015 Intern Recap: Statewide Land Stewardship


What a great summer!

INHF Statewide Land Stewardship interns wrapped up their 11 week internship on August 6th. The crew of 9 interns worked on 22 different sites covering 18 counties across Iowa. These properties included private, public and county-owned land, working with a variety of conservation groups, landowners and prairie enthusiasts.

The summer consisted of 44 working days, that also included educational opportunities like the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar and Iowa Prairie Conference at UNI. Interns had many highlights from the summer, but they all included the amount of wildlife seen, including timber rattlesnakes, smooth green snakes and a Luna moth.

”This year’s interns were a hard working bunch and they brought a lot of passion and curiosity for Iowa’s landscape,” said Melanie Louis, INHF land stewardship assistant. “The summer played a huge role in many of their career paths. We’re excited to see where they go next.”

Thank you, interns, for your hard work for Iowa’s land, water and wildlife!

Learn more about INHF’s land stewardship internship.