National Wildlife Federation Introduces New Southeast Forestry Internship Program

The National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Southeast Forestry Outreach Internship program is committed to cultivating the next generation of conservationists and professionals in the fields of forestry, prescribed fire, conservation and equity. NWF’s mission is rooted in conservation, restoration, and advocacy for wildlife and natural habitats. The expansion of our intern program fulfills this mission by incorporating a diverse pool of individuals studying forestry, environmental justice, and associated fields. The addition of interns, particularly those with ties to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, bolsters our strategic actions to authentically address inequities and injustices in the forestry and environmental landscape.

The Southeast Forestry Program works to protect and conserve working forests and wildlife habitats across the region, specifically working to provide resources to historically underserved landowners, communities and students within the historic longleaf pine range. An essential component facilitating our progress is our internship program in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and our Longleaf for All Landowner Mentorship Program in South Georgia, as well as our Hoke Community Forest restoration program in North Carolina.

Our internship offers hands-on engagement across various domains, including non-profit conservation, forestry, educational events such as prescribed fire field days, and assisting our team with communications and storytelling.

Katrina Koning (left) and intern Charmayne Planter (right).

Hoke Community Forest is over 500 acres of protected forest land belonging to the citizens of Hoke County. This forest is full of hidden gems, including longleaf pines, Atlantic White Cedar trees, as well as diverse bottomland hardwoods that line Rockfish Creek. Hoke Community Forest is one of only three community forests in NC and our first demonstration project in the Southeast. Longleaf for All, National Wildlife Federation, the Sandhills Prescribed Burn Association, Milliken Advisors, Longleaf Alliance, and many other partners are partnering together to restore this forest for recreation, education, and income for this diverse county in Raeford, N.C.

Meet our interns Shelby Diehl and Charmayne Planter!

North Carolina intern Shelby Diehl

Shelby has been instrumental in developing a new website in partnership with Hoke Community Forest, content development and graphic design for signage for the property, and many other communications products such as the Southeast Forestry NWF Instagram and Facebook account.

Internship Testimonial

“I had wanted to break into forestry for years, courtesy of my passion for climate advocacy and a childhood growing up surrounded by forests. Prior to NWF, I worked with leading nonprofits to support large-scale climate solutions and with local organizations to build community resilience, but still lacked experience in the forest sector. I didn’t have the chance to help amplify the voices of historically underserved communities either, which are disproportionately impacted by climate change and need to be put at the forefront at the conservation movement. This internship program has provided me the opportunity to tackle both of those, nurturing my passion and helping me build meaningful relationships with changemakers across the Southeast. These connections have given me deeper insight into environmental justice and forestry challenges, while teaching me the best way to communicate these problems—and their solutions—to impacted populations through numerous storytelling mediums.”

Georgia intern Charmayne Planter

Meet Charmayne Planter, intern for NWF’s Longleaf for All mentorship program.

Our intern, Charmayne Planter, plays a pivotal role in developing storytelling community communications for a creative project that visually narrates the story of the Longleaf for All Landowner Mentorship Program. This project aims to create a dialogue that conveys the land legacies of Black involvement in conservation, including the historical significance of Black land ownership, the cultural attachment to the land, and how longleaf restoration can empower and strengthen the Black community.

Internship Testimonial

“I applied for the National Wildlife Federation’s Southeast Forestry program because I wanted to learn more about environmental conservation and the need to expand resources to the backgrounds of Black, brown, and indigenous populations in the Southeast. Throughout my time as a forestry outreach intern, I was able to experience firsthand environmental justice through forestry restoration management. I learned about how policies that have historically impacted Black communities still continue to linger and dispossess people of potential privately owned, Black-owned forested property. I learned ways to tell stories about these concepts and spread awareness of these issues. I’d like to eventually utilize this experience and incorporate it into future works in environmental conservation and bridging resource gaps. Without this program, I don’t think I would’ve had the opportunity to learn more about these topics in such a fieldwork-style format.”

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn more about the National Wildlife Federation Southeast Forestry team and contribute to meaningful forestry and conservation efforts. We are continuing on this path of connecting university students with environmental conservation opportunities and outreach events related to longleaf pine restoration, prescribed fire, and forestry and wildlife fields. We are also developing important resources for spreading awareness about longleaf pine restoration and look forward to sharing more resources throughout the year

To learn more about the internship and ask any questions you may have, we invite you to reach out to: Katrina Koning,