Internship: Natural Building

Call for Applications

Further develop your skills in Natural Building and Green Design!  Two seasonal internship positions are available with the Natural Building Department (NBD) at Aprovecho.  This internship program is designed to provide advanced educational opportunities in the use of various natural building techniques for an individual with pre-existing natural building experience.  Interns will work as a team under the guidance of the NBD Director applying various natural building techniques in service to the growth and maintenance of the campus at Aprovecho.

Educational Outcomes:

  • Understanding of building science, green design, project management, and small-business development as it relates to natural building.
  • Skill development in areas such as timber framing, masonry, plastering and round wood-working which are commonly employed in natural building and green design
  • Project management, which requires mastery of both skills and understanding in natural building and design necessary to independently and collaboratively design, lead and implement a variety of projects

Internship Objectives:

  • Participants will participate in relevant committees such as the campus development planning committee
  • Participants will identify and plan necessary steps to complete natural building and design projects
  • Participants will complete a variety of natural building and green design projects
  • Participants will discover and employ strategies/skills which are employed in natural building and design projects
  • Participants will engage in teach to learn activities regarding natural building and design projects
  • Participants will collaborate across departments assisting with ‘permaculture’ specific projects
  • Participants will harvest, collect, use and stockpile materials used in natural building such as round poles, clay, stone and more.

Campus Natural Building and Green Design Projects May Include

In order to achieve the objectives of the internship and provide the aforementioned learning outcomes, interns may work on a variety of projects at Aprovecho, including

  • Completion of Outdoor Kitchen (Sink, Grey Water, Roofing)
  • Campus Development Plan
  • Installation of Shower/Bathroom Facilities for Cabins
  • Completion of Various Outbuildings/Structures Around Campus (e.g, Yurts, Root Cellar, Laundry Room, Sauna)
  • Garden Arbor
  • Shop and Blacksmithing Shop Roof Repair


  • Have taken at least one natural building course at Aprovecho (or other suitable institution with a reference)
  • Have at least one year of construction experience
  • Familiarity with hand and power tools
  • Familiarity with hauling materials and driving large stick shift vehicles a plus
  • Ability to work efficiently with minimal supervision/take and implement instruction
  • Ability to work on a small team
  • Excellent problem solving/working on a small budget/sourcing building materials sustainably and within budget

Compensation and Timeframe

The Natural Building Internship is a 30 hour/week seasonal Internship position running from April 1st to November 18th. Interns will receive on-the-job experience, training and support, as well as a living stipend of $500 a month.  Interns can choose to live on campus for a fee to cover room and board.

Interns will also be able to attend education courses that are occurring on campus. These include community education, permaculture, natural building, appropriate technology and sustainable business development.  Interns will be attending these classes as guests, permitting there is space and intern is meeting 30 hour/week expectations.

Opportunities for contractual labor may exist for interns. These jobs are not guaranteed, but when suitable will be offered to interns at regular market rates.  Jobs may include farm projects, teaching opportunities and unique campus projects.

Internships as a Year Two Educational Program at Aprovecho:

These internships are envisioned as a second year educational program.  They are part of a larger strategy to prepare students for authentic natural building contracting experience.  Upon completion of an internship at Aprovecho, we expect that individuals may be able to further their career/education in the following ways:

  • As a paid program assistant or guest teacher within the specialized department
  • As an apprentice with a contractor/landscaper/designer/builder
  • As an independent contractor/landscaper/designer/builder

While Aprovecho can not guarantee any of these placements, it is our stated intention to support alumni by brokering connections or hiring when positions are available.   If an internship is a year #2 program, we invite your support to help us develop and fill year #3 placements.  

Ethics of Internships

Internships are designed as learning experiences where there is a balance between two parties’ needs.  Both organizational needs and individual learner needs are balanced in an equitable manner.  This means that an intern would not be expected to do the exact same task over and over again for the duration of their experience.  There must be learning activities from which the intern benefits.  Conversely, the organization must also benefit from the arrangement (given resources dedicated to interns).  Therefore, there may be times when interns will perform monotonous tasks.  

Expectation for all Positions/Projects:

Tell your story.  Amazing things have happened over the 40 years at Aprovecho – children building a Ferro Cement Tank, beautiful natural buildings, personal experiences, cutting edge research, program development, community service.  We need to tell our story, internally and externally. Internal storytelling is necessary for Aprovecho to improve its services and may look like:

  • producing a how to guide for future employees, volunteers, interns, students
  • Improving a position description
  • Reporting on annual goals for annual report

External storytelling is necessary for Aprovecho to have an impact past our 40 acre campus and may look like:

  • Writing a testimonial, article, blog post, Public Service Announcement
  • Doing a presentation, tabling, public meeting, representing your time and Apro at conference or analog education center
  • Writing a research brief, how-to-guide
  • Video or audio recording a class or workshop to be posted online
  • Publishing curriculum                                                                                                                                   
  • Creating interpretive materials for on-campus

If interested, please apply below.  Also submit resume and two references to Chris Foraker at


Your Name

Your Email

Mailing Address

Best phone # to reach you at

Which position are you applying for?

Which program(s) if any, have you participated in at Aprovecho?

What do you hope to gain through your fulfillment of this position? How does it relate to where you see yourself in five years?

Are there any experiences you would like to share relevant to this position description?

In what way(s) do you think you are a good fit for this position? In what way(s) do you feel this position will be a challenge for you?

Any questions for us?