Training and Mentorship

To give native community members access to environmental justice, policy-making, and employment in the conservation of wild places.

Land Designation & Conservation Policy Research Fellowship

The Center for Native Health (CNH) has partnered with The Wilderness Society (TWS), a national non-profit organization whose mission is to unite people to protect America’s wild places. This partnership project hopes to promote environmental justice, foster Indigenous-led conservation initiatives, and amplify Indigenous voices in policy-making processes. CNH will host the Land Designation & Conservation Policy Research Fellowship to further the organization’s mission by advancing research and advocacy efforts related to Indigenous lands and resources connected to positive health outcomes. TWS will serve as the fellow’s supervisor, providing guidance and support throughout the fellowship.

Project Details: Develop skills in research methodology, stakeholder engagement, policy analysis, and communication strategies. Conduct comprehensive research into the policies and practices surrounding the designation of conservation lands, focusing on contemporary Indigenous and Ancestral lands. The fellowship will involve stakeholder interviews, field data collection, archival research, policy analysis, and developing evidence-based recommendations for more equitable and inclusive conservation practices.

Expected Project Deliverables: Expected deliverables include relevant maps, graphic reports, social media content, and other communication tools. A final report or case study will document outreach and research accomplishments. The fellow will present their work to EBCI tribal leadership, the EBCI Natural Resources department, the ᎡᏀᎯ ᏗᏂᎦᏘᏱ,Elohi Dinigatiyi, Earth Keepers Advisory Board, EBCI Community organizations, and interested citizens. Additionally, the fellow will support education efforts in Cherokee youth programs and collaborate with CNH, Cherokee Youth groups, and The Wilderness Society (TWS) to develop EBCI conservation priorities.

Skills Required:

  • Strong research and analytical skills
  • Curiosity and willingness to listen to local partners.
  • Ability to think creatively and holistically.
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively
  • Familiarity with Indigenous issues and environmental conservation
  • Ability to prioritize research materials based on provided criteria.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Willingness to ask for help.
  • Qualitative analysis capabilities.

Preferred Skills:

  • Experience with stakeholder engagement
  • Knowledge of policy analysis frameworks
  • Graphic design or multimedia skills

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here must be met by a fellow to perform the essential functions of this fellowship successfully. Reasonable accommodation may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions. While performing the duties of this fellowship, the fellow will be occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear; taste or smell.  The fellow must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.
Field data collection requires minimal physical effort, but it may involve outdoor activities such as hiking or site visits.

Fellowship Application Requirements:

    1. Applicants must be high school or college students from the EBCI Community or other invited Indigenous communities.
    2. Fellowship dates are from June 10, 2024, to August 10, 2024.
    3. Application submission includes a resume and a cover letter explaining interest and qualifications
    4. Application Submission Deadline is May 24, 2024
  • Applications should be submitted using the Application linked below

Fellowship Logistics:

  1. The Wilderness Society Southern Appalachian Landscape team will provide supervision.
  2. CNH will provide compensation of $5,000.
  3. Flexibility in remote, in-office, or hybrid work environments based on the fellow, TWS, and CNH needs.
  4. As this project continues, the fellow may be asked to return as an advisor beyond the Fellowship dates.

Additional Information: This fellowship offers travel and community engagement opportunities across Western North Carolina. Fellows will participate in strategic programmatic discussions and networking activities, enhancing their professional development and contributing to CNH’s broader mission.

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