Student Positions – Department of Interior Nature-Based Solutions Roadmap (Summer 2024)

We are looking for two students to join the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute, supporting our work to develop an online version of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Nature-based Solutions Roadmap originally released in December 2023.

Nature-based solutions (NBS) involve the protection, restoration, or management of natural or semi-natural ecosystems to provide benefits to both nature and people. Examples include constructed wetlands, living shorelines, and forest planting. In fall 2023, we completed a DOI NBS roadmap to identify priority NBS strategies relevant to DOI land management and provide information for each strategy including technical approaches, potential benefits, barriers and solutions for implementation, funding mechanisms, research needs, and demonstration opportunities. We are now beginning the process of transforming the PDF Roadmap document into an interactive online version and adding new functionality and content. The students will primarily focus on developing case studies of existing NBS projects (within and outside of DOI) to illustrate how various NBS strategies are being used in the United States. Depending on timing, students may also work on other components of the online Roadmap including an assessment of resources and tools available for NBS project planning, implementation, and monitoring.

The students will be reporting to Ecosystem Services Program senior policy associate Sara Mason and under the guidance of program director Lydia Olander. The students may also work with faculty and student collaborators at Duke and external collaborators. This is a full-time (40 hours/week), paid position for summer 2024. Work will likely be conducted in a hybrid model, using a combination of remote work and regular in-person meetings, but there may be options for primarily remote or in-person work depending on student preference. This position is open to students enrolled at Duke University.  

Key Tasks

  • Reviewing existing case studies published in the Conservation and Adaptation Resources Toolbox (CART); organizing and tagging these case studies to align with and link to the DOI NBS Roadmap framework
  • Identifying gaps in the CART case studies, especially in terms of the NBS strategies that are represented
  • Developing new case studies to fill gaps – this will be a combination of reformatting existing internal DOI project write-ups into a case study format and developing new case studies from scratch
  • Searching academic literature, gray literature (reports from government agencies and NGOs, including project reports), and online resources for information and data on projects to develop case studies
  • Reaching out to subject matter experts for feedback and additional information


  • Literature review
  • Excellent oral and written communication
  • Strong organizational and interpersonal skills
  • Familiarity with the concepts of nature-based solutions and ecosystem services

To Apply

To apply, please send your resume or CV and a cover letter to Sara Mason,  We will begin interviews on Monday, February 12th on a rolling basis.

The intent of this job description is to provide a representative and level of the types of duties and responsibilities that will be required of positions given this title and shall not be construed as a declaration of the total of the specific duties and responsibilities of any particular position. Employees may be directed to perform job-related tasks other than those specifically presented in this description.

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