Learning from Nature - Internships

What you'll gain from our Internships

Internships at Hill Top Farm, the Learning from Nature demonstration site, give you the know-how to get to the heart of permaculture design using 'eco-logical' approaches to regenerative farming and food gardening.

Your climate doesn't matter. Tools, techniques and species differ as we adapt the ecological principles to our growing conditions. Established regenerative practices become the source and inspiration for ideas, rather than recipes to follow.

Using this principles-based approach, the message quite simple - we need to bring back Nature's free ecological services to our gardens and farms.

These are the key ecological functions -  nutrient cycles, water cycles, solar energy capture, and beneficial connections provided by functioning ecosystems. Organic matter, soil carbon, water infiltration, pollination, etc. are useful measures to track progress, but we need to get our ecosystems 'tuned up and running' again for these to improve!

While a small number of food growers worldwide benefit from using traditional practices maintaining functioning ecosystems, the majority of us are not so lucky. Substituting for the free ecological services functioning ecosystems provide by cultivating soil, applying synthetic and biological fertilisers, and pest controls have become the norm - virtually everybody does it! This interventionist approach defines current 'conventional agriculture', whether farmers use 'chemical' or 'organic' inputs.

Understanding what they can achieve and the benefits, growers can break this 'intervention habit', set their goals on getting their agroecosystems functioning again, trial techniques, learn, share experiences, and respond constructively to newly emerging issues and threats.

Internships - What we Provide

We provide intern students with a unique and affordable experience-based learning opportunity.  We generally only have 1-2 interns at any one time. Interns get one-on-one guidance and support directly on a day-to-day basis from Dr Wendy Seabrook. Training in applying the ecological principles to regenerate ecosystems in farms and gardens. If you are interested in developing online content, sales, and marketing skills, let us know.

 

Practical Research Projects

We encourage our Intern Students to use their time at Hill Top Farm to pursue independent practical research projects. These projects are an evolving part of our program – supporting Interns to undertake a research project which will benefit their career and our information base for the farm. If you are doing an internship as part of your academic studies, we can also help you to meet the requirements specified by your institution.

Practicalities

  • FREE - we don't charge for our Internships.
  • We don't ask interns to work 24/7! Interns help out 4 hrs/day Monday to Friday.
  • Time off – you'll have weekends and afternoons to follow your interests, explore Cooktown and our surrounding wild landscapes.
  • First-rate Intern Accommodation - we provide accommodation in our self-contained cabin or safari tent.
  • Healthy diet – we eat mainly from the farm and otherwise use organic ingredients as much as possible. We can accommodate people on special diets, but our interns must be willing to explore new tropical foods!

Application Process for Internships

If you would like to apply for an Internship with Learning from Nature at Hill Top Farm, you need to:

Contact us via info[at]learningfromnature.com.au with the approximate dates you would like to come. If we have Internships available at that time we will then ask you for the following:

  1. Copy of your Resume/CV
  2. A recent photo of yourself
  3. Brief covering letter explaining why you would like to do an Internship at HTF, and
    what you would like to achieve from the Internship
  4. A brief letter of recommendation from someone who knows you personally and another from an individual or organisation you have worked with previously.

We receive many requests for internships and find that looking at applicants Resumes, together with their responses to the above questions, helps us ensure that the internships will be worthwhile for them and the team at Hill Top Farm.

Upon acceptance, Interns need to:

1.      Fulfil the requirements of our 'Intern Contract'

2.      Provide a Bond of $500 payable to confirm your placement as an Intern at Hill Top Farm.

The Bond is refunded at the end of the Internship programs. We do not charge for our Internships but ask for the Bond to ensure our Interns are as committed as we are to this opportunity.

> Contact us

Jessica Peace

“I would live in Wendy’s cabin if I could. I’m an organic gardener from England and came to Wendy to learn her pioneering techniques in regenerative farming and growing in drought conditions to help my work in the ever drier English summers we’re experiencing.

Well I learnt this and so much more. For instance I learnt to work with cattle and poultry in regenerative systems, implementing rotational grazing and providing protective glades for the cattle rather than open fields.

My time when not working was just as fulfilling; expect to be cooking with tropical, organic food from the farm and living amongst tropical flowers and insects more colourful than you could imagine – as well as wallabies, lizards, frogmouths, friar birds and snakes of course – this is Australia! There is Wendy’s lily-framed dam to swim in and Wendy is generous enough to take you on her trips to waterholes, bush walks and beach runs. For others coming from the northern hemisphere don’t forget to look out of your cabin on a clear night to see the milky-way.”

Jessica Peace