Professional Development Program


As undergraduate and recent graduate students, we will follow our mission and connect you with career opportunities that help build your skills and grow your connection to our earth. As young professionals, you are immersed in a passionate field of natural resources, education, and community for three to six months.


The Northwoods is filled with experts and our organization has over 200 volunteers. As a program participant, you will form valuable partnerships with our community members, volunteers, and partnering agencies that will plug you into the conservation network. You will be surrounded by expert educators and conservationists while living on site at our facility.


Our program sets you up for success because of the support from our community, grants, and membership who have long supported our efforts in providing you these professional development opportunities.

Participant Testimonials

"I really did have a great time and an amazing experience! Thank you for the opportunity to grow my restoration knowledge, communication/public speaking skills, and for allowing me to organization and lead events. I know everything I did will prove to be very useful in future careers. Plus I had a great time doing it! I want to thank everyone else at the center too for being so helpful and supportive. I learned a lot from them as well and would have been lost without their guidance. Overall NLDC is a great organization both to work for and visit and I would recommend it to anyone!"

Alexis McDonald, 2023 Land Restoration Technician

"I was given a unique opportunity to work on projects like lake level monitoring and a variety of different lake surveys which I have never done before... Coming into the summer I only knew a handful of common aquatic vegetation, but through constant exposure to the lake vegetation and an aquatic plant ID course at Kemp Environmental Station I was living and breathing aquatic plants... Some of my favorite experiences were educational events where I could directly teach the public on invasive plant identification or other environmental aspects. Overall, the position allowed me to further pursue my aspirations and make myself more applicable in the environmental field while also creating a meaningful impact on the land and waters around me."

Aidan Witthoff, 2023 Woods and Water Technician

"I was able to survey plant communities on smaller, less populated lakes which was extremely valuable as it increased my plant knowledge considerably. It also allowed me to explore areas I would not have done own my own. I would encourage summer staff to take advantage of all of the incredible opportunities, whether that be outdoor activities in Manitowish Waters and the surrounding areas or all of the different opportunities offered outside of the program position at NLDC. One of the biggest surprises from my time at NLDC was the incredible community created between the summer staff, full-time staff, and volunteers. With these connections, we were able to make a big difference at NLDC and in the community."

Abby Vogt, 2022 Lake Technician

Immerse Yourself Outdoors

Hands-on experience in the field and in our community.


Explore a wild rice plant community during harvest season.


Study mussels in the nearby Manitowish River, an Area of Special Natural Resources Interest.


Care for plants and beetles and implement our purple loosestrife biocontrol project.


Study and identify aquatic plants while you conduct a point-intercept survey.


Train volunteers to help identify and monitor aquatic invasive species.


Teach local students about underwater remote operated vehicles.

Make an Impact

You will have an opportunity to complete a personal project that contributes to the mission of our organization.


A New Herbarium

Enthralled by the beauty of preserved plants, Rebecca Fagley, Lake Technician, started a Discovery Center Herbarium collection of aquatic plants in the Northwoods.


Small Mammal Trapping

Building off of their previous experiences, Zack Ryan, Woods and Water Technician, developed a new curriculum for teaching about small mammal trapping and population dynamics.


Fish Morphology

Growing our water-based workshops, Michael Small, Water Monitoring Intern, developed a new program curriculum all about fish including morphology, habitat, and the food chain.



Our program offers on-site housing at no additional cost. You are offered a shared room in our Musky-Mallard suite cabins that include four bedrooms, two living spaces, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, and front-door access to our 800-acre campus. Canoes and kayaks are available for paddling Statehouse Lake and our 12-miles of trails offer easy access to quiet corners of the forest.