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Graphic, Friends of the Rouge Interships

Green Infrastructure Design Intern

Department: Public Involvement
Status: Volunteer internship position, with on-the-job expenses reimbursed. Will support student to apply for and obtain funding as appropriate
Reports to: River Restoration Program Manager
Work location: FOTR headquarters in Plymouth, MI

Friends of the Rouge (FOTR), founded in 1986, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoration and stewardship of the Rouge River ecosystem through education, citizen involvement and other collaborative efforts. The Rouge River is one of the nation’s most polluted waterways and is located in the Metropolitan Detroit area of southeastern Michigan. The Rouge has been the focus of intensive federal, state and local restoration efforts.

Program Overview

Stormwater runoff is a major cause of water pollution in the Rouge River watershed. There is a need to educate homeowners about this type of pollution and actions that can be taken to manage stormwater on residential property. This is accomplished through public education workshops, events and by implementing green infrastructure practices that use vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage stormwater and create healthier urban environments.

Position Purpose

The core of the internship supports Friends of the Rouge’s green infrastructure programming. The position will assist with implementation of rain garden education and installation under the River Restoration Program. Friends of the Rouge has funding to design and install roughly 40 rain gardens through two grant funded programs in 2019. Six funded projects are major public demonstration sites, including a township hall, multiple schools, an art house, a library, and two parks. The remainder are residential projects. These projects also include significant public education and outreach components.

Job Duties & Responsibilities

Duties for the Rouge Green Infrastructure Design Intern shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Rain garden design
  • Construction document development
  • Prepare for, assist with, and to the extent possible, lead GI project installations (i.e. rain gardens, bioswales, etc.) working with contractors and volunteers.
  • Site visits and assessments
  • Community/participatory design strategies
  • Provide excellent customer service to volunteers and community partners
  • Track program participants and GI project information in database(s).
  • Track all hours worked and submit timesheets biweekly; maintain records related to internship and notify manager of specific course requirements.
  • Promote FOTR and stormwater pollution prevention through the creation and distribution of mailings, flyers, and social media posts.
  • Conduct research on GI project sites to determine risk of contaminating ground water.
  • Take soil borings and conduct analysis of soil at GI project sites.
  • Assist with participant survey administration, compiling and entering data
  • Provide additional support to other FOTR programs as requested.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Three years of undergraduate studies in landscape architecture or related program, or one year of similar studies at the master’s level.
  • Confident, able user of Adobe design suite, Autocad, ArcGIS, Microsoft Office suite, Google Docs.
  • Prior experience designing and/or installing rain gardens, or strong enthusiasm and capacity to learn quickly
  • Must be willing to work a flexible schedule including some evenings and weekends; required dates are noted in the box below.
  • Must be a proactive team player with excellent communication skills, able to multi-task, prioritize and maintain attention to detail.
  • This position requires excellent organizational and customer service skills.
  • Must have reliable transportation.
  • Preferences

    Knowledge of plants native to southeast Michigan. Understanding of the hydrologic cycle. Ability to take soil borings and conduct a soil analysis using the Unified Soil Classification System (USCS) or the ability to learn to conduct soil analysis using this method. Familiarity with Access and Google Apps a plus.

    Physical Requirements

    Office work will include extended periods of time sitting while using a computer. Some physical lifting is required (up to 30 lbs.). Outdoor work may involve walking on uneven ground and steep slopes along the river. Position also requires successful candidate to be able to use manual gardening equipment (i.e. shovels, rakes) to do outdoor labor in a natural or cultivated garden setting.

    Work Environment

    This position is primarily an office position with occasional outdoor work. Outdoor work occurs in all seasons and weather conditions.

    Learning Objectives

    Experience the Green Infrastructure Design Intern will gain in this position:

    • Environmental restoration/stewardship project planning and execution
    • Working knowledge of green infrastructure best practices and hands-on installation experience
    • Public education and community building
    • Skill development for the design profession related to project management, design development, construction documentation, client relationships, participatory engagement strategies, and landscape maintenance.
    • Professional skill development specifically related to multi-tasking and organization, problem solving, interpersonal communication, and data management
    • Networking with other professionals in the environmental and other fields

    Required Dates

    • May 18 – Rouge Rescue

    Application instructions

    E-mail résumé and cover letter directly to Cyndi Ross,

    Updated: November 11, 2019

    Terms of Employment – At-Will Employment Status

    All persons employed by FOTR, regardless of classification status, are employed on an “at-will” basis. As such, employment can be terminated with our without cause, and with or without notice, at any time, at either your option of the option of FOTR. No supervisor, coordinator, manager, or other representative of FOTR other than the Executive Director has the authority to enter into any agreement or contract for employment for any specified period of time. The provisions contained in this policy supersede any and all previous oral or written statements or representations that have been made by FOTR or by someone purporting to represent FOTR.  Employees should be aware, while FOTR employees are required to participate in regular performance evaluation; this evaluation process is not intended to be a means of creating legal rights and does not affect the “at-will” nature of the terms of employment.