Eco Gap Internship

Create your own learning project while being an intern at the EcoVillage Ithaca

Eco-Gap Internship


Stay for any number of weeks between April 1st and August 15th. You can opt to stay for as little as 2 weeks or much longer depending on the availability of our households to host you.  Apply anytime. First come, first serve.

Internship Details

Our Internship Program provides you with an opportunity to live with a household at EcoVillage Ithaca while pursuing a project that interests you and which is relevant to the principles and structure of the village.   On your application form, you’ll let us know what your interests are and what type of project you can imagine.  We will then reach out and discuss with you how we could accommodate your interests.   This Eco-Gap program option is quite independent, allowing you to manage your own time and seek out your own interests while staying committed to learning about EcoVillage Ithaca through your mentors and working on your personal project.  There may be other Eco-Gap participants at the village while you are, but not necessarily.

Project ideas would likely be focused on the themes of small-scale, organic agriculture, healthy cooking and living, green building, energy efficiency and concepts related to living in a community such as conflict resolution, problem solving and leadership.  We will be happy to talk to you to offer you ideas and hone in on your interests!

“It blew my expectations away. I didn’t know what to expect.  I absolutely would recommend this to others!”   

A view of Cornell University and Cayuga Lake.
EcoVillage Ithaca is on the left/west side of the lake.

Program Eligibility

The internship program is designed for younger and older adults, ages 17 and up, who have at least finished high school or a GED or equivalent diploma and are curious to learn more about life at an ecovillage.  We are seeking a diverse group of individuals in terms of culture, gender identification, race, ethnicity, economic background, and ability.  The ideal candidate will have a curious mind and an open heart and will be willing to engage with others in a respectful and courteous manner.  S/he will be passionate about the need for real and sustained change in the world that involves exploring methods of living that are inclusive of all peoples and beneficial for our planet and will need to manage their time with a moderate degree of independence.

Housing Information

Eco-Gap participants will be housed with residents of EcoVillage Ithaca.  All participants will have their own room or share a room or house with one or more participants.  Participants can indicate their preference for housing when they apply.

One of the many homes in the EcoVillage


One of the most important factors in working towards a more sustainable way of living on this earth is to recognize how integral our eating habits are to the health and well-being of our bodies, minds, and spirits.  Our dietary choices affect our animal friends, our soils, our waters, and our social networks.  You will be responsible for cooking some of your own meals, while others will be shared with your homestay family or with EcoVillage residents during optional weekly community meals.   Residents at EVI take healthy eating seriously.  To this end, shared meals will be mostly organic, locally grown, planned, cooked and eaten together … and delicious!

Dietary preferences and restrictions will be taken into consideration and are requested on the application form.

Safety and Security

The safety and well-being of program participants will be the number one priority.  Luckily EVI is one of the safest places on earth.  It is also a modern-day community with electricity, running water, internet access and just a few minutes drive to the City of Ithaca and nearby hospitals and clinics.  The city of Ithaca is also very safe and crime is minimal.  For the occasions in which participants will be leaving the ecovillage, either on their own or in groups, proper orientation will be given to ensure personal safety.   In addition, all program guides, staff, and volunteers will be given required training regarding codes of conduct and safety protocols.  All program participants will be asked to disclose any personal health information or other circumstances to help the program guides facilitate their well being.

Internship Costs

Cost of the program is $500/week for a time period of 2-10 weeks between the dates of April 1st – July 31st.

It is unlikely that we will be able to grant scholarships for this program, but some work-trade options may be possible.

Program Cost Includes:

  • Housing with residents of EcoVillage Ithaca
  • All meals
  • Internship placement and mentoring and overall logistical support


Program Guides

The Internship Program will be coordinated and mentored by EcoVillage staff as well as by individual village mentors who are paired with students based on their interests for their projects.

Many residents of the EcoVillage will also be actively involved with the program participants by serving as their host families, working alongside them on village projects, cooking and eating together, mentoring them on their internship projects and contributing their expertise through various workshops and presentations.

Members of EcoVillage Ithaca in front of their new solar panels.

Staff and Members of the Advisory Circle:

Liz Walker, Executive Director, Learn@EcoVillageIthaca

Liz Walker: Liz is the co-founder of EcoVillage Ithaca.   She has lived here since it was built in 1996 and organized the development of its three neighborhoods.  She is currently the Director of LEARN@EcoVillage, the educational branch of EVI. She’s written award-winning books about living sustainably, leads trainings and tours about various dimensions of life at EVI, has walked across the United States and is an all-around wonder woman!  She guides program participants in understanding the many dimensions of community life at EVI including conflict resolution and cooking for large groups.

Jay Smith: Jay is a lifelong environmental activist who moved to the EcoVillage in 2015 from New York City.  He’s been involved in many inspiring urban farming and food justice movements in New York City and was even an urban beekeeper.  Since moving to Ithaca Jay has become a Master Composter, a member of the Equity and Accountability Committee of the Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming, a member of Black Lives Matter Ithaca and a co-organizer in the formation of the West Village “Dig’Nity” Garden.  He’s currently researching and writing a book on the expected impacts of climate change and food production, especially as it may affect African-Americans.  Jay mentors program participants in the program areas pertaining to farming.

Astrid Jirka: Astrid is a long time Ithaca resident who attended Cornell University where she received a B.A. in Anthropology with a focus on natural resource management.  She holds a Master’s Degree from the School for International Training and has subsequently worked in the fields of international education, sustainability activism, and eco-tourism.  Some of her unique experiences include managing a culinary herb farm, being an eco-tour guide in the Virgin Islands, and serving on the Natural Resources Commission for the City of Ithaca.  She’s also been the Outreach Coordinator of International Programs and a Lecturer on Ecotourism at Ithaca College and the Director of the Language House at Cornell University.  She currently teaches yoga and runs a business called Vahana Yoga & Eco-Tours.  She loves working with people of all ages and backgrounds to find common ground on how we can live together more sustainably on the earth and works with program participants on the themes of health and well-being.

Jared Jones: Jared recently retired from nursing after working for more than 40 years in everything from health promotion to hospice.   Since moving to Ecovillage in 1996 he has been involved in orchestrating community building activities and celebrations including dances, singalongs and rituals/celebrations. He was also part of the construction team that created the Third Neighborhood at EcoVillage (TREE) and has a strong working knowledge of green building techniques and renewable energy choices.  He has traveled widely in North and Central  America and in the Eastern Hemisphere and those travels have significantly informed his world view.  This collective experience gives him a broad background to consider as we explore the ideas of personal growth, health, and community sustainability together.  Jared teaches program participants do-it-yourself and green building skills.


APPLY HERE for Spring or Summer 2019 Internships
(Apply anytime.  First come, first serve.)



Note: Eco-Gap is a program of LEARN@EcoVillage Ithaca.