My Experience Interning at the Trail Conference (I Didn’t Even Need Hiking Boots!)

By Elissa D’Aries, Former New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Intern


Elissa D’Aries interned at the Trail Conference in 2015.

As a not-outdoorsy literature major who would admittedly rather be sitting inside rereading Jane Eyre than hiking Bear Mountain, I never imagined interning at the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. Still, when my career adviser suggested that I spend part of my precious last semester at Ramapo College interning for the Trail Conference, I was interested. What kinds of tasks would they have someone like me, who doesn’t know anything about trail maintenance, do?

Now that I’ve wrapped up my internship, I must say that they had plenty of interesting tasks for me to do—and none of them involved me even going outside! In my first and longest task, I worked with the amazing Jeremy Apgar, the Trail Conference’s cartographer, to edit the descriptions and directions for the 20-part Long Path map set. I also researched potential contacts for the organization, edited park descriptions, and helped edit this very blog, among other tasks. All of these duties either had to do with writing, which is related to my major and (fingers crossed) my eventual career, or office work. As a recent college graduate, I quickly learned that even entry-level jobs require some office experience, so having this internship gave my resume a much- needed edge—and helped me land my first job!

Not only did this experience help me with my job search, it also allowed me to get to know a diverse group of great workers and volunteers. I may not have known what to expect before starting my internship, but now I would recommend it to anyone—even those who quiver in fear at the thought of strapping on hiking boots.

If you’re interested in interning at the Trail Conference—on or off the trail—email John Leigh or call him at 201.512.9348 x 22.

About Trail Walker

Since 1920, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has partnered with parks to create, protect, and promote a network of more than 2,100 miles of public trails in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region. The Trail Conference organizes volunteer service projects that keep these trails open, safe, and enjoyable for the public. We publish maps and books that guide public use of these trails. The Trail Conference is a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization with a membership of 10,000 individuals and 100 clubs with a combined membership of 100,000 active, outdoor-loving people.
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