2019 Internship

Sustainable Community and Stewardship Alliance

May 21 to July 3 2019

Grow sustainable communities with us! Join in the process of learning how to build communities that can apply sustainable systems and work through problems to solutions. Adapting to climate change and other environmental issues necessitates culturally appropriate solutions. In this internship you will live with DIY technologies that allow us to live comfortably with the natural gifts of the sun and the rain. Learn to read the land and respond to what it needs to stay healthy. Practice decision making and community building methods that allow us to stay in good relationship with other community members.

Participate in building the world we need by joining a special partnership between two complementary land-based learning centers in the wilds of New Mexico. This will be an intimate community experience with seven other interns.

The internship begins with two weeks off the grid at Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center.  This high desert permaculture demonstration center meets all it’s water needs through rainwater collection and uses low-tech water recycling methods to grow food. Ampersand has been designed to meet all domestic fuel and power needs for the community by harvesting the abundant desert sun through solar design.

Interns will participate in an intensive sustainability curriculum and living learning experience at Ampersand. Learn what it takes to make a sustainable site function, from solar cooking and water infrastructure, to earthen plasters and community agreements. Ampersand’s founders have actively been working toward zero waste since beginning their journey on the site fourteen years ago. This sustainability curriculum based on personal experience and customized to the site is a unique offering that is taught by Ampersand’s Director and Systems Designer, Amanda Bramble.

During the 2 weeks spent at Ampersand, the curriculum will focus on

  • Watershed Functions, Land Restoration and Local Hydrology
  • Social Permaculture and Decolonization
  • Water and Solar Sustainable Design Systems
  • Natural Building

Interns will then travel to the renowned Lama Foundation, a retreat, educational center and spiritual community. Join in the unique community experience that has been honed in this mountain setting since 1967. Participate in morning meditation, consensus decision making, and cultural and ceremonial practices that honor all spiritual traditions. Here there will be educational service projects based on stewarding the wild land and tending the planted gardens.

Like Ampersand, Lama is powered by solar energy. There are beautiful naturally built structures. The spring that flows from the mountain sustains the life on the mountain. Interns will spend time contributing to the tasks that sustain Lama and have the special opportunity to apply what they have learned from the intensive Ampersand curriculum to a new ecosystem, one with it’s own culture.

There will be guest speakers and field trips to deepen the larger cultural experience of being in the magical place that is Northern New Mexico. This area contains historic agricultural communities of hispanic origin as well as native pueblos still carrying on their traditions that go back centuries.

The month spent at Lama will surely expand your understanding of sustainable community!

The Ampersand Experience

At Ampersand you will stay either in a small strawbale cottage or the large tipi. Or both! The housing will be shared with other interns in the program. We will have formal classes twice a week. There will be group hands on projects that relate to the learning at hand. These include watershed restoration work like erosion control rock structures, and mixing and applying earthen plaster for a natural building project. There will be a couple days a week for free time to explore the land, peruse the library, and reflect on your experience. We will take a couple hikes from Ampersand to exciting destinations like the Galisteo River and the village of Madrid.

We see sustainability as an approach to life, which includes our relationships with everything- our resources, our waste, our interactions with the earth and fellow humans. We take our work seriously and get great satisfaction from it. We also integrate a patient attitude that values an inquisitive, fun and peaceful work/live environment. This community comes together to support each other in our paths towards living harmoniously with the earth in a way that values our individual passions and visions.

The Lama Experience

During the summer, Lama Foundation welcomes visitors and pilgrims from all walks of life to join the community and connect with the land.  Expect to join a big community and pitch in to make it all work!

At 8,600 ft above sea level, Lama Foundation is at the southern tip of the Rockies. Bring a tent to pitch in the Lama campground. (Support can be provided for securing a tent)

While the community at Lama is always evolving, several key commitments form the container that allows for the rich development of the community and each individual on the mountain. Since Lama’s beginnings, daily meditation, a no-drugs/no alcohol policy, consensus decision-making, and a spirit of inquiry into one’s own spiritual practice have been the formative tools for individual and community development. Interns will also take field trips, have guest speakers at Lama, and get to participate in ceremonial experiences like Heart Club, Zikr, and Shabbat. See more at Lama’s website.

All interns who have completed the Sustainable Community and Stewardship Alliance program are welcome to stay longer at Lama through their Summer Stewardship program.


Internship Cost is $1500

Hampshire College students can find scholarship information here.

Read what our past interns (and others) say about their time at Ampersand.IMG_0138

Interns are expected to have a strong work ethic, ability to take initiative and follow through with agreements, good communication skills, and a flexibility in working and living with others.

Apply Here


The application window is January to Mid March. Applications will be reviewed in order they are received.

Use this online form above to apply.

Contact us here.