Please note that the Tatalu Conservation Residency was previously known as our Internship Program. Its name was changed in 2022 to more accurately reflect the intentionality of the program and its evolution in recent years.
The Tatalu Conservation Residency at Brooksdale Environmental Centre is a residential apprenticeship-style program focused on living out environmental stewardship in practical and holistic ways. Residencies include instruction and practical training in a concentration area – Conservation Science, Environmental Education, Sustainable Agriculture, or Food & Hospitality – yet they are so much more than work training! Residencies are an invitation into a community, way of life, and expression of faith that seeks the flourishing of both people and places.
Residents live, learn, and work at Brooksdale’s beautiful heritage property in Surrey, BC. Residencies run in three terms per year. See “dates” section below for more information. Consider immersing yourself in this transformative experience for a term this year!
Each term has space for up to 15 residents. Spaces in specific concentrations do fill up, and you are encouraged to get your application in as early as possible. It’s not too soon to apply for next year now. We would love to hear from you!
Residents live at the Brooksdale Environmental Center and participate in all that life and work here has to offer. The program is considered full-time and runs Tuesday – Saturday each week for a three-month term (Spring, Summer, or Fall). Sundays & Mondays & Holidays are off-days and residents are welcome to travel home, explore the local region, or spend some down-time at the center.
Residents participate in a particular concentration areas for the term. Concentration options include Conservation Science, Environmental Education, Sustainable Agriculture, and Food & Hospitality. Each area has a program lead and a team of staff working alongside residents who learn through practical experience in their area. Learn more about each area below.
There is a weekly teaching time with residents on Thursday afternoons which cover topics centering around a theme of Creation Care Theology. These sessions seek to integrate the questions of “how does my faith relate to the work of caring for the earth?”. We will explore together the intersection of questions around personal vocation, convictions and values, faith and theology, and local and global environmental issues.
Residents are paired with a staff member for regular bi-weekly one-on-one check-ins. These times are designed to care for residents during their time with us and provide space for reflection and processing of community-life experiences, and personal learning.
Residents gather weekly with the residency coordinators to have an intentional group time of connection. These times vary week-to-week but you can expect them to include times together such as: watching a documentary and having discussion, going to the beach for a walk, playing a game. It is a meaningful time of getting to know one another better and maximizing our short time together.
Working and living at a thriving non-profit is great experience and exposure to those potentially interested in work in the non-profit sector. Residents help and participate in a wide range of center activities outside of their program area such as community events.
The Brooksdale Center is home year-round to on-site staff and families, and also hosts a guesthouse and retreat center. Residents enter into this vibrant intentional community and often express that they feel a sense of family in this place. Residents live together in a home on-site. Lunches are shared together with Brooksdale staff, while dinners are in a smaller group with the other residents. In addition to their program components, residents are welcomed to participate in many of our regular community practices such as a daily contemplative prayer gatherings and weekly music or games nights.
Please note that all people who live on site are also responsible for participating in community life (chores, cooking, hospitality, and assisting with on-site events).
Research priority species, conduct environmental monitoring, and restore riparian habitat in the Little Campbell Valley Watershed. Receive training in field-study skills as well as in data collection and reporting.
Assist in running experiential environmental education programs for school aged kids, families, and seniors through field trips, workshops and day camps. Work with our fun-loving education team to help connect people to their place through nature-themed games, forest walks, garden work, seasonal cooking, and more!
Gain valuable hands-on experience in small-scale sustainable agriculture through our Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) project. Work in a team environment to prep, plant, weed, water, and harvest farm fresh produce. Experience the wonder of watching a small seed grow into something delicious!
Food & Hospitality
Help draw the farm to table connection by cooking community meals for our center with seasonal produce grown on-site. We eat meals together daily and our hospitality residents get supported experience in the kitchen cooking with seasonal, sustainably grown food.
A Rocha Canada’s Brooksdale conservation team is doing high quality science to work towards thriving ecosystems within our watershed. Some of the practical things you would do as a conservation resident may include:
Assist with community-based environmental restoration projects, including planting native species, invasive species removal and more
Assist in conservation science projects such as fish, amphibian, and bird habitat enhancement projects, water quality monitoring, and various species-at-risk surveys
Assist with developing new research questions and carrying out hypothesis-driven research studies pertaining to species-at-risk
Participate in local stewardship events
Research and develop resource materials related to stewardship and fish and wildlife habitat
Assist with caring for the native plant nursery
Many of our conservation residents have a background in the sciences and are looking to get hands-on work experience in their field of interest. Some residents have more research experience than others, and we have designed two residency tracks within conservation science to reflect residents’ varied backgrounds:
Research track: Residents in the research track will be assigned their own projects for the term. They will work with conservation science staff to conduct or update literature reviews, gather and manage field survey data, analyze data, write up a scientific report, and present their findings at the end of the term. Residents in this track typically have a post-secondary degree or are near completion, have significant coursework in science, and have experience managing a project and writing a research report.
Practical track: Residents in the practical track will gain a wide range of experience across multiple conservation projects. They will assist with field surveys, restoration projects, and other tasks depending on the season. Residents in this track may have less formal training in science and are hoping to gain hands on experience and learn alongside others. They may complete a practical project such as designing a guide to native plant propagation, developing community outreach materials, or designing a GIS map, among others. All residents will prepare a presentation to reflect on their experience at the end of the term.
To learn more about the Conservation work happening in the Little Campbell River Watershed read-on here.
A note about the fall conservation residency
Conservation science at Brooksdale looks different during every season. The spring and summer terms are full of various field projects related to species at risk, habitat stewardship, and watershed health. In the fall, we hunker down a bit and set aside more time to finish analyzing data and writing reports from our spring and summer surveys. We also devote a lot of time to habitat restoration, since fall is a great time to be planting native species and removing invasives. Because of this, fall residents will work primarily on restoration projects. You can read more about our habitat restoration work in the Little Campbell River watershed here. If you prefer to focus your residency on wildlife or species surveys apart from practical restoration activities, we encourage you to apply for a spring or summer term.
We also encourage applications for more than one term! Three months is short, and there are many benefits to staying for two or three terms to experience the wide range of conservation activities across seasons.
Brooksdale’s education team are passionate about providing people of all ages with hands-on experiences in creation. All of our school programs are tied to the BC curriculum learning outcomes. We provide programs for Pre-school, Kindergarten, Grades 1 to 12 students, as well as underserved families and seniors in our community. We also offer creative learning opportunities for Language Arts, Arts Education or Culinary Arts in a natural setting. Our education interns are excited to learn about a variety of topics from salmon life-cycles, to native species, to basic gardening skills and are trained to share their new-found knowledge in interactive ways. This is a great opportunity for those who are passionate about the outdoors and love to cultivate that passion in others. Some of the practical things you would do as an education resident may include:
Plan and implement environmental education programs
Work with people from a broad range of backgrounds and ages, with a focus on elementary school ages
Lead activities with groups of children for school programs, day-camp programs, summer camp workshops and community events on and off-site
Work with underserved communities such as new immigrant, refugee and low-income families; children and youth at risk and seniors who are socially isolated and physically inactive
Research and create resources for education programs
To learn more specifically about Brookdale’s educations programs read-on here.
Brooksdale has 2 acres of sustainably farmed garden providing a bounty of produce for meals served at our center, the local food bank, and our CSA program. Agriculture residents can expect physical work outdoors to help us grow healthy, delicious food. Our agriculture residents come from all backgrounds and generally share a love of food and an interest in learning more about sustainable gardening. Some of the practical things you would do as an agriculture resident may include:
Assist the Farm Manager to plan, manage and implement the garden season
Do physical labour outdoors:
Winter Term (February – May)
Planning/organizing, greenhouse plant propagation, bed prep, soil tillage, direct seeding and transplanting towards the end of term
Harvesting, bed cleanup, composting, root cellaring, preserving, cover crop planting
To learn more specifically about Brookdale’s CSA program read-on here.
Food & Hospitality
At Brooksdale we aim to eat what we can directly from our garden – year round! That means learning skills to adapt recipes to utilize seasonal produce and provide farm-fresh meals. Depending on the season you may also learn valuable preservation skills to help us eating local all year long. Some of the practical things you would do as a hospitality resident may include:
Cook a few times a week for large groups from local, seasonal foods
Seasonally help with canning and preserving foods for use year round
Liaise with the garden team regarding seasonal produce ready for use
Assist part-time in the garden with harvesting & other garden tasks
Is This Program For Me?
Over the years we have had Residents from all over the world and from all seasons and stages of life. Residents must be at least 18 years of age to apply. We have had singles, couples and even families join us in the past. The Tatalu Conservation Residency may be for you if you are:
In a transitional season (gap-year, recent graduates, career change),
Looking for a practical outworking of your values and faith,
Interested in an intentional community learning and living experience,
An international student looking for an environmental overseas experience,
Needing to fill internship credits for a university program, or
Wanting to get work training and experience in one of our concentration areas.
What past residents are saying
“My Internship at A Rocha exceeded all of my expectations! It was one of the best experiences of my life.” ~ Joseph Prescott Sones, Sustainable Agriculture Intern
“Being part of the A Rocha Canada community for a season was really rewarding and gave me a real sense of what working in the conservation field is like. I enjoyed all aspects of my internship and learned a lot about life, God, science, community, and food.” ~ Jennifer Rumley, Conservation Science Intern
Term Dates & Covid-19 Updates
*Update October 2022: The Canadian border is now open to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals for international travel. We welcome international applicants for 2023.
Please note that these dates are subject to change.
Costs for Residencies include all room and board, training and opportunities related to residency program areas, and community experience. The majority of this cost goes toward room and board, and the remaining portion goes toward covering some program activities (staffing, retreat, teaching times, program coordination, etc.). Staff also fundraise to help cover the costs of running this program!
Total Program Fees for Spring/Summer session: $5800 ($2900 spring + $2900 summer)
Fees for Summer session: $2900
Fees for Summer/Fall session: $6600 ($2900 summer + $3300 fall)
*please note the price difference is reflective of the longer duration of the summer/fall term
Each term requires a $400 advance deposit to hold your spot, due upon acceptance, which will go toward the full cost of the program.
Remaining spring fees (due on start of spring term) + summer deposit: 2500 + 400 = 2900
Remaining summer fees (due at start of summer term): 2500
Remaining summer fees (due at start of summer term): 2500
Remaining summer fees (due at start of summer term)+ fall deposit: 2500 + 400 = 2900
Remaining fall fee (due at start of fall term): 3300
All prices in Canadian dollars.
*Prices all inclusive.
Please note we are unable to offer scholarships or bursaries towards the cost of the Tatalu Conservation Residency program.
Written by past Tatalu Conservation Resident, Isabel Gutierrez, pictured on the left above. --- My experience at A Rocha has been full of delight for all the different languages each creature speaks, mimics and embodies. [...]
Written by Aurora Sarchet, a Conservation Science resident. --- Today, I am going to introduce you to a beetle. “What?” you say, “A beetle? I don’t really like those. Too many legs.” “Too bad!” I [...]
Written by Megan Tanlimco, a Conservation Science resident, pictured above. --- I came to A Rocha as a break from school, where my time was governed by lectures, assignments, and exams. Rather than the start of [...]