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To provide Cal Poly students, faculty, staff and the public with a unique interdisciplinary environment in which to foster the Learn by Doing philosophy by providing educational experiences on a working ranch, supporting diversified agriculture and forest resources while maintaining the integrity of ranch operations.

  —Our Mission

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Internship Opportunities

Internship Information

Internship Application Form

Join us at Swanton Pacific Ranch where you will gain hands-on skills and training. Intern positions prepare emerging professionals for the daily tasks associated with their discipline. General ranch duties may include: wildlife and livestock water development, riparian fencing, field preparation, irrigation, planting, weeding, harvesting, marketing, animal husbandry, permanent fencing, temporary fencing, equipment maintenance, facility maintenance. Further opportunities are described below.

The internship position requires enrollment (6-12 units) in AG 339, AG 439, or related courses, toward which interns will complete a Career Project.

The Swanton Pacific Ranch Career Project provides interns the opportunity to identify and thoroughly investigate a project of interest within holistic resource management. The main goal of the Career Project is to help interns understand the mechanisms, logistics, and policies involved with sustainable resource management of a working ranch that is located in an area of ecological sensitivity.

Each intern will:

  1. gain hands-on training in technical and analytical skills involved with sustainable resource management
  2. enhance professional development through networking with individuals from state and federal agencies, private landowners, and independent consulting firms
  3. recognize how their hard work contributes to responsible resource production and the conservation of threatened/endangered species found within the Santa Cruz Mountains.

In order to receive academic credit, interns are required to develop and complete a final document which describes all components of their project in detail, as well as give a presentation that will be delivered to ranch staff, employees, and members of the community. Interns will be responsible for meeting deadlines and will work closely with education and research support staff. Failure to meet deadlines could result in termination from the internship.

See List of Previous Projects

Available Positions

Watershed Management

Learn to use hydrologic instrumentation, survey channel morphology and analyze acquired field data. Project work can include instream flow measurements, suspended sediment survey, geomorphic data collection and analysis, on the ground sediment source surveys, stream channel survey, water temperature data collection and analysis, maintenance and installation of flumes and equipment, water quality and weather data processing, forest and range road inventory and improvement, erosion control, post-fire monitoring and data collection and GIS mapping.

Livestock & Range Management

Learn to apply principles from Holistic Management: Work with livestock and on fire repair, install water systems, fencing, and learn planned grazing practices. Project work can include: rangeland and livestock maintenance, monitoring health and condition of horses, cow-calf herd and stocker cattle, planned grazing implementation of stocker operation, plan and install permanent and temporary fencing, maintain riparian fencing, wildlife and livestock water development, range survey and improvement, maintenance of animal handling facilities, range and forest road improvement.

Forestry Management

Collect field data for Non Industrial Timber Management Plan and Continuous Forest Inventories. Post-fire habitat recovery. Project work can include stream habitat survey and improvement, range and forest road improvement, water quality and hydrologic measurements, forest inventory, timber harvest plan preparation, timber sale layout, GIS mapping, trail development, firewood harvest and sales, lumber milling.

Sustainable Agriculture

Learn about the fundamentals of sustainable agriculture in both Cal Poly operations and in Jacob's Farm-Del Cabo production fields at SPR. Help manage our organic apple orchard and pumpkin field, participate in educational demonstrations, maintain standards for CCOF certification, and develop marketing and outreach tools. Project work can include nutrient monitoring, remote irrigation sensing, beneficial insect community monitoring, integrated pest management, marketing and field operations such as irrigation, planting, weeding, thinning, and harvest.

Students who are interested in joining the Cal Poly Strawberry Center's internship program can also undertake a project here in Jacob's Farm-Del Cabo organic strawberry fields (please note interest in application form).

Food Science & Nutrition

Gain comprehensive hands-on experience in the culinary arts, nutritional meal planning, food safety techniques, food product sales and regulatory affairs, and product development using CCOF certified organic apples, organic culinary herbs, and Swanton Grass Fed beef.

Interns should be able to:

  • Navigate over steep and or uneven terrain.
  • Communicate effectively and get along with others in a live/work situation.
  • Lift heavy objects such as: bales of hay, bags of feed and seed, chainsaw, fencing wire, and lumber.

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Application Information

While most interns choose to apply during summer quarter, applications are accepted for all quarters throughout the year. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply in the third week of the quarter prior to their intended internship. To be considered please fill out the application form. Positions may be determined by a competitive interview process and will remain open until filled.

View Application Form

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should I bring to the Ranch?

In the summer time Davenport is prone to being either foggy or extremely windy, so keep that in mind when packing. It also gets hot further into the valley. Layering is recommended.

  • Sturdy work clothes (long pants are required)
  • Work boots (sturdy work boots are required)
  • Work gloves
  • Hiking shoes
  • Rubber boots
  • Hats - one for sun, one for wind
  • Wind breaker
  • Warm jacket
  • Bath Towels
  • Warm Bedding - regular twin size beds
  • Pillow
  • Poison Oak Medicine - Technu and Calagel are recommended
  • Sunscreen
  • Laundry soap
  • Desk Lamp
  • Alarm with battery back-up
  • Flashlight
  • Notebook
  • Calling card - cell phone coverage is minimal on the ranch

Optional… Based on the recommendations of past interns

  • Leatherman
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Bicycle
  • Surf Board
  • Wetsuit
  • Bathing suit
  • Reading material

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What is the mailing address and phone number?

Your mailing address is:
125 Swanton Road
Davenport, CA 95017

Telephone number to reach you directly (Bunk house): (831) 458-5419
Emergency use only: (831) 458-5410

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Who do I contact for more information?

Dr. Brian Dietterick

Brian Dietterick - Ranch Director

Phone: (831) 458-5415 (from campus 8-5415)
bdietter@calpoly.edu

Additional Contacts