Description: The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment seeks a Bioenergy Fellow to facilitate the implementation of a biomass processing facility in Wilseyville, California. The Fellow will work with Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions (CHIPS) on advancing a facility in the area, building on work CHIPS has already completed for this project. Catastrophic wildfires as a result of mismanaged forests and warmer, drier years are a salient threat to forested communities throughout the Sierra and Cascades. The Fellow will participate in a project that supports sustainable forest restoration through the harvesting of small diameter ladder fuels to supply cleaner-burning biomass boilers, which will create economic opportunity while supporting ecological resilience and reducing these threats in the area.


  • Research and develop technical comparisons of diverse technologies for use at the combined heat and power (CHP) facility
  • Facilitate the creation of a Native American greenhouse facility in the project yard, to be used for growing stock of culturally important species for wildland restoration
  • Help to oversee the conversion of the old mill site to house the CHP facility and Native American Greenhouse
  • Become educated/assist in the management of construction of facilities, including posting bids and identifying contractors for roads, fencing, foundations, electrical, water, etc.
  • Help to oversee activities with partner UC Merced to test value-added products created at the CHP facility, including a combination biochar, forest humus and turkey manure product to be used as soil amendment in agricultural settings
  • Assist in securing funding to advance several components of the biomass project yard

For additional information regarding the biomass facility, please visit to view planning and technical documents.


  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in related field (forestry, environmental engineering, bioenergy, natural resource management, etc.) or comparable work experience (biomass activities, plant management, etc.)
  • Technical and/or engineering experience
  • Ability to interact with the public in a professional and positive manner
  • Dependable, flexible, and able to work with minimal supervision
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Willingness to fully engage in the project and the communities in the project area
  • Enthusiastic, passionate, and open-minded about working in a economically-depressed rural community


Setting: The Fellowship will take place in Calaveras County, with the project site located in Wilseyville. Calaveras County is home to many rural forested communities that have experienced a severe economic depression exacerbated by the recent Butte Fire. Life in these rural communities can be challenging, dynamic, and incredibly rewarding. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada, Calaveras also touts refreshing swimming holes, great rafting opportunities along the three major rivers in the county, pristine hiking and fishing opportunities in alpine lakes and granite peaks, and is a quick 2 hours from Yosemite and 1 hour from Tahoe.


Position Duration: May 1, 2016- November 30, 2016 with possible extension (some flexibility on start date)

Compensations: $1,500/month stipend, housing and utilities covered by the host community, health insurance and travel reimbursement, professional development training


About the Sierra Fellows Program: The Sierra Fellows Program places a cohort of bachelor or advanced degree graduates throughout rural communities in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains to addressing a pressing needs in these isolated areas. Fellows are recruited to work on a specific, community-driven project, bringing with them needed skills that are absent in the community. Fellows are given a unique opportunity to work in and with a rural mountain community, receiving hands-on education and experience in rural community development principles and making a great impact on the areas where they work. To learn more please visit


To Apply:
Please send a cover letter, resume (complete, does not need to be on one page), and contact information for three references to Or mail to Sierra Institute PO Box 11 Taylorsville, CA 95983. Applications due April 15, 2016.
About Us:
The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment promotes healthy and sustainable forests and watersheds by investing in the well-being of rural communities and strengthening their participation in natural resource management.