Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Conservation Ecology Research Internship

Wood Turtle Ecology Paid Internship

The National Zoo’s Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) is offering an internship opportunity in association with its regional conservation ecology research.

We seek an intern to assist with the study of the population and nesting ecology of the wood turtle in Virginia. This project is coordinated with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the U.S. Forest Service and is designed to inform the conservation plan for Virginia and management strategies for the George Washington National Forest.

Activities and Learning Opportunities:

  • Application of turtle population surveys
  • Monitoring of wood turtle nest and hatchling in national forests
  • Organization and analyses of data to advance the management of this threatened species in the region
  • Learn the use and management of conservation strategies in Virginia national forest
  • Interns will participate in regular scheduled seminars, journal club and workshops related to conservation and ecology
  • A brief project report will be required at the conclusion of their tenure


  • Candidates should have graduated from a university within the last 12 months and have undergraduate coursework in ecology, conservation biology or a closely related field.
  • Some knowledge and experience with ecology and conservation issues in the mid-Atlantic region is helpful, as is a general interest in herpetology.
  • Ability to work long hours in hot and humid conditions at a somewhat remote field setting. Hiking five miles or more per day is not unusual.
  • Follow direction easily and work well with others, follow established survey and mapping protocols, and collect detailed and accurate data.
  • Applicants should have plans for continued education or a career in ecology or conservation.

Term of Appointment

The internship starts on May 1, 2014. The maximum period is six months, but shorter appointments during this period will be considered depending on the qualifications of the candidate. This is a full-time internship (40 hours per week).


The stipend is $600-800 per month (dependent on education level and coursework).


Housing is provided at the field site (close to George Washington National Forest) from May through June. Housing on campus will be available for the remaining time.


The internship location will be at SCBI at Front Royal, Virginia, but interns will live near the field site from May through June.

Application Deadline

April 11, 2014

To Apply

  1. Go to https://solaa.si.edu and create an account in the Smithsonian On-Line Academic Appointment System (SOLAA).
  2. Go to Internship Opportunities section and submit application materials to the National Zoological Park Internship Program.
  3. When completing the application, select the project “SCBI – Wood Turtle Ecology."

Application materials must include:

  • A cover letter describing your interest and what you hope to get out of your internship, qualifications, and career plans
  • A resume including contact information for two references
  • College transcripts

For Additional Information

Send an email to Thomas Akre regarding the Wood Turtle Internship.