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Conservation Education Internship

This internship has closed. To see open and upcoming opportunities, visit the internships page.

Interested in pursuing a career in education, zoos, biology, conservation, museums or similar? What better setting to learn than at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, an AZA-accredited zoo that reaches more than 2 million visitors annually. See what it takes to educate future conservationists and engage guests from around the world as the next Conservation Education Intern with the Zoo’s Center for Learning Innovation Interns will get the chance to learn alongside education managers and specialists who provide innovative and engaging opportunities for Zoo visitors, while growing skills in program development, research, informal education and volunteer management.

Learning Objectives: 

By the end of the internship, interns will learn and practice how to:

  • Plan, develop and present a new conservation education program of their choosing as a final project
  • Celebrate, reflect and promote diversity, equity, access and inclusion in informal education
  • Tailor learning experiences to a variety of audiences
  • Write, edit and review education lesson plans
  • Conduct research of species-specific information for a variety of animals to be used in animal fact sheets, training materials and other educational resources
  • Prepare, conduct and analyze evaluations of education and volunteer programs
  • Monitor student progress in the Moodle LMS
  • Coordinate schedules and logistics for upcoming education programs
  • Correspond with educators to confirm registration for virtual programs
  • Brainstorm innovative project ideas
  • Work as a team with staff, volunteers and other interns
  • Use eLearning and design software to edit or create new supplemental education activities and materials

Subject to availability, interns may also have the opportunity to:  

  • Shadow and eventually co-facilitate virtual programs with education specialists
  • Shadow and, where fitting, assist in facilitating volunteer interpreter trainings
  • Assist in coordinating education events, including the organization of event logistics and vendors, emails to event partners, development of event activities, and other related content
  • Participate in Teacher Advisory Council meetings
  • Minimum of two years of study at an accredited college, university or institution.
  • Classwork and/or previous internship or job experience; background in science, education or museum studies preferred. Others are encouraged to apply and indicate how the position meets their education/career goals.
  • Interest and enthusiasm for wildlife conservation and education
  • Interest in creating exciting and engaging content and activities for audiences of all ages
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Creativity and professionalism
  • Diligence and attention to detail
  • Willingness to take initiative and seek new learning opportunities
  • Flexibility and a good sense of humor
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Computer proficiency in Microsoft Office
  • Must be comfortable being active outside in all weather
This is an unpaid internship. Upon acceptance, interns seeking college credit for this internship are responsible for obtaining necessary approvals from their university.
Washington DC
The intern must make his or her own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C., area.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution do not provide free parking to interns.
Term of appointment: 

The Zoo's Center for Learning Innovation holds three internships per year: spring, summer and fall. Spring and fall interns are asked to commit to approximately two days per week for six months. Summer interns are asked to commit five days per week for three months.

Reasonable exceptions to session dates and hours may be made in order to coordinate with university and/or work schedules. At this time, the spring conservation education internship will be conducted virtually. Summer and fall internships will be assessed at a later date.

Application deadline(s): 
Saturday, May 1, 2021
Internship Category: 
How to Apply: 

Please email the following materials to nzp-education@si.edu. Applications that fail to include all requested items will not be considered.

  • Cover letter, which should include relevant experience, career goals, why you are interested in this internship and what you hope to gain from the experience
  • Resume
  • Names and contact details of two professional (work or school) references
  • Desired term (spring, summer or fall)

Application Deadlines: 

  • Spring internship - Nov. 20, 2020
  • Summer internship - Feb. 1, 2021
  • Fall internship - May 1, 2021