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Conservation Education Internship

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 over two 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 Friends of the National Zoo’s Conservation Education and Volunteer Engagement Team. The Conservation Education Intern will get the chance to work alongside Managers and Education Specialists who provide innovative and engaging opportunities for visitors to the Zoo, while growing skills in program development, research and informal education.

Conservation Education Interns may assist with one or more of the following projects:

  • Developing training materials for the Zoo’s education volunteer corps
  • Assisting with the development and coordination of conservation education events and programs
  • Preparing, conducting, and analyzing visitor and volunteer evaluations
  • Researching, developing, prototyping and/or conducting new and ongoing conservation education initiatives
Learning Objectives: 

Duties vary based on current project needs but may include:

  • Developing educational activities and materials to be used in volunteer training and visitor education programs
  • Assistance with conservation education events, including the development of activities, messaging and other related content, as well as the coordination of logistics and program details
  • Comprehensive research of species-specific information — including natural habitat and distribution, diet, adaptations, communication, reproduction, relevant conservation issues and messages, and more — for a variety of animals
  • Collaboration with Smithsonian’s National Zoo animal care staff in content development and review
  • Curation of media to be used in digital visitor education initiatives
  • Conducting and analyzing evaluations
  • Participation in FONZ volunteer interpreter training
  • Other duties as assigned

Education: Minimum of two years of college at an accredited institution; 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 conservation and wildlife education
  • Ability to create exciting and engaging content and activities for audiences of all ages
  • Ability to understand and interpret scientific information
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Creativity and professionalism
  • Diligence and attention to detail
  • Willingness to take initiative and motivation to seek new learning opportunities
  • Flexibility and a good sense of humor
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Computer proficiency in MS Office & Acrobat; Knowledge of Photoshop, Premier Pro, Illustrator, InDesign, Captivate, Moodle, or similar design software and/or online learning platforms a plus
  • Zoo, aquarium or other museum related experience preferred
  • Must be comfortable actively working outside in all weather
  • Must be able to lift 30 pounds
This is an unpaid internship. If applicable, FONZ will work with an intern to obtain credit hours for internship, but it is the responsibility of the intern to verify availability through their school and supply paperwork in a timely fashion.
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: 

Spring and fall interns are asked to work two days per week for six months. Summer interns are asked to work five days per week for the month of June, July and August. Length of term and starting and ending dates are somewhat flexible. Applicants should indicate availability when submitting their application.

Application deadline(s): 
Friday, May 1, 2020
Washington DC
Internship Category: 
Friends of the National Zoo
How to Apply: 

Please submit the following via email to FONZed&volunteers@si.edu. Applications that fail to include all requested items will not be considered.

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Names and contact details of two professional references
  • Desired term (spring, summer or fall) and availability

Application Deadlines: 

  • Spring internship - November 20, 2019
  • Summer internship - February 1, 2020
  • Fall internship - May 1, 2020