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Early Childhood 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? Gain experience and contribute to the mission of saving species with the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. 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 learning programs specialists who provide innovative and engaging opportunities for K-12 students, families, early learners, and general Zoo visitors, while growing skills in program development, research, program facilitation and evaluation.

Fall 2022: This fall, the education team is seeking an early childhood intern. The early childhood conservation education intern will learn how to tailor learning experiences to meet the unique developmental needs of young children (ages 0-8), including the use of inquiry-based learning, nature play, dramatic play and sensory engagement.

Learning Objectives: 

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

  • Plan, develop and present a new conservation education program, material or research 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 outcomes and lesson plans.
  • Deliver scientific content to young children in appropriate and engaging ways. 
  • Prepare, conduct and analyze evaluations of education programs. 
  • Conduct research of species-specific information for a variety of animals to be used in training materials and other educational resources.
  • Coordinate schedules and logistics for upcoming education programs with key stakeholders throughout the Zoo.  
  • Brainstorm innovative project ideas.
  • Operate as a team with staff, volunteers and other interns.

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

  • Use eLearning and design software to edit or create new supplemental education activities and materials.
  • Shadow and eventually co-facilitate virtual programs with learning programs specialists.
  • Participate in Teacher Advisory Council meetings
  • Minimum of two years of study at an accredited college, university or institution
  • Relevant coursework and/or previous internship or job experience
  • Classwork and/or previous internship or job experience 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 conservation education
  • Interest in creating exciting and engaging content and activities for audiences of all ages
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • 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
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 will make their own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C. area.
The Smithsonian Institution do not provide free parking to interns.
Term of appointment: 

Interns are asked to commit a minimum of 16 hours per week from September to December. Reasonable exceptions to session dates and hours may be made in order to coordinate with university and/or work schedules.

Application deadline(s): 
Friday, July 22, 2022
Internship Category: 
How to Apply: 

Please email the following materials to Applications that fail to include all requested items will not be considered. Single attachments with all materials included preferred. In your email, please include which internship(s) you are interested in: virtual programs, early childhood or both.

  1. A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, why you are interested in this internship and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations.
  2. Resume
  3. Names and contact details of two professional (work or school) references