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Virginia Working Landscapes Internship

The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute provides the opportunity for one intern to gain experience with the study of wildlife biodiversity and conservation of native species on Virginia’s working landscapes. Virginia Working Landscapes is a Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute program that focuses on biodiversity and landscape conservation through grassland and riparian research, education and community engagement. Intern will also assist with biodiversity surveys that explore the impact of landscape management and change on wildlife through surveys of pollinators, grassland birds and grassland flora.

The intern will participate in activities associated with surveys of a variety of species, management and analyses of relevant data, and outreach and education to engage the local community on conservation topics. They will play a significant role in advancing the program's knowledge of local biodiversity and the impacts of land management and conservation practices on wildlife.

Learning Objectives: 

 As they gain important experience with conservation science and engagement, interns will:

  • Learn and assist with fieldwork and field season planning for the 2018 season, including grassland survey set-up and detailed and accurate data collection for plant, bird and pollinator surveys
  • Learn data management skills, including how to input data from recent surveys and help manage large spreadsheets
  • Assist with managing output from an array of projects to be carried out by staff, graduate students, other interns and citizen scientists.
  • Create content for the website and other outreach materials
  • Develop communications skills by assisting with outreach events and meetings with stakeholders, key conservation organizations and partners in the region
  • Assist with year-end Landowner Reports
  • Develop project management skills through the completion of an independent study relevant to the learning objectives of the applicant
  • Learn mentoring skills by working with undergraduate practicum students and classes
  • Learn technical skills and provide assistance using programs, such as ArcGIS, R-Studio and Excel

In addition to the general VWL activities listed above, all internships of six months or more within the VWL program require the completion of an independent study that encourages interns to develop project management skills. The independent study will be assigned based on the education level of the intern, their career interests and individual learning objectives. At the end of their tenure, the intern will be required to write an abstract on their project suitable for submission to a scientific meeting, create a poster highlighting their project outcomes and submit a written deliverable that will be discussed between the intern and their mentor (ie. report, manuscript, webpage, protocol, etc.).

Intern will participate in current research on native biodiversity in Virginia and projects that will reinforce their skills in project management, data analysis, biodiversity monitoring, field survey techniques, communications and conservation planning. Intern will connect with partnering conservation organizations working in various areas of conservation and exchange ideas with researchers in different science areas at SCBI. Participation in seminars, VWL workshops and events, and other educational activities at SCBI is required.
The stipend is $1,000 per month.
The intern will make his or her own housing arrangements in the Front Royal, Virginia, area.
Parking is available to interns.
Term of appointment: 
This is a six month internship, starting March 15, and is a full-time appointment (40 hours per week). There is an opportunity for extension up to a year.
Front Royal
Internship Category: 
Animal Programs
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to: Select "New to SOLAA? Create Account Here" complete the information to create an account. 

Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • Professional resume or CV
  • A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, your reasons for wanting this internship, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations
  • Transcripts from your current and/or previous institutions. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
  • Two letters of reference (One must be from a current or a former supervisor)
  • Schedule of availability.

Once you create your account and provide the information above, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. You will select:

  • Type of appointment: “Internship”
  • Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
  • Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
  • Project: “SCBI-Virginia Working Landscapes”

IMPORTANT: Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit.” Your SOLAA submitted application with references must be received by the deadlines as noted above.

Questions about this internship should be sent to