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Conservation and Land Management Internship Program

To apply: Please complete and send the following to Chris Woolridge at:


Current Openings:

Partner Agency and Office: US Fish and Wildlife Service - Klamath Falls, Oregon

Number of interns: 3

Target start date: May 9, 2022

Term length: 20 weeks

Position Description: Interns will be collecting biological and physical data related to sensitive species in the upper Klamath River basin. The primary objectives of the interns are to 1) assist with collection and management of data as it pertains to species under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and 2) gain practical field experience, collection techniques, data management, and data analysis techniques. Interns will complete multiple aquatic and terrestrial duties as assigned, which are described in more detail below. 

Interns will conduct surveys, sampling, and data collection of biological and physical parameters using various techniques for an array of species that may include, but is not limited to: Lost River sucker, shortnose sucker, bull trout, Oregon spotted frog, and Applegate's milk-vetch. Interns will acquire skills in fisheries techniques using zooplankton nets, net pens, backpack electrofishing, marking (e.g., passive integrated transponder tags, radio transmitters; fin clips), snorkeling, eDNA collection, and fish/plant/amphibian identification. Interns will conduct survey for different life stages of Oregon spotted frog (e.g., egg masses, juveniles, adults) and learn to differentiate species of frogs. Skills will be gained in plant identification and plant survey methodology. Interns may also participate in bald eagle nest monitoring and gain bird identification skills.

Work will also involve control of nonnative fish that threaten native fish of concern. Interns also will collect fish tissue samples to assist in development of eDNA assays. Interns may participate in an assisted rearing program for Lost River sucker and shortnose sucker. This project requires capturing larval fish, transporting fish to a rearing facility, and rearing fish in a controlled environment to improve survival. Interns will gain skills using water quality monitoring equipment to assess how water quality metrics affect fish survival and distribution. Interns also will gain skills using fish marking (e.g., passive integrated transponder tags) to monitor fish movement and subsequent survival. Fish may be marked with radio transmitters, so interns may gain knowledge in radio telemetry to track tagged fish.

Much data will be collected as part of these project activities. Thus, interns will complete and gain skills in data management, including entering, summarizing, and analyzing information using databases, GIS, and graphing and analysis software. Interns will also participate in report writing, which will provide an understanding of writing for various outlets (e.g., government reports, media). Previously, interns have completed projects and data analyses that resulted in publications in peer-reviewed outlets. As part of each project, interns will participate and obtain skills in sampling equipment assembly and maintenance, safety techniques, and interacting with the public.


Partner Agency & Office: US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station - Rapid City, SD

Number of interns: 1

Target start date: May 2, May 9, or May 16, 2022

Term length: 18 weeks

Position Description: We are recruiting one (1) Grassland Plant Ecology Intern to conduct field measurements for a drought and climate change study in the Northern Great Plains. Interns will be based out of the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Rapid City, SD and working on Buffalo Gap National Grassland, which is administered by the Forest Service. 

Interns will work as part of the Maintaining Resilient Dryland Ecosystems program and thus will be working mostly in northern mixed-grass prairie but may have an occasion to work in sagebrush and sagebrush associated habitats. As this is a collaboration between the USGS, Colorado State University, and RMRS, the intern will have an opportunity to interact with various scientists when in the field.  Ongoing projects are designed to give land managers and scientists a better understanding of northern mixed-grass prairie response to seasonal and extreme drought in the context of grazing. In support of this mission, interns will evaluate plant species composition, maintain mowing treatments and rainout shelter infrastructure, and conduct plant demography and biomass measurements. In addition to the drought project, interns may assist with additional projects as opportunities arise, such as fieldwork helping assess prescribed fire responses of annual brome and native vegetation in the region. Initially, interns will work together with the assistance of the lead scientist or an experienced technician. As the season progresses, they may be paired with another technician.

Primary Responsibilities: 

 - Lays out experimental plots by taking measurements and marking corners and boundaries.
 - Uses botanical key to identify plants encountered during fieldwork.
 - Measures individual plant traits including stem and leaf traits.
 - Monitors and maintains field site infrastructure, including rainout shelters and weather and soil data loggers.
 - Collects below-ground plant specimens from the field and prepares them for laboratory dissection.
 - Uses GPS to navigate to field locations and mark field sites.
 - Records data electronically and on paper data forms.
 - Enters field data into electronic format and checks data for quality control.
 - Reports accomplishments and providing recommendations for program improvements, priorities, and future projects. 


The Conservation and Land Management (CLM) internship program places early-career scientists in five-month paid internships to assist professional biologists with land management and conservation projects. Since 2001, the CLM program has successfully placed over 1350 interns, providing them with a rich experience from which to launch their professional careers. 

CLM Internship Benefits 
CLM internships are paid internships! ​
 Explore your career goals and expand your resume 
Experience new landscapes, habitats, and species diversity in the beautiful western US
Make connections in various governmental and non-profit organizations
Learn what it's like to work at a federal agency
Apply your education to important conservation projects

Most of our internships are located in the western US, where the majority of public land occurs. Federal partners include the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, US Geologic Survey, US Fish and Wildlife Service and others. Non-profit partners include the the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank and the Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank.​

Click here to read more about our internshi​ps!


In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call 847-835-8264 to contact our Title IX Coordinator should you have questions or concerns.

The Chicago Botanic Garden stands firmly opposed to systemic and institutional racism. We passionately believe that Black lives matter. We recognize that people of color often feel unwelcome in public spaces, including gardens, forest preserves, and parks. The Chicago Botanic Garden acknowledges that we can do more to address this within our own organization. We recommit ourselves to live our mission and values as we strive to make the Chicago Botanic Garden a welcoming place for everyone.