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Internship Opportunities

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The Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is celebrating 160 years of connecting people with nature and science.

Originally founded so that scientists and nature aficionados alike could study and share the specimens they collected, we continue to build on our legacy of natural history education at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum through immersive exhibits, critical conservation and research initiatives, public engagement and education programming. Our mission is to create a positive relationship between people and nature through collaborations, education, research and collections, exhibitions, and public forums to grow our region’s urban connection to the world of nature and science.

We offer internships in the fall, winter, and summer for college and university students. Check this page for current opportunities and application instructions. All opportunities are listed below.*

*Please note, due to our background check process, a valid US Social Security number is required to be an intern at the Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Amphibian Field Conservation Internship
Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
(Off-grounds Lake County, IL)

Internship Department: Biology

General Summary:

One paid amphibian field conservation intern position is available for a regional amphibian conservation project. The intern will conduct terrestrial and aquatic sampling of amphibian populations in Lake County, IL sites and may assist with a snake project as time permits. The intern must be comfortable handling live amphibians with nitrile/latex gloves on, identifying larvae and eggs of amphibians and collecting noninvasive disease and stress swabs from target species. Field work for the internships will occur 5 days per week (M-F) spanning 21 weeks from early/mid March through early August 2019 (allowing some flexibility of start and end dates).

Duties and Responsibilities:

​The Amphibian Field Conservation intern will be trained to maintain and check terrestrial and aquatic funnel traps, drift fences, and pitfall traps for amphibian captures, collect morphometric data and health swabs for each capture, set and maintain automated frog call recorders, record environmental variables, and conduct egg and larval surveys. The intern will help set up pond enclosures to monitor hatching success of target species for a translocation study. Field work will take place in six forested wetland preserves about an hour north of Chicago. The intern will receive training for and may have the opportunity to assist with other field work. Interns will gain valuable skills with amphibian field sampling techniques, photo-mark-recapture studies, disease surveillance, and applied conservation projects that combine in situ conservation efforts with ex situ headstarting approaches. 

Essential Job Functions:

  • Handling, catching, identifying, and measuring amphibians via coverboards, drift fences, and visual encounter surveys
  • Handling, capturing, identifying, and swabbing amphibians for disease surveillance
  • Monitor egg masses in field sites with accurate notes and assist with some egg mass translocation
  • Traveling between field sampling sites in personal vehicle and decontaminating sampling gear between sites
  • Maintain accurate data sheets and field notes
  • Recording environmental conditions
  • Data entry into Microsoft Excel/Dropbox

Additional Responsibilities:

Because this internship is based at multiple field sites, applicants must have a personal vehicle for use for travel to and from field sites. Mileage reimbursement is available to cover travel between study sites. The ideal candidates will be comfortable working in the outdoors with abundant biting insects, ticks, and poison ivy. The ideal candidate will effectively communicate with the Curator of Herpetology and forest preserve agency personnel regarding project details. Intern must be able to effectively communicate about the field projects with the public as the field sites are forest preserves with hikers, bicyclists, etc. The intern may participate in Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum-related activities as necessary, but the internships are primarily field-based. The intern will perform other duties related to the field project as assigned. 

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Must be able to lift and carry at least 35 lbs. (buckets, enclosures) through habitat by foot; basic knowledge of local fauna or willingness to learn; must be willing to work outdoors in a variety of weather conditions, rain, heat, cold, etc.; must be tolerant of insect bites (because of its toxicity, DEET-based repellents cannot be used when working with reptiles and amphibians);  proficiency with Microsoft Office Excel and Word; flexibility regarding meetings, and situations as they arise; must be willing to work independently or as part of a two-person team; training will be provided for all internship activities.

Qualifications & Requirements:

Education Requirements: B.S. in biology, ecology, or a natural resources related field (with relevant course work)

Preferred Experience: Previous experience working with wildlife and/or conducting scientific research; preference for those that have field-based wildlife handling experience; have conducted or assisted with wildlife ecological studies, including, amphibian sampling or reptile sampling; possess knowledge of Illinois fauna, particularly reptiles and amphibians, preferred ability to identify frogs by call.

Additional Requirements:

  • Must possess a valid driver’s license and car
  • Must be comfortable with snakes/amphibians/coyotes in the sites
  • A strong work ethic and a good sense of humor are ideal

How to Apply: Please email with (1) a cover letter detailing your interest in the position, and related career goals, and (2) a resume highlighting your relevant experience or relevant coursework. Please send the files in pdf or word form and include “Amphibian technician” in the subject line. No phone calls, please. Qualified applicants will be contacted for an interview.

The Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Collections Internship
Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Internship Department: Biology – Collections

Supervisor: Director of Collections


The Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s (CAS/PNNM) natural history collections are a library of the natural world documenting Midwestern biodiversity from 1830 to the present. Glass plate negatives from the audiovisual collection taken between 1898 to 1941 illustrate ecosystems that have undergone significant ecological changes and can provide important contributions to current ecological research and discussions. Through a grant awarded from the Illinois State Historical Records grant program, CAS/PNNM will digitize glass plates documenting Illinois localities and provide online access to these historic images.


Under the supervision of the Director of Collections, the intern will expand descriptive and administrative metadata for a minimum of 500 glass plate negatives, using online and hard copy resources for subject matter such as species identification and geographic localities. They will scan these glass plates, append metadata to the digital copies, and prepare data for upload to the Explore website. They will assist in the formation of environmental tags for the Explore system, which will be applied to the digital copies and be made available for other CCC members.

Final Product(s):

By the end of the project, the intern will have scanned and improved descriptive and administrative metadata for glass plate negatives in CAS/PNNM’s collection. They will have helped expand accessibility to these materials by making them available online through the Chicago Collections Consortium’s Explore portal and Internet Archive.


The applicant should have some education relating to or experience working with museum collections and/or archives. They must be self-motivated, detail oriented, have strong organizational skills, and able to follow directions. Familiar with MS Excel, scanning and Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Bridge, Lightroom) is beneficial. Applicants must be able to lift 25 lbs, climb ladders, and work within 32-inch aisles.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Education: Current enrollment in a university program or recent graduate preferred.

Experience: Background in museum studies, archives, libraries, and/or the natural sciences.

Learning Potential: This internship will build upon knowledge and skills relating to archival and scientific collections and digitization as a means of expanding accessibility to collections. The intern will be introduced to standards pertaining to audiovisual collections and gain hands-on experience working with historic photographic media and metadata.

Compensation: $12.50 / hour.

Time Commitment:

This internship has a total of 200 hours, 10-15 hours per week, to be completed by the end of the grant, June 30, 2019. Work will be conducted at CAS/PNNM’s off-site Ravenswood Collections Facility (4001 N Ravenswood Ave.). Office hours at the collections facility are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 9am – 5pm. Preferred days are Wednesdays and Fridays. The intern’s schedule will be coordinated with Collections staff.

How to Apply: Email resume and cover letter in PDF or Word format to Please include “Collections Internship” in the subject line. Application deadline is Friday, February 22, 2019. No phone calls please.

The Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


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