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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. If there are no current positions listed, please check back often as we post openings as they become vacant.

Education Intern, Teen Programs (Summer)
Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum


The Nature Museum is seeking Education Interns to assist with the “Teenagers Exploring and Explaining Nature and Science” (TEENS) summer program. TEENS is a seven-week program engaging a group of thirty Chicago public high school students in teen-driven investigations of urban ecosystems and the relationships between humans and nature. Participants collect environmental data, study nature in city parks and neighborhoods, and develop and conduct locally-focused research projects using low-cost and DIY environmental sampling methods. Students use free and open source smartphone apps for mobile data collection, and create web-based maps and other visualizations for media-rich project websites (see In conjunction with the two TEENS Program Educators, Education Interns will assist with the development and implementation of field- and lab-based experiences for TEENS participants and mentor youth as they develop field-based research project in urban ecology. This is an eight-week internship that includes one week of training; collaborative planning and preparation prior start of the seven-week TEENS summer program. 


The goal of this internship is to gain experience implementing informal science education in an outdoor setting and mentoring high-school aged youth from diverse backgrounds.

Final Product

The final product will be a project webpage where youth participants will display project data and findings through photographs, blog posts, and youth-created maps. Interns will play a crucial role in development of the project webpage by mentoring youth throughout the summer as they design research projects, collect and analyze data, and produce digital maps and other visualizations.


  • Be available to work June 18 – August 10, 2018, Monday – Friday, 9am – 2:30pm. (no programming on July 4, 2018)
  • Assist with the implementation of a teen-driven, inquiry-based curriculum emphasizing environmental science and ecological concepts, mobile data collection, digital mapping, data visualizations and analysis
  • Assist instructors leading groups of 15 youth during lab and field-based science investigations at the Nature Museum and off-site.
  • Guide youth in developing and carrying out field investigations focused on urban ecology.
  • Work closely and collaboratively with Museum staff to provide a safe and nurturing educational environment for the participants.
  • Exhibit appropriate interpersonal skills and professional behavior to support a positive and successful workplace environment.
  • Assist with other program activities as necessary.


  • Interest in nature and science required.
  • Eager to work with teenagers from diverse backgrounds.
  • Experience teaching science in formal and/or informal education settings to high-school or middle-school students preferred.
  • Interest in facilitating educational activities both indoors and outdoors in a full range of weather conditions
  • Experience with field mapping, GPS, GIS, and other digital tools a plus.
  • Experience with Google Drive, and web­making tools and technologies (including HTML and CSS), or a willingness to learn
  • Ability to physically lift, transport, and carry program materials off-site and throughout the Museum.
  • Available to work hours and dates described above.

Desired Year in School

Post junior year of college or above

Desired Majors

Environmental Science, Ecology, Conservation, Biology, Geography, Geology, Environmental Education, Science Education, or related field.


Paid ($1,750)

How To Apply

Email resume and cover letter to: Please include “Education Intern, Teen Programs” in the subject line.

No phone calls please.  Qualified candidates will be contacted.

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

Field Conservation Internship
Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

General Summary

One field conservation internship is available for a regional snake conservation project. The intern will conduct surveys for smooth green snakes and their nests in Lake County, IL sites with occasional work in neighboring counties as needed. Some amphibian disease sampling work may also be assigned. Field work for the internship will occur 5 days per week (generally M-F although this may vary during hatching season) spanning 13-15 weeks from early May through September 2018 (allowing some flexibility of start and end dates).

Duties & Responsibilities

​The Field Conservation intern will be trained to conduct coverboard surveys and check drift fences for snakes, monitoring via mark-recapture, assisting with smooth greensnake nest monitoring and nest site condition research, ex situ nest incubation, monitoring of snake headstart release sites, and conducting disease surveillance. Field work will take place in multiple grassland preserve sites outside of Chicago. The intern will gain valuable skills with reptile field sampling techniques, 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, measuring and marking small non-venomous snakes via coverboards, drift fences, and visual encounter surveys
  • Handling, capturing, identifying, and swabbing snakes and amphibians for disease surveillance
  • Monitor nests in field sites with accurate notes and assist with some nest incubation
  • Traveling between field sites in personal vehicle and decontaminating sampling gear between sites, and occasional travel to the Nature Museum
  • Maintain accurate data sheets and field notes
  • Recording environmental conditions
  • Conducting vegetation surveys
  • Data entry into Microsoft Excel/Dropbox
  • Deploying data loggers

Additional Responsibilities

Because the 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 between field sites only. The ideal candidate will be comfortable working in the outdoors with little shade, and 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. There may be occasional travel to other counties to assist other field interns with snake survey work. Field housing may be available through the forest preserve district for $250/month.

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities

Must be able to lift and carry at least 35 lbs. (wooden  or rubber cover objects) 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, snake monitoring or amphibian sampling; possess knowledge of Illinois fauna, particularly reptiles and amphibians

Additional Requirements

  • Must possess a valid driver’s license
  • Must be comfortable with snakes
  • A strong work ethic and a good sense of humor are ideal

How To Apply

Please send application materials as a single pdf file to

Application materials should include a cover letter describing your interest in the internship and relevant coursework/experience, a resume, and contact information for three references.

No phone calls please. Only qualified candidates will be contacted.  

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

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