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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.

The Nature Museum typically offers internships in the fall, winter, spring, and summer. Applicants must be at least 18 years old to be considered. Internships vary, so please refer to the position listings themselves for additional requirements and application instructions. All current internship 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.

Lepidoptera Field Conservation Internship (Part Time)
Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
(Off-grounds: DuPage County, IL)

General Summary:

One field conservation internship is available for a regional lepidopteran inventory project. The intern will assist the Chief Curator of the Chicago Academy of Sciences and the Associate Curator of Entomology with conducting surveys for diurnal butterflies and moths in Will County, IL at three sites: Braidwood Dunes and Kankakee Sands, and Sand Ridge Savanna. Fieldwork for the internships will occur 1 day per week, for up to 10 hours per week (M-F) spanning 20 weeks, week of 13 May into week of 23 September 2019 (allowing some flexibility of start and end dates). During the initial sampling period, the intern must be flexible with hours (workable field days are weather dependent). There are opportunities for lab work during weeks of bad weather after the first few field days have been conducted.

Duties & Responsibilities:

​The Field Conservation intern will be trained to conduct wandering transect and bait trapping surveys for day-flying butterfly and moth populations, netting and collection of voucher specimens, assessing host plant and nectar source abundances, and processing and detailed labeling of voucher specimens. The intern will gain valuable skills with field sampling techniques as well as curatorial spreading and preservation of moths and butterflies.

Essential Job Functions:

  • Handling, catching, identifying, lepidopterans via netting, trapping, and visual encounter surveys
  • Assist with setup and takedown of baited traps
  • Traveling between the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and field sampling sites in personal vehicle and decontaminating sampling gear between sites
  • Maintain accurate data sheets and field notes
  • Recording environmental conditions
  • Conducting vegetation surveys
  • Data entry into Microsoft Excel/Dropbox

Additional Responsibilities:

Because of travel distances, applicants with a personal vehicle for travel to and from field sites are preferred. The ideal candidates will be comfortable working independently in the outdoors with little shade, and with abundant biting insects, ticks, and poison ivy. The intern will effectively communicate with the Chief Curator of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, Associate Curator of Entomology, 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 other Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum-related activities as necessary, but the internship is primarily field-based. The intern will perform other duties related to the field project as assigned.

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities:

Must be able to lift and carry at least 35 lbs 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; proficiency with Microsoft Office Excel and Word; flexibility regarding meetings, and situations as they arise; must be able to work independently or as part of a two-person team; training will be provided for all internship activities.

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 completed collection based entomological coursework; have conducted or assisted with wildlife ecological studies, including, butterfly monitoring; possess knowledge of Illinois fauna, particularly moths, butterflies, and other insects.

Additional Requirements:

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

How To Apply:

Send a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references as a single pdf file to

No phone calls please. Qualified candidates will be contacted.

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

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