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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.


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

General Summary:

One paid 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 internships will occur 5 days per week (generally M-F although this may vary during hatching season) 35-40 hours/week spanning 16 weeks from early May into September 2020 (allowing some flexibility of start and end dates).

Duties & Responsibilities:

The Field Conservation intern will be trained to conduct coverboard surveys for snake populations, monitoring snakes via mark-recapture, assisting with smooth greensnake nest monitoring, 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 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

  • Deploying data loggers

Additional Responsibilities:

Because these positions are based at multiple field sites, applicants must have a personal vehicle for use for travel to and from field sites. The ideal candidates 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.

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 and current auto insurance
  • Must be comfortable with snakes
  • 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 asacerdote-velat@naturemuseum.org

No phone calls please. Qualified candidates will be contacted.

The Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in all areas of the organization. We strongly encourage applications from people of color and members of underrepresented groups.


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

General Summary:

One paid field conservation internship is available for a regional snake conservation project. The intern will conduct surveys for smooth green snakes and their nests in DuPage County, IL sites with occasional work in neighboring counties as needed. Field work for the internships will occur 5 days per week, for up to 20 hours per week (generally M-F although this may vary during hatching season) spanning 15 weeks from early May into late August 2020 (allowing some flexibility of start and end dates). During the hatching window in late July-early August, intern must be flexible with hours (willing to do occasional incubator and nest checks on weekends as needed).

Duties & Responsibilities:

The Field Conservation intern will be trained to conduct coverboard surveys for snake populations, monitoring snakes via mark-recapture, assisting with smooth greensnake nest monitoring, 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 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

  • Deploying data loggers

Additional Responsibilities:

Because these positions are based at multiple field sites, applicants must have a personal vehicle for use for travel to and from field sites. The ideal candidates will be comfortable working independently 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.

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.

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 and current auto insurance
  • Must be comfortable with snakes
  • 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 asacerdote-velat@naturemuseum.org

No phone calls please. Qualified candidates will be contacted.

The Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in all areas of the organization. We strongly encourage applications from people of color and members of underrepresented groups.

 
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