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Endangered Species Policy Intern - Center for Conservation Innovation

Endangered Species Policy Intern – Spring 2021

Defenders of Wildlife, a national, nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities, seeks an Endangered Species Policy Intern to work in its Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI). Launched in 2017, CCI develops creative, practical solutions to advance wildlife conservation at the intersection of science, technology, and policy.

The Endangered Species Policy Internship is an opportunity for a graduate, post-graduate, or exceptional undergraduate student to work with CCI and other Defenders staff at the interface of science, technology, and national conservation policy. The Intern’s primary project will likely involve advancing a CCI policy project involving the review and analysis of regulations, policies, or other documents relevant to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). One such project that the intern may assist with, for example, involves the review, analysis, and digitization of Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) created under the ESA. HCPs are developed by private landowners to describe how they will protect listed species on their properties; if the landowners follow those plans, they will not be liable for inadvertently harming or hurting members of those species. There have been over 1,000 HCPs developed under the ESA but we don’t know how well they protect ESA-listed species. If they work on this project, the intern will learn to assess and analyze HCP-related documents (e.g., the HCPs themselves, incidental take permits, biological assessments), evaluate species biological needs and conservation status for species contained in HCPs, conduct statistical analyses, help digitize spatial data using GIS maps, and create online tools for visualizing data.. This position advances Goal 1, Strategy 1 of Defenders’ Strategic Plan, to “Defend and restore wildlife conservation protections and policies,” and Strategy 4, to “Mobilize science and technology to advance wildlife conservation.” There are also a number of other potential new and existing projects that the Endangered Species Policy Intern may assist with, depending on the needs of CCI.

This internship position is for the spring of 2021, from February 1 through May (end date flexible). Applications are due by Sunday, November 29 at 11:59 PM EST (note that this deadline is extended beyond other internships at CCI). We generally accept new applications for the Endangered Species Policy Intern position for the fall (deadline in early July; start in early September), spring (deadline in early December; start in early February) and summer (deadline in early March; start in early June) terms, with each term lasting 3-4 months.
Assist Defenders’ Center for Conservation Innovation staff in developing and implementing the HCP project, as well as various other projects as needed. Responsibilities include:
  • Reviewing and analyzing regulatory, policy, legal, and legislative documents;
  • Collecting and organizing relevant data or databases;
  • Conducting statistical analyses;
  • Developing GIS maps;
  • Connecting data and results about species to conservation policies; 
  • Writing reports and scientific articles;
  • Attending science talks, and meetings; and/or
  • Carrying out other policy-related tasks as needed.

Interns must be self-starters driven by the opportunity to help transform wildlife conservation using science and technology while learning new skills. Interns should have a passion for wildlife conservation, strong research and analytical skills, a proven ability to work with people from a variety of backgrounds, and excellent written and verbal communication skills. Graduate students are preferred, but we will also consider exceptional undergraduates.
Preferred qualifications:
·        Experience collecting, managing, and analyzing research data;
·        Basic familiarity with the ESA process and associated regulatory documents;
·        Basic familiarity with geographical information systems software (ArcGIS or QGIS);
·        General understanding of animal and plant biology, particularly for North American species; and
·        Basic knowledge of R and/or another statistical analysis program for data management, statistical analysis, and visualization;
·        Background in environmental science, wildlife management, natural resources, or a related field.

We welcome candidates who would work either remotely (during the business hours of a USA time zone) or be based at Defenders’ Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Unpaid. If the candidate is based at our Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and commuting to the office, local transportation costs up to $10 per day will be reimbursed. Students are encouraged to seek funding opportunities through their schools or outside sources.

Please submit as a single PDF a cover letter (letter of interest), resume, and a list of contact information (email, phone) for up to 3 professional references. In the cover letter, be sure to address:
-         your interest in working with Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Conservation Innovation specifically;
-         how your skills fit the goals and responsibilities of the internship position;
-         how the internship will assist with your career goals;
-         the date of your deadline if you require a decision by a deadline for school credit or funding
-         whether you are available part-time or full-time (either may be possible depending on the specific internship project); and
-         whether you would work remotely or are available to work in our Washington, D.C. office.
If you apply to more than one intern position at Defenders of Wildlife, please be sure to tailor your applications to each position. Inquiries about the Endangered Species Policy Intern position may be emailed to the hiring manager, Dr. Andrew Carter, at Applications should be submitted through Defenders’ online portal.
It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.
Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures. We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places.