Center for Conservation Innovation Intern

Location: The internship is located at Defenders’ Headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Remote work may be considered for exceptional candidates.                                                                                                         

Compensation: Unpaid. Students are encouraged to seek funding opportunities through their schools or outside sources.   



Defenders of Wildlife, a national, nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities, seeks an intern to work in its new Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI).  CCI’s mission is to use data and technology to develop new, innovative and practical ways to improve endangered species conservation.

The internship is an opportunity for an advanced college, graduate, or post-graduate student to work with CCI and other Defenders staff.  In this position, the intern will help collect and analyze large spatial and non-spatial datasets, and create published reports, web applications, and maps related to the Endangered Species Act.  In all projects, the intern will gain both a deep understanding of how the ESA is implemented in practice and experience in programming and data science, statistical analyses, GIS and remote sensing, and creating interactive data visualizations.

The start date and duration of the internship are flexible. 


Assist Defenders’ Center for Conservation Innovation staff to develop and implement various projects evaluating conservation policy and practice:

  • Designing research questions

  • Collecting and organizing relevant data/databases

  • Conducting spatial and non-spatial statistical analyses

  • Creating online maps

  • Manuscript writing


The intern must be a self-starter driven by the opportunity to help transform wildlife conservation through technology while learning new skills.  Interns should have demonstrated GIS experience, strong research and analytical skills, a proven ability to work with people from a variety of backgrounds, and excellent written and verbal communication skills. 

Preferred qualifications:

  • Basic knowledge of R and/or Python for data management, statistical analysis, and visualization; 

  • Geospatial skills, including work in QGIS, arcpy and/or Google Earth Engine; 

  • Familiarity with and strong interest in relevant web mapping platforms (e.g., ArcGIS Online, Google Earth Engine); 

  • Experience with gathering and applying remotely-sensed data; and

  • Background in Environmental Science, Wildlife Management, Natural Resources, or a related field.


  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so. Travel is required


  • General office working conditions, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.


Interested applicants should send an email to and reference
Center for Conservation Innovation Intern in the subject line. Please include a resume and letter of interest. We strongly encourage early applications, as offers will be made on a rolling basis.

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.