Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Orchid Field Survey Intern – Virginia

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Front Royal
Job Category
The stipend is $1200 per month
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) is offering a paid internship opportunity on a project focused on evaluating native orchids as indicators of forest health. This project is the product of a partnership between the Changing Landscapes Initiative (CLI), Virginia Working Landscapes (VWL), and the North American Orchid Conservation Center. The goal of this research project is to record and assess the status of native orchid populations, evaluate their use as indicators of forest health, and to engage local citizens and students in conservation science. This advertisement is targeting an enthusiastic intern for the field component of this project. This intern will work alongside project scientists and operate as part of a team of two interns, with one position more focused on field studies and the other on outreach and communications for the same project. Successful applicants will gain experience in both disciplines. The orchid field intern will gain experience in field survey methodologies, plant and tree identification, data management and analysis, and project management. Common activities include conducting transect surveys for orchids and invasive species, collecting forest characteristics metrics, and sampling plant tissues. This intern will also work along-side the outreach intern to develop outreach and communications materials, participate in public engagement opportunities, and coordinate citizen scientists. Together, these interns will play a significant role in advancing our knowledge of native orchid populations, and the effects of land use on them, as well as educating the local community on topics related to orchid ecology and conservation. Please note this application is for the field internship. If you are also interested in the outreach survey internship, we encourage you to apply for both. If you do not have the outreach survey internship announcement, please email the contact address below for more information. Learning Objectives: Through this internship, interns will assist with the following as they gain important experience with conservation science: • Expand plant and tree identification skills through field surveys and other work in Virginia forests • Improve familiarity with methodologies in plant field ecology, database management, statistical analysis, and science communication • Develop mentorship skills by training VWL citizen scientists in survey protocols • Gain project management skills in coordinating field work with Smithsonian staff across multiple units, graduate students, other interns, and citizen scientists • Increase technical skills using programs, such as ArcGIS, R-Studio and MS Excel to support analysis efforts • Expand on technical writing skills by revising and updating written project protocols for training and sharing purposes • Develop communication skills by assisting with the creation of content for the web and other outreach platforms, and assisting with outreach and training events with project partners and citizen scientists Location: The internship location will be at the SCBI campus in Front Royal, Virginia. Housing: No-cost or subsidized housing may be provided at SCBI depending on availability. Benefits For Interns: Through SCBI interns are offered an opportunity to develop professional skills while participating in current research on native biodiversity in Virginia. This includes on-the-job learning opportunities in the areas of field techniques in ecological monitoring, data analysis, project management, and communications. The SCBI campus community includes several programs of the Smithsonian as well as the Smithsonian Mason School of Conservation (SMSC), creating opportunities for intern staff to connect and network in a professional science and conservation-focused setting. Interns attend and participate in frequent seminars, training workshops, and classes at SCBI and SMSC, where they are encouraged to exchange ideas with researchers from the many programs hosted at the campus. Term of Appointment: This is a six-month internship with a desired start date of April 13th 2020, and is a full-time appointment (40 hours per week). Application Deadline: March 1, 2020 11pm EST To apply: Send a resume and cover letter in a single pdf file to using the subject line “FIELD INTERNSHIP APPLICATION 2020.” Title the pdf file “LastName_Field2020”. Applications that do not follow this format may not be considered. Your cover letter should explain your interest in this program, express how you could benefit from the training, how it could contribute to your future career goals, and why you would make a strong candidate If you are interested in the outreach position as well and would like to see that position announcement, send an email with the subject line “OUTREACH ANNOUNCEMENT REQUEST” to
Who Should Apply: Interns with the following will benefit the most from this opportunity: • Experience participating in structured biological field surveys • Experience with plant identification • Ability to legibly and accurately record and transcribe field data • Tolerance for a range of field conditions, including occasionally difficult terrain and wet environments • Strong interest in science and conservation, and some experience in ecology and conservation biology • Excellent communication skills • Interest and experience working with people • Strong organizational skills • Professionalism • Keen attention to detail when proofreading, copyediting and fact-checking • Familiarity working with large databases considered a plus • Willingness to take initiative and motivation to seek new learning opportunities • Ability to engage within a team environment with staff and other interns and volunteers • Willingness to take instruction and critical feedback • Additional experience with outreach skills a plus o Experience using social media and other online outreach platforms o Excellent writing skills o Public relations experience or abilities o Experience in event planning and facilitation o Graphic design experience
Contact Person
Craig Fergus- Lab Manager
Contact eMail
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