Jobs & Internships


VWL Internship Program

Virginia Working Landscapes hosts a competitive internship program. Check back throughout the year as we post new opportunities regularly. Currently, there is one internship opportunity available, outlined below:

VWL Communications Internship

Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park provides the opportunity for one intern to gain experience in communications and outreach with a community-based conservation program Virginia Working Landscapes (VWL) is a program of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) that focuses on biodiversity and landscape conservation through ecosystem research, education, and community engagement. This intern will primarily participate in outreach and education activities to engage the local community on conservation topics and our research programs. Intern will also assist with our biodiversity surveys as necessary, gaining experience in survey methodologies for monitoring local species including pollinators, birds and plants.. In participating in this internship, the intern will be playing a significant role in advancing our knowledge of local biodiversity and the impacts of land management and conservation practices on wildlife.

Learning Objectives

This is a paid internship opportunity through the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

Through this internship, interns will assist with the following as they gain important experience with conservation science and engagement:


  • Develop communications skills by assisting with outreach events and meetings with stakeholders, key conservation organizations and partners in the region as well as helping to recruit new members of the community to participate in VWL research projects.
  • Develop skills in science communication by working on our monthly Conservation Science Newsletter, where we summarize relevant research papers and articles from around the world to share with our community.
  • Create written and visual content for the website and other outreach materials.
  • Develop skills in social media communications and online outreach campaigns.
  • Learn important event and workshop planning skills and assist with facilitation of these outreach initiatives. Will take the lead on developing, planning, and executing at least one outreach event, class, or workshop.
  • Gain fundraising experience by assisting with organizing our annual fundraising dinner.
  • Assist with year-end Landowner Reports.
  • Develop project management skills through the completion of an independent study relevant to the learning objectives of the applicant.
  • Learn mentoring skills by working with undergraduate practicum students and classes.


  • Learn and assist with field season planning (and fieldwork if applicable) for the 2019 season, including grassland survey site selection and set-up and detailed and accurate data collection for plant, bird and pollinator surveys.
  • Learn data management skills and how to input data from recent surveys and help manage large spreadsheets.
  • Assist with managing output from an array of projects to be carried out by staff, graduate students, other interns, and citizen scientists.
  • Learn technical skills and provide assistance using programs such as ArcGIS, R-Studio and Excel.
  • Excellent communication skills and background working in outreach/communications
  • Strong interest in science and conservation, and some experience in ecology and conservation biology
  • Interest and experience working with people
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Experience using social media and other online outreach platforms
  • Public relations experience or abilities
  • Professionalism
  • Experience in event-planning and facilitation
  • Graphic design experience a plus
  • Willingness to take initiative and motivation to seek new learning opportunities
  • Keen attention to detail when proofreading, copyediting and fact-checking
  • Ability to engage within a team environment with staff and other interns and volunteers

Independent Study

In addition to the general VWL activities listed above, all internships of 6 months or more within the VWL program requires the completion of an independent study that encourages interns to develop project management skills. The independent study will be assigned based on the education level of the intern, their career interests and individual learning objectives. At the end of their tenure, the intern will be required to write an abstract on their project suitable for submission to a scientific meeting, create a poster highlighting their project outcomes and submit a written deliverable that will be discussed between the intern and their mentor (ie. Report, manuscript, webpage, protocol, etc.).

Benefits for our interns

  • Participate in current research on native biodiversity in Virginia.
  • Participate in projects that will reinforce their skills in project management, data analysis, biodiversity monitoring, field survey techniques, communications, and conservation planning.
  • Connect with partnering conservation organizations working in various areas of conservation.
  • Exchange ideas with researchers in different science areas at SCBI.
  • Participation in seminars, VWL workshops and events, and other educational activities at SCBI.


The internship location will be at the SCBI in Front Royal, VA. Housing IS provided at SCBI. A stipend will also be provided.


This is a six month internship, starting January 2019, and is a full-time appointment (40 hours per week). There is an opportunity for extension up to a year.


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and the position will be closed once filled. Deadline to apply: December 30, 2018. To apply, send the following documents to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

  • Professional resume or CV
  • Cover letter
  • Optional: Transcripts from your current and/or previous institutions. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.


Questions about this internship should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


VWL Job Opportunities

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Virginia Working Landscapes
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
1500 Remount Road
Front Royal, Virginia 22630
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