Nature Education Internship

The Nature Center’s internship program is funded in part by the Ruth Lundin Environmental Internship Endowment created by the Lenna and Johnson foundations and managed by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

Get the Snake JohnPosition: Nature Education Internship, paid, hourly.

Applications Accepted: January 1 – March 1
Start Date: Mid-May (more details below)

General Description: Responsible for leading Discovery Walks during the last month or so of school, then serving as camp counselor through the summer. Interns will flesh out their job by choosing from an array of other activities and projects that include, but are not limited to animal care, research projects, creation of interactive displays in our nature center building, and/or writing for our weekly newspaper column.  Every effort is made to match projects to the intern’s strongest area of interest.

SSF Nikki excited about her first sallyQualifications:

  • at least 18 years of age
  • interest, comfort in, and knowledge of the natural world
  • experience working with children
  • familiarity with Audubon is a plus
  • enthusiasm for learning and sharing
  • preference given to students planning to enter an environmental field or those who hope to teach environmental and/or science topics or elementary age students


  • May through August. (Exact start and end dates are somewhat negotiable.)
  • Hours vary. In May and June, 30 hours per week, usually Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm. Once camp starts, a maximum of 40 hours per week, usually 8am-4pm Monday-Friday. Hours are flexible, as we have some weekend events. There may be some weeks when the intern is asked to work Saturday instead of Monday, for example.
  • Discovery Walks. In May and June we lead a lot of guided walks. Your job is to engage the students in meaningful learning activities along the way and to make sure you keep to a specified schedule. Training and observation is provided before you lead your first solo walk. Discovery Walks involve informal teaching methods, group management in an outdoor setting, and conveying information to students in an effective and appropriate way outdoors. For more information, visit our on-line training manual by clicking –> here.
  • Summer Day Camp. Starting in late June, we begin 8 weeks of Summer Day Camp. To learn more about our Day Camp offerings, click–> here. The intern will participate in a training week for the first week of camp, then lead his/her own groups for the remainder of the summer.


    2009 Intern Project

  • Intern Project. Each year, the intern picks his/her own project. Past projects have primarily involved the creation of displays inside our building, such as a “fishing pond” (catch laminated paper fish using a magnetic fishing pole, then look up your fish in the custom field guide), a frog song board (push a button to hear the song made by a particular species of frog), and rapto-rama (life-size 2-D raptors suspended from the ceiling of our Sky Room). Other interns have completed lesson plans for camps so they are repeatable. Other projects are possible and we will try to match the intern’s interest with the project.
  • Internship: If the applicant is interested in receiving college credit, it is up to him/her to make arrangements through appropriate college offices.

What we do for you:

You’ll walk away from this internship with experience working with groups of children ages preK-7th grade. We provide learning opportunities in the form of a weekly hike with a naturalist, recommended reading materials, job-shadowing the various positions at a nature center, research projects such as bird banding, and off-site field trips.

We give you the opportunity to self-direct a project with staff oversight, develop lesson plans for week-long camp, and participate in land management in the Sanctuary. You’ll have experience working with a collection of reptiles and amphibians as part of our education animal collection and minimal training on the care and maintenance of a Bald Eagle.

Finally, we hope you walk away with a better understanding that environmental education is a way of life, not a field of interest. Through experience, knowledge and action, your work here will give you the tools to shape the future and its citizens.

Sarah's Group found Something!Things to Think About: We are looking for someone for whom this experience will be more than just a job. We want the person who considers this an important stepping stone in developing a meaningful career. In order to make sure this job is a good match, applicants are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with Audubon by visiting the following websites, and, if possible, by visiting the Center.

  • Main Website: Obviously, the summer intern will not participate in everything listed! But being familiar with some of what we do throughout the year is a big plus.
  • School Programs: In May and June we will mostly see groups from area schools. This website is geared toward the principals and teachers. In particular, you may want to visit the “Fieldtrips” page as this is what we tell the teachers about Discovery Walks.

To apply: Please send a resume with references and cover letter to the address below. If you do not currently have a resume, you may use the job application form, located here.

Deadline to apply: March 1. This is NOT a postmark date. NOTE: If selected, we try to interview during Spring Break.

Apply to: Sarah Hatfield, Jamestown Audubon, 1600 Riverside Road, Jamestown, NY 14701 or you may email your application. We do not post complete email address to avoid spam, but you may construct emails by using the first initial of the first name plus the last name, followed by