Conserve Wildlife Blog

Making Dreams Come True. Summer Wildlife Jobs for College Students!

March 14th, 2023

by Ben Wurst, Senior Wildlife Biologist

I recently attended my first career fair at Stockton University. When asked if I would attend, I felt like I couldn’t say no, as I am currently seeking at least 5-6 student interns or seasonal field technicians to assist with several wildlife conservation projects. At first, I wasn’t sure what I could display to draw attention to our table and prospective summer jobs working with rare wildlife.. Then it hit me. I bring what I use when working with wildlife in the field!

As I setup items on a table at a career fair at Stockton University I realized that they depict aspects of a dream job. When I talk to people about who I work for and what I do at my job, I often get a pretty unique reaction — “woah, that’s cool!” On the table I had USGS raptor banding equipment, a sUAS/drone for surveying raptor nests, morphometric measuring equipment for terrapins, a trail cam for monitoring for wildlife poaching and predators, and roadside awareness signs. I could have brought more items but I thought anymore would be overkill (like our 22′ skiff, several 20′ extension ladders, a GoPro on an extension pole, shovels, post hole diggers, etc). These items are tools that I depend on to carry out work in the field of wildlife management and conservation throughout the year. From enhancing nesting habitat for terrapins and creating foraging habitat for nectar feeding habitat to conducting road surveys to reduce terrapin mortality and surveying 250+ osprey nests by boat (and some with the drone).

With that said, in my time working with Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ I have found that I cannot do everything myself and offering unique, hands on learning experiences for college students will help them gain skills and knowledge to find a full time job in the environmental field. I have worked with dozens of college students who have devotes a lot of time to help ensure our conservation efforts are meaningful. They also get close encounters with rare wildlife, which is something that I really love to share.

Great Bay Terrapin Project

This summer, there are several summer internship or field technician positions that we are currently looking to fill. Some are paid and unpaid, volunteer positions (if any donor would like to help us fund these positions, then please reach out!). The first is an internship with our Great Bay Terrapin Project, which we founded over a decade ago. For this internship, which is a volunteer position, students help lead fieldwork by conducting road surveys on Great Bay Blvd to document use by adult female diamondback terrapins. They record observations of terrapins on the road and measure and mark adults for future recapture. They also work with a small group of local volunteers, who also conduct road patrols, to document occurrence while raising awareness for terrapins on roads. There is also an opportunity to be engaged with our habitat enhancement site that we monitor for nesting. This internship lasts from mid-May through July and is based in Little Egg Harbor, NJ. I usually recruit around 2-4 interns to work together to cover roads seven days a week. You can learn more and apply here.

Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts & Sciences

The second internship is a new one that is centered around our continued partnership with the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences (LBIF). Here we will be working with LBIF to help support and strengthen their science-based initiatives with emphasis on rare wildlife, including wildlife surveys, habitat management, and public outreach. Activities include migratory and nesting bird surveys, northern diamondback terrapin monitoring, and wildlife habitat enhancement. We will be providing three weeks of wildlife-focused summer camp, led by our biologists, and our intern here will do some outreach to visitors of LBIF. This is a paid position that is based in Loveladies and will last for approximately 14 weeks. Learn more and apply here!

New Jersey Osprey Project

Last up is the revival of a previous internship with our Osprey Project. This year we’re offering a paid summer field technician position, which starts in May and ends in late July. With this position you will be my field assistant who works to conduct osprey nest surveys within the coastal region of New Jersey. During these surveys they will use ladders to survey nests and other methods. They will also help to record and summarize data. Besides joining me on our work boat to survey nest during the peak of the summer nesting season, this technician will also be responsible for surveying nests by land using optics. They will need to travel to these nests using their own vehicle (mileage reimbursable). They will also help to organize our large database of nests for inclusion in the NJDEP Biotics database and on Osprey Watch. Conducting some public outreach will also be asked of them, which may occur at LBIF and other locations within our main survey area (Barnegat Bay). Learn more!

I may be biased but these are some great opportunities to learn and work in the field with some very charismatic species. I’m super thankful for all of our donors and supporters who contribute to our grassroots conservation projects!!

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One Response to “Making Dreams Come True. Summer Wildlife Jobs for College Students!”

  1. Frank Budney says:

    What a great opportunity for students to learn with hands on projects. I wish you success for your team and participants alike. It isn’t easy getting students to volunteer. The Land Conservancy of NJ has extended their summer scholarships of $7,500 until April 1st and they are having a hard time getting participants. I’ll reach out for possible participants for you. The best of success.