Endangered Species Conservation GIS Intern

Location: Headquarters, Washington, DC
Department: Endangered Species Conservation


Defenders of Wildlife, a national, nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities, seeks an Endangered Species Conservation GIS intern. 
The internship is an opportunity for a college or post-graduate student to work one-on-one with our Conservation GIS Analyst in Washington, DC along with other Defenders staff.  In the position, the intern will assist with spatial analysis and cartographic projects including digitizing data from electronic or paper images, developing and organizing spatial data and databases, and creating cartographic products and images for reports, publications, and presentations. 
The internship will last at least one college semester or longer as determined on a case-by-case basis. The start date and duration of the internship are flexible.


Assist Defenders’ Conservation GIS Analyst with analysis and spatial data development – including:

  • Developing and implementing various spatial analysis project;

  • Digitizing from electronic or paper maps/images;

  • Developing and organizing spatial data/databases;

  • Creating cartographic products;

  • Report-writing.


The intern must be an ambitious self-starter driven by the opportunity to help transform wildlife conservation through technology.  Interns must have demonstrated GIS experience, strong research and analytical skills, superior interpersonal skills with the ability to work with people from a variety of backgrounds, excellent written and verbal communication skills, and unparalleled time management skills with the ability to succeed under tight deadlines. 

Preferred qualifications:

  • Advanced geospatial analysis skills. Comfort working with Model Builder, automating tasks with arcpy, and using ArcToolbox extensions (e.g., Spatial Analyst). Experience with QGIS and/or Google Earth Engine is a plus; 
  • Familiarity with and strong interest in relevant web mapping platforms (e.g., CARTO, Mapbox, Google Earth Engine, ArcGIS), APIs (e.g., Bing, Google Maps, ArcGIS) and JavaScript libraries (e.g., Leaflet, Open Layers);  
  • Advanced cartographic and design skills in print (e.g., Adobe Photoshop/Illustration) and on the web (e.g., HTML5/CSS3, JavaScript);
  • Basic knowledge of R and/or Python (e.g., pandas) for data management, statistical analysis, and visualization; 
  • Knowledge of metadata standards and management.


  • Unpaid. Students are encouraged to seek funding opportunities through their schools or outside sources. We do offer a small transportation stipend.


Interested applicants should send an email to HR@defenders.org and reference Endangered Species Conservation GIS 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.