Traineeships & Internships

We work to inspire, train, and empower future leaders in conservation. 

There are several diverse and educational opportunities at Hawk Mountain for students and young conservationists around the world. Whether it be in science, education, or  communications, there are many valuable hands-on experiences available. 

Training Options are available for:

  • The up-and-coming conservationist with a specific interest in raptors or bird conservation
  • Young professional raptor biologists already established in the field
  • North American undergraduates interested in pursuing raptor/wildlife conservation
  • Graduate students working on raptor research at a major university
  • Undergraduates studying communications, marketing, or graphic design
  • Undergraduates interested in non-profit management, development, or event-planning

Conservation Science Traineeships

Field Experience Traineeships

Academic Traineeships

Education Traineeships

Senior Education Internships

Communications & Public Relations Internship

Communication Design Internship

A Science Trainee uses binoculars to search for migrating raptors from South Lookout

Conservation Science Traineeships

(Spring & Fall)

Hawk Mountain has trained over 450 young people from 75 countries, and thanks to the Trainee Endowment, supplemented by general operating funds, every trainee receives a full scholarship. Without this commitment, the large majority of our trainees, particularly those in developing nations, would never receive training of any kind.

Trainees in conservation science participate in ongoing field work, the migration count and nesting raptor studies. A seminar series on raptor biology and migration occurs several times a week along with instruction in statistics and use of GIS. Each trainee is given the opportunity for an individual project working with staff. Some have used the time to write grant proposals, analyze historical datasets, develop educational materials or analyze data they have collected in the past. All trainees participate in visitor programming on weekends, learning how to share concepts in science and conservation with the public.

Trainees are selected from Pennsylvania, the United States, and abroad. Applications for Spring Traineeship opportunities are due November 15 and applications for Autumn Traineeship opportunities are due April 15. Applicants are encouraged to apply well in advance as trainees can be accepted in advance of the deadline.

Conservation Science Traineeship Details
• Live on-site for 4 months (March-June or Aug-Nov)
• Receive a monthly stipend
• Learn basic techniques in conservation science and education
• Experience monitoring and environmental education in a wildlife sanctuary
• Learn how to work with volunteers, visitors and school groups
• Learn how to apply for grants and fund their own research projects
• Work on both an independent and a group project
• Practice nature interpretation at the Sanctuary
• Practice the latest methods in migration monitoring techniques
• Use satellite telemetry, banding, and GIS mapping
• Develop multicultural awareness and international partnerships


Click Here to Apply

Summer Field Experience Trainee holding a recently banded American kestrel chick.

Field Experience Traineeships


Currently not accepting applicants.

Ideal for undergraduates, the two-month Summer Field Experience offers exposure to and training in one or more aspects of fieldwork or data management at the Sanctuary. Emphasis is on training, and in particular, experiential learning with a focus on the Sanctuary's ecology. Trainees work shoulder-to-shoulder with professional mentors, and each individual completes a collaborative project while at the Sanctuary.

Summer field experience internships are designed specifically for upper-level North American college undergraduates who wish to contribute to Hawk Mountain's conservation efforts while learning aspects of conservation science. Summer field experience interns receive a monthly stipend and are provided housing on-site. 

Academic Traineeships



Academic traineeships are available to local college undergraduates who are participating in internship programs in affiliation with academic institutions. Academic traineeships occur over one or more semesters, and are individually designed based on student interest and need. Traineeships involve three or more study hours per week on library, lab, or field projects conducted under the joint supervision of the trainee’s faculty supervisor and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary staff.

Academic traineeships are available throughout the school year and in summer, and are unpaid.

To apply, contact:  
Wendy Nicodemus, Operations/Trainee Coordinator
[email protected] or 570-943-3411 x101

Education Trainee Emily Case practicing with the Eastern Screech Owl education bird

Education Traineeships

(Spring, Summer, Fall)

(Opportunities for traineeships to extend consecutive seasons are available.)

Passionate about pursuing a career in conservation education or biological science education? Established through a major gift to the School in the Clouds campaign, the Education Traineeship is an investment in the next generation of conservation education leaders. Students participating in these internships have the opportunities to develop job skills at a world-class raptor conservation and education facility. Experience working hands-on with our collection of non-releasable raptors and learn more about animal husbandry, raptor enrichment, and have the opportunity to present our live education ambassadors in programs for the public. A primary focus of our Summer Traineeship is to work with our Summer Nature Camp program where you will gain experience developing and instructing experiential education programs with youth.

The objective of the Speers Conservation Education Traineeship is to train individuals who are passionate about pursuing a career in conservation education or biological science education. A secondary goal is to maintain relationships with interns in order to build a growing network of conservation educators across the country, and in time, around the world. Trainees are selected from Pennsylvania, the United States, and abroad. 

Applications for each traineeship are due the following dates (however, applications are considered rolling and may be accepted pass the due date on a case-by-case basis):

Spring: December 1

Summer: March 1

Autumn: May 1

Conservation Education Traineeship Details
• Live on-site for 4-6 months (March-Aug or June-Nov)
• Receive a monthly stipend
• Interact with research scientists and graduate students in the field, as well as visiting professionals.
• Work with our collection of non-releasable raptors. Gain skills in animal husbandry, feeding procedures, enrichment, raptor handling, and more!
• Meet and form partnerships with other trainees and interns from across the • nation and around the world.
• Network with other conservation organizations.
• Develop and implement new programs for the public that will grow in future years.
• Learn and facilitate on-site and off-site raptor conservation programs for public and school groups.
• Educate visitors about raptor conservation and Appalachian forest ecology.
• Become a mentor for future interns and volunteers.
• Obtain college credit as approved by student’s accredited university.
• Develop technological and social media skills.
• Vehicles available for work use
• Use of Mac and Dell laptops and other audio visual equipment

Eligibility Requirements:
• Students enrolled in an accredited college with coursework in conservation, education, or the biological sciences are eligible to apply. (Preference for internship placement is given to college graduates or senior students.)
• Background clearances- state and federal
• Valid driver’s license


Click Here to Apply

Senior Education Internship

(9-month position, March-November)

This Senior Education Internship is a fully immersive experience that provides broad range of competency and skill development in the field of raptor conservation and environmental education. The 9-month position begins in March and continues through November, and reports to the Director of Education. This longer-term, residential experience offers unique and unparalleled learning and skill acquisition opportunities in every season, and training at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary sets participants apart as leaders in the field. Senior Education Interns also have a wide range of opportunities to participate in including on-site field courses, professional development and networking opportunities, weekly college-level seminars in spring and autumn, and fun outings and adventures. Internsreceive free on-site housing and a monthly stipend.

Senior Education Internship Details
The ideal candidate will hold a degree in environmental science, education, biology, or related field; possess teaching skills; and have experience working with live ambassador animals, preferably raptors. The position requires an understanding of Hawk Mountain’s raptor conservation science and education activities, as well as enthusiasm for connecting diverse audiences of all ages with Hawk Mountain’s mission. Excellent communication skills and a passion for nature and environmental education is a must. All candidates must have the ability to hike at least two miles over steep, rocky terrain, to lift 50 pounds, and have a valid driver’s license. 

Hawk Mountain’s Senior Education Internship program is an invaluable opportunity for the select candidate to develop skill proficiency, competencies, and hands-on professional experience in:
• Raptor conservation education
• Raptor and migration ecology education
• Appalachian ecology education
• Outdoor and experiential education and naturalist interpretation
• Nature day camp organizing, teaching, and operating to different age groups
• Captive raptor husbandry, handling, and teaching with live animal ambassadors
• Raptor field techniques
• Lesson plan and curricula development
• Differentiated instruction and pedagogies
• Group management strategies
• Professional mentorship of education trainees and counselors in training
• American Red Cross certification in Adult & Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED

• Assist and ensure smooth operations of ongoing programming responsibilities both on and off site, including but not limited to group programs, weekend programs, virtual programs, Calendar of Events walks and talks, birthday parties, scout events, and guided hikes.
• Teach summer nature camp programs.
• Assist with preparing curricula and lesson plans as assigned.
• Teach and mentor trainees, volunteers, and counselors in training.
• Distribute educational materials and/or lesson plans that help to spread ongoing research and raptor conservation mission and the Sanctuary’s science-education programs.
• Setup, break down, and clean classrooms and other teaching spaces and organize teaching materials physically and virtually.
• Perform husbandry responsibilities for resident raptors and other animal ambassadors.
• Adhere to all standard operating procedures.
• Engage diverse audiences of all ages in Hawk Mountain’s mission.
• Demonstrate excellent customer service skills with Sanctuary visitors, supporters, program participants, and customers.
• Exhibit excellent communications with the professional education team, all Sanctuary departments, and guests.
• Assist with any other tasks and/or projects as assigned.


To apply, email a resume, cover letter, and two letters of recommendation with the subject line "Senior Education Internship" to:

Jamie Dawson, Director of Education
[email protected]

Communications & Public Relations Internship

(Spring & Summer)


Hawk Mountain Communications Interns work under the supervision of our Communications Specialist in support of Hawk Mountain's global mission as a recognized leader in international raptor conservation science and education. Gain valuable experience in public relations supporting our diverse communications platform that includes traditional print publications and digital new media.

Understanding of modern communications is essential with a preference for candidates with skills in writing, marketing, social media, and/or video production preferred. Interest in the outdoors and wildlife is encouraged, as experiences may include working with the education team, documenting field work, interacting with live raptors, and more.

Interns are selected from local colleges and universities. Spring Internship applications are due November 15. Summer Internship applications are due April 15.

Communications Internship Details
• 3-4 month internship opportunities (Jan-Apr, May-Aug)
• Students entering their junior or senior year are eligible
• Flexible schedule, totaling 10 - 20 hours a week
• Receive a monthly stipend
• Writing responsibilities include articles, press releases, social media posts, advertisement campaigns, publication copywriting and copyediting, flyers, event listings, email blasts, and more.
• Summer interns will collaborate with the summer Communication Design Intern on marketing and outreach materials. 


To apply, email a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to:

Gigi Romano, Communications Specialist
[email protected]

Communication Design Internship



Hawk Mountain Communications Interns work under the supervision of our Communications Specialist in support of Hawk Mountain's global mission as a recognized leader in international raptor conservation science and education. The candidate will gain valuable experience in communications and design supporting our diverse communications platform that includes traditional print publications and digital new media.

Understanding of modern communications is essential with a preference for candidates with skills in marketing, video editing and production, and/or social media preferred.

Interns are selected from local colleges and universities. Internship applications are due March 15.

Communication Design Internship Details
• 3-4 month internship opportunity (May-Aug)
• Students entering their junior or senior year are eligible
• Flexible schedule, totaling 8 - 16 hours a week
• Receive a monthly stipend
• Assist in creating promotional and publication materials, advertisement campaigns, and online content.
• Design responsibilities include event flyers, posters, brochures, rack cards, online ads, social media banners, shareable content, publication spreads, mailing designs, email banners, and infographics.
• Collaborate with the summer Communications Intern on marketing and outreach materials. 


To apply, email a resume, cover letter, and design samples to:

Gigi Romano, Communications Specialist
[email protected]