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Timothy Peck
11 Internships

30 Environmental Internships for High Schoolers in 2024

What’s Covered:


Environmental internships allow high school students to directly improve their communities, learn how to conduct research in labs and in the field, and spend time in the great outdoors.


Check out this list of high school environmental internships to protect the planet, gain experience, and build your network. 


30 Environmental Internships for High Schoolers


1. Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area | Clean Water Ambassadors Internships 


Dates: N/A

Application Deadline: N/A


Seattle-area high schoolers will want to check out this internship focused on local environmental issues, solutions, and careers in clean water. Interns work in both field and office environments, participate in workshops and field trips to learn about environmental and social justice issues, meet with professionals, and develop valuable skills like public speaking and writing. Interns also create a plan for teaching their community about clean water. 


The internship is open to students ages 16 and up and is paid.  


2. Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program


Dates: Eight weeks

Application Deadline: January 16  


This eight-week, paid program pairs interns, called Hutton Scholars, with fisheries professionals to build first-hand experience with fisheries science. Hutton Scholars conduct research in both a lab and field setting, assist with resource conservation and management projects, and gain an understanding of the importance of healthy aquatic systems.


The goal of the Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program is to engage students from diverse communities that are traditionally underrepresented in the fisheries professions and stimulate their participation in the field.


Students receive a $3,000 stipend for their participation in the program along with an all-expense paid trip to the Hutton Scholars Summit.  


3. Alaska Songbird Institute (ASI) High School Summer Internship


Dates: Ten weeks

Application Deadline: N/A


This internship with ASI gives students ages 14-18 the opportunity to monitor up to 70 active Tree Swallow nests, from egg laying to fledging. Interns will work with biologists, volunteers, and other interns to check nest boxes, record and enter data, and assist with bird capture and banding. Additional responsibilities are available to interns whose skills progress quickly. Interns are expected to work between 8 and 10 hours a week.  


4. Conservation Corps North Carolina Youth Conservation Crews 


Dates: Three to five weeks 

Application Deadline: N/A 


This opportunity allows high schoolers who are 15-18 years old to work on conservation projects across North Carolina. Students work in groups of four to six members, along with two crew leaders, on everything from trail building to invasive species removal to habitat restoration. 


Positions are available on both day crews and camping crews; day crews return home at the end of the day while camp crews spend their entire session working and camping together. Both day and camping crew members can expect to work Monday through Friday for a total of 40 hours a week.


5. UPenn Perelman School of Medicine | Teen Research and Education in Environmental Science (TREES) Program


Dates: July 8 – August 5 (four weeks) 

Application Deadline: February 5


Just eight high schoolers are chosen each year to work one-on-one with mentors on their own projects. This free program initially focuses on building basic lab skills, then shifts to an independent research project. Through these projects, students gain first-hand experience with the process of scientific research and learn how to communicate their findings—the project culminates with participants sharing their results at a public presentation. 


Over the course of the program, students will also participate in seminars led by environmental experts, take field trips to environmentally interesting sites, and take part in enrichment activities in fields ranging from college preparedness to career exploration.


6. Southwest Conservation Corps Youth Conservation Crew Program 


Dates: Four to five weeks 

Application Deadline: N/A 


Students in New Mexico who want to spend their summer outdoors will want to look into the Southwest Conservation Corps Youth Conservation Crew Program, which is open to students ages 14 to 18 who live in the Silver State’s Four Corners Region or Los Valles Region


Crew members work in groups of 6-8, along with 2 adult crew leaders, on a range of projects including invasive species removal, tree planting, small-scale agriculture, painting, fence building, trail maintenance, and community clean-ups. Crew members can expect to work between 32-36 hours a week and earn $14.42 an hour.


7. Tree Trust Summer Youth Employment Program 


Dates: Eight weeks 

Application Deadline: N/A


The Tree Trust Summer Youth Employment Program in Minnesota is a great opportunity for students ages 14-21 from Minnesota’s Hennepin, Dakota, Ramsey, and Washington Counties to spend their summers outdoors while gaining work experience. 


Participants assist with outdoor construction and landscape projects in local green spaces, under the supervision of trained staff, while building job skills and earning a paycheck. Students can work up to 20 hours a week and earn $2,000+ for their participation.


8. Wave Hill | Art, Community, Education, and Science (ACES) Internship


Dates: 13 months 

Application Deadline: March 8


ACES is a year-long internship for high school students interested in arts and science education. Interns assist with two of Wave Hill’s programs and help visitors create art inspired by nature; responsibilities can include everything from organizing and cleaning up after events to communicating information to visitors and helping prepare educational displays. Interns also participate in college readiness and STEAM workshops, take field trips, and explore potential career paths. 


The program is open to students ages 16 and older. Interns are expected to work between 4-8 hours per weekend, with a maximum of 14 hours per weekend, and they are paid $15 an hour.


9. Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity (RISE) | Environmentor Internship


Dates: July 8 to August 16 (five weeks)

Application Deadline: May 1  


The RISE Environmentor program provides students the chance to conduct research on the Rockaway New York shoreline under the mentorship of scientists from local universities and research institutions. Participants will receive water safety and CPR training, as well as take part in activities like kayaking, surfing, and biking over the summer. 


Interns are expected to work four days a week and can earn up to a $1,200 stipend for their efforts. Students can also earn community service hours by partaking in RISE community service weekend events.


10. NOAA Ocean Guardian Youth Ambassador Program


Dates: N/A

Application Deadline: N/A


The NOAA Ocean Guardian Youth Ambassador program offers a chance for students ages 13-18 to actively participate in ocean conservation and stewardship. Participants lead projects in their community that promote environment and ocean conservation—for example, beach cleanups—and share their knowledge and skills with their community. Youth ambassadors are supported with toolkits, presentations, and guidance from experts. 


Participants in this program build a multitude of valuable skills, including leadership, teamwork, and communication. They also build a network of like-minded peers and professionals.


11. New York City Department of Parks and Recreation | Ranger Conservation Corps Internship


Dates: Eight weeks

Application Deadline: Rolling admission 


This internship for high schoolers in New York City is a great opportunity for students interested in the natural world and environmental issues. Over the course of the program, interns meet once weekly after school for two to two-and-a-half hours to assist park rangers with projects focused on restoring natural areas. Interns also have the chance to participate in activities like canoeing and camping.


12. University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Geosciences Program


Dates: Six weeks

Application Deadline: N/A 


This six-week paid internship is aimed at students interested in pursuing careers in geoscience fields and is provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC) at UMES. The program is open to graduating high school seniors and introduces them to ocean sciences, atmospheric sciences, and geographic information systems (GIS). Students also participate in activities to build math skills and college preparedness.


During the program, interns live on UMES’s campus, sharing dorm rooms with fellow participants, eating in dining halls, and experiencing a slice of college life. Participants in the program earn a stipend and take two for-credit college courses. 


13. Appalachian Conservation Corps (ACC) Youth Conservation Crews


Dates: N/A

Application Deadline: Rolling admissions 


ACC Youth Conservation Crews introduce high schoolers between the ages of 16-18 to community service and conservation through hands-on projects. Crews assist with activities such as trail construction and maintenance, habitat improvement, and re-vegetation. Crew members also participate in programs focused on educational and professional development. 


Being a member of an ACC Youth Conservation Crew is an extremely rewarding experience, but applicants are warned to be prepared for physical work, sweat, and bugs.


14. Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) Youth Crew and Young Adult Crew


Dates: June-August

Application Deadline: Rolling admissions


Spend your summer outdoors learning how to make healthier forests and waterways, grow organic vegetables, and build and maintain trails as a VYCC crew member. Positions are open to high schoolers 15 years of age and older; dates and compensation vary by project. 


By the end of their time on a crew, participants will have learned how to work within a team,  developed a community of similarly interested peers, learned how to work in a challenging environment, and built a level of professionalism.


15. EPA Internship Programs in Pollution Prevention


Dates: Varies

Application Deadline: Varies


Pollution Prevention (P2) internship opportunities are open across the nation—from Arizona to Texas—and allow participants to gain real-world experience helping to protect human health and the environment, covering fields ranging from energy to sustainability to waste reduction. 


Dates, compensation, and requirements vary depending on the particular internship.


16. Wildlife Conservation Society | Bronx Zoo Project TRUE


Dates: N/A

Application Deadline: March 8


Project TRUE allows high school sophomores and juniors from the Bronx to spend their summer conducting research alongside scientists from Fordham University and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Interns assist with projects focused on better understanding New York City’s wildlife, help curate the TRUE project’s social media presence, and gain work experience at the Bronx Zoo—the global headquarters of the Wildlife Conservation Society.


Participants are also provided with in-depth training in scientific research, a chance to bolster their professional networks, and assistance preparing for college. Interns are compensated for their time, either with a stipend or an hourly wage.


17. Vermont Audobon  Junior Conservation Technician (JCT) Program


Dates: N/A

Application Deadline: N/A


The JCT program is open to students ages 14 to 18. Participants work alongside Vermont conservation professionals to build outdoor education, environmental education, and naturalist skills; learn about habitat and wildlife conservation; and develop their resume. Students may take part in a variety of group and individual projects, including bird banding, native plant gardening, and invasive species removal.


18. Linking Individuals to their Natural Community (LINC) Summer Program


Dates: June 18 – August 2 (six weeks)

Application Deadline: March 10


This program for Bay Area youth is focused on community building, service learning, and exploration. Students will participate in service projects like trail work, habitat restoration, and community cleanups while building valuable skills like communication, teamwork, and public speaking. Students will also learn about their local, state, and national parks and take part in activities like overnight trips, kayaking, and cooking.


Students are eligible to receive a $2,300 education reward at the conclusion of the program.


19. Brooklyn College STEM Research Academy


Dates: Six weeks

Application Deadline: N/A


This pre-college program in urban aquatic ecology is an excellent opportunity for high schoolers interested in science and research. Participants work closely with professionals, undergraduates, and like-minded high schoolers to explore lab and field research, data collection, and analysis.


Students who complete the research academy are eligible to apply for an intensive summer laboratory research internship through which they can gain hands-on academic science experience and earn a $1,000 stipend.


20. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Secondary School Field Research Program (SSFRP)


Dates: Six weeks (July 8 – August 16)

Application Deadline: March 1


This program brings high school students, undergraduate students, and science teachers together to collaborate on a research project and provides tiered mentoring. Students are exposed to subjects including climate, geology, earth systems, and ecology and work both in the lab and the field. Students will work as a team in the program to create a research poster and present it at a symposium at the end of the program.


Participants are warned that the program can be physically and intellectually demanding—with long hours in the lab and often hot, wet days in the field. The reward is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a $1,400 stipend for their participation in the program.


21. Joint Science Education Project (JSEP) In-Person Program


Dates: Three weeks

Application Deadline: January 31


This international program is a collaboration between Greenland, Denmark, and the United States and seeks to educate and inspire the next generation of polar and STEM professionals. The program is open to high schoolers entering their junior year.


The first two weeks of the in-person program—there’s also a remote program—are spent at field sites in the Kangerlussuaq in western Greenland. Here, students explore a variety of environment-related topics, build field methods, complete a research project, and present their findings. The final week is spent at the U.S. Summit Station at the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet where they learn about topics like climate science, ice coring, and glaciology.


All travel expenses for participants are paid for—except for their passports—and they receive a $1,500 stipend to cover the cost of any necessary gear.


22. TeenNat


Dates: Six weeks (June 18 – August 1)

Application Deadline: April 21


This program for high school students entering 10th, 11th, or 12th grade provides them with the chance to perform real research and engage with the excitement around them. Students learn about scientific inquiry and observation while building skills in data collection, identifying plants and animals, and hiking safety. Ultimately, the program makes science more personal and less theoretical.


Participants should be prepared to hike up to four miles a day—while carrying gear—in steep, uneven terrain. Students can earn up to 50 hours of community service credit for their participation in the program.


23. The Blue Economy Internship Program (BEIP)


Dates: Varies

Application Deadline: Varies


This internship program from the University of Chicago Marine Biological Laboratory provides a variety of paid opportunities in the Blue Economy—the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs—to students over the age of 16 attending public high schools, colleges, and universities in Massachusetts. Participants will build their professional skills and gain a deeper understanding of the life sciences and technology.


24. Young Scholars Internship Program (YSP)


Dates: (Five weeks) May 29 – July 12

Application Deadline: April 1


This paid internship program is aimed at students over the age of 16 interested in agriculture, food, and environmental sciences. Over the program’s five weeks, students will work 30 hours a week on mentor-guided research, attend workshops, visit agricultural operations, and explore careers in ag.


25. Shaw Institute for Field Training (SIFT)


Dates: One year

Application Deadline: March 15


SIFT is a year-long program for students entering grades 10, 11, and 12 that introduces them to scientific exploration and the natural world. Participants are exposed to a number of field projects over the course of four seasons and take part in a variety of research and restoration activities, such as invasive species management, habitat restoration, plant and animal inventories, field experiment set up/break down, data collection, and data entry.


Students are paid a stipend for their work.


26. Girls in Science  


Dates: One week (July 6-14 & July 27-August 3)

Application Deadline: February 28


This fully funded opportunity for female-identifying and non-binary high school juniors from California provides the chance to examine STEAM fields and get firsthand experience with environmental research. Participants work side by side in the field with female researchers to collect data about the world’s environmental challenges and solutions to them. To complete their fellowship, students give a presentation to their school or community about the program.


27. NASA OSTEM Internship


Dates: Varies

Application Deadline: February 2


NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement provides paid internships to high schoolers and undergraduates 16 years of age and older. Internship opportunities are offered across NASA facilities and range in scope from engineering projects to observations of global ocean biology, aerosols, and clouds. NASA internships are open to U.S. citizens, and interns receive a stipend based on their academic level and session length.


28. Seattle Aquarium Youth Ocean Advocates


Dates: N/A

Application Deadline: N/A


This program is aimed at students in grades 9 through 12 interested in the ocean and conservation. Students participate in conservation projects like beach cleanups—summer volunteers complete a minimum of 20 activities varying in length from three to five hours—and learn how to advocate for the marine environment, from working in-person with aquarium visitors to creating content for social media campaigns.


29. Young Investigators


Dates: N/A

Application Deadline: N/A


This program from Stanford’s Doerr School of Sustainability invites local high schoolers to spend their summer working in research labs supervised by graduate students, post docs, and lab managers. High schoolers gain real-world research experience, learn about college, and gain a better understanding of earth and environmental sciences. Graduate students benefit from the program as well, as they’re able to develop their supervisory skills.


30. Westmoreland Sanctuary High School Internship

Dates: Six weeks

Application Deadline: N/A


New York’s Westmoreland Sanctuary exposes students to environmental science topics like pond and forest ecology, invasive species management, and animal anatomy while helping them build valuable soft skills like communication, critical thinking, and teamwork.


Interns are expected to engage with one another, sanctuary staff, and the general public and will assist in projects like installing deer fences and measuring water quality. Students should be prepared to work in inclement weather, perform physical labor, and get dirty.


How Do Internships Impact Your College Chances? 


Internships can play a substantial role in college admissions—extracurricular activities can account for as much as 25% of an admissions decision. This is especially true for students applying to highly selective schools that receive an abundance of applicants with stellar academic records. 


The four tiers of extracurricular activities are a good guideline for understanding the influence extracurriculars can have on their college admissions odds. Extremely prestigious, impressive, and uncommon activities fall into Tier 1 and 2 and have a significant influence on a student’s chances of getting into college. Tier 3 and 4 activities are more common and less impactful than those in the higher tiers; consequently, they carry less weight with admissions offices. Most internships fall into Tier 3, though a highly selective one can be Tiers 1-2. 


Students can see how their internships and extracurriculars can affect their odds of admission using our free chancing engine. It’ll help you classify your extracurriculars into tiers, understand the impact they have on your admissions, and let you know which parts of your profile need improvement.

Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.