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What Are the Different Types of Conservation Internships?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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Conservation internships take many forms, but can be broadly divided into cultural and natural conservation internships. Cultural conservation often involves making sure that sites of historical value remain well preserved and that artifacts associated with these sites are properly stored or displayed. Natural conservation internships, on the other hand, relate to preserving environments and specific natural features. Within these two broad categories are a number of subcategories relating to the many different types of features that can be preserved, and internships themselves may focus on only a single aspect of conservation.

Among cultural conservation internships, those that preserve historical sites are very popular. A historic site often poses many responsibilities for interns, from physically maintaining the site to guiding visitors around it. In advanced internships of this type, interns may learn about preventative conservation, preserving specific materials like stone or wood, or even how funding for this type of project is accomplished. Depending on the site in question, an intern may fill a very specific or broad role.

Natural conservation internships are often identified in terms of what type of natural feature is being preserved. Interns might work with animal populations, restoring forests, or geological features. In many cases, internships of this type involve significant amounts of physical activity. Even the most demanding of physical internships, however, is typically supplemented by an education component teaching the concepts behind the labor. The kind of education to which the intern will have access typically defines the internship itself.

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Sometimes, it is valuable to think about natural conservation internships in terms of the type of project undertaken. Projects that help keep national parks in order, for example, are very different than those that attempt to create harmony between local farmers and resident wildlife. The country in which the internship is located can also have a major effect on the types of activities taking place.

In addition to the subcategories of conservation internships, there are also features of the internships themselves that can be used to divide this subject into categories. There are, for example, both paid and unpaid internships available, and these may last a variety of durations. Interns often work in a particular capacity within the organization and may be involved specifically with office work, political work, or even public education. While most programs of this type are aimed at people who are not yet professionals but who have completed some type of related education, there are also internships for younger students.

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