F.A.Q.

 

What is the application deadline?

The application deadline for 2014 is January 15th. Please note that applicants who apply before January 15th are more likely to be placed in an internship. We review applications on a rolling basis. The sooner your application is complete, the sooner we can review your files and consider you for available positions. In other words, the early (qualified) bird gets the internship! Applications received after January 15th will be reviewed on an as-needed basis.

 

How will I know if my application is complete?

Your application is considered complete after we receive your submitted application, 3 letters of recommendation and your official college/university transcript. Once all of these documents have been received, you will be sent an email confirming that your application is complete.

Tracking the progress of your application

You will be able to view the progress of your application by logging into your CLM account. Upon submitting your application online,  we will have received your application form, cover letter and resume. Once you submit your application, your references will each receive an email with details for providing their letter of recommendation to us. As your letters are received, you will be sent a confirmation email and your account will be updated automatically, allowing you to track which letters are still outstanding. Once your transcript has been received by CLM, your CLM account will show that your transcript is on file. PLEASE NOTE that you must request that your transcript be mailed to us.

 

How ​can I make my application stand out?

Be sure that you have relevant coursework/species knowledge. Applicants that have taken courses that include species identification (e.g. Plant Systematics/Taxonomy, Entomology, Ichthyology, Ornithology, Vertebrate Biology, Mammalogy, Herpetology, Invertebrate Biology, etc.) head to the top of the list! There is a shortage of botanists trained in basic plant identification and plant and community ecology. As many of our internships are plant-focused, we are in need of applicants with coursework in botany, especially plant identification.

Make a good first impression! Make sure there are no obvious misspellings or other mistakes on your application materials. Mistakes can detract from your application, since they may indicate that you don't care enough or aren't attentive enough to proof-read your application. Forgoing basic English composition and grammar may be fine for text-messages, but not for your cover letter and professional emails! Not using proper grammar, capitalization and punctuation definitely gives a bad first-impression. Always be professional!

 

What happens after I apply? The intern-selection process

1. Complete applications are evaluated

Applications are matched to job descriptions provided by our partnering agencies. Selection is based upon education, skills, interest in conservation practices, experience, and enthusiasm. Applicants with the relevant education and experience will be selected to move forward to the next phase, interviews.

2. Phone interview with CLM Staff

The first interview is conducted by CLM staff at the Chicago Botanic Garden according to the following timeline. Within 1-2 weeks of your initial phone interview, your files will be sent to a mentor to consider for their internship position.

Applicant Availability Timeframe  Contacted for Initial Interview
January - March mid-November to mid-January
April - June mid-January - until all positions are filled (typically April 1st).

3. Phone interview with CLM Mentor

Each mentor receives 3 applicant files for each position for which they are hiring. If your file is sent out for review, you will receive an email giving you the name of the mentor, location and a brief project description to help you prepare for the interview with the mentor.

The mentor will contact their top applicant(s) for the second interview.. This interview will provide you with more specific information on what the internship entails and is a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding the internship position, your responsibilities, projects you may work on and also questions about housing, the town you will be living in, etc.

If you are not offered or choose not to accept the first position you are considered for, your application will remain active in the applicant pool and you will be considered for other positions for which you are qualified. Applications remain active unless the applicant notifies the CLM Program that they are no longer interested in being considered for an internship or until all positions are filled (typically April 15th).

 

How can I best prepare for CLM interviews?

The initial interview with CLM Staff is informal and serves to get a better understanding of your interests and to acquaint you with the next steps in the application process.

To prepare for your second interview (interview with a mentor), you will be sent an email that will contain the name of the agency, location (city and state), name of the mentor and a brief description of the internship. It may also be helpful to gain an understanding of the type of work that the agencies are conducting in your field. For example, browse the BLM, NPS, USFS, USGS or FWS websites.

 

What is the start date for an internship?

Most internships begin mid-May or early June. However, we have a small number of internships that start earlier, anywhere from January to April. There are typically a few positions that start in the fall, between August and October. Be sure to state the earliest date you are available to start on your online application form!

 

Are internships extended beyond five months?

Yes, many internships are extended and the duration of extensions varies from 2 weeks to 7 months. 

Extensions are dependent upon the performance of the intern during the first five months and funding availability. The mentor you interview with can provide more information on whether their internship has the potential to be extended beyond the first 5 months.

 

What kinds of projects will I assist with as an intern?

Projects vary and may include the following:

  • Conducting inventories of and monitoring Special Status species – plants and/or wildlife
  • Collecting data on reintroduction and management experiments for Special Status species
  • Collecting seeds for Seeds of Success program
  • Performing habitat quality surveys for Special Status species
  • Conducting surveys and eradicating invasive species
  • Performing habitat restoration
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS) mapping
  • Conducting literature searches for Endangered Species Act consultations 
  • Mapping landscape features using GPS
  • Developing Special Status handbooks
  • Reintroducing Special Status species
  • Writing environmental assessments and components of land-use plans, updating endangered species lists, and creating web sites
  • Maintaining trails and recreational areas

 

Where will my internship be located?

Internship locations change each year. The vast majority are based with the Bureau of Land Management and are located throughout the western United States. Limited positions may be available in the midwestern and eastern United States but this varies each year.

 

Is there a posted list of internship positions?

Because internship positions vary by year and time of year and are dependent on various funding sources, we do not post a list of internship positions. We ask that applicants provide any preferences for the focus and location of an internship on their application. We then work to place selected applicants in positions that fit with their skills and preferences.

 

Can I choose the location?

Applicants who are flexible with location preferences are most likely to be placed. If you are restricted to a particular region, you will be able to indicate this on your application form. We do our best to accommodate applicants with geographic restrictions.

 

What are the housing options for interns?

The CLM program does not provide housing for interns however, your stipend is intended to be used for housing-related expenses.

While you must find your own housing, your mentor will assist you with this process by providing information on specific housing options that may be available to you. Most interns rent an apartment or a room in a home. A few field offices have seasonal housing options (cabin or trailer) that is typically offered at a lower cost.

 

Is reimbursement provided for relocation expenses?

The Chicago Botanic Garden does not provide reimbursement for costs associated with relocation for internships. 

 

Do I need to bring a car?

A car is not a necessity for performing your internship, and you will not be required to use your personal vehicle for work purposes. However, the majority of internships are in remote locations and small towns which will not necessarily have banks, grocery stores, shops or entertainment venues nearby. It is strongly encouraged that interns bring their own vehicles. This ensures that interns will not need to rely on coworkers, mentors, or other CLM interns for personal travel and travel to and from work.

 

What is the intended use of the stipend?

Your stipend is intended to cover living expenses, including rent, groceries, laundry, gas, etc.

 

What do interns gain from the CLM Training Workshop?

  • Networking, bonding, knowledge, and a support group 
  • New skills and preparation for the internship 
  • Readiness to step into the role of a practical conservation field worker 
  • Valuable experience working for a government agency 
  • Familiarity with planning, organizing, and completing work projects 
  • Familiarity with the roles of the government agencies 
  • Ability to prepare biological assessments and reports

 

How can an undergraduate student prepare to be competitive for a CLM Internship after graduation?

Please go to our Information for Undergraduates page to read how you can best prepare to be competitive for a CLM Internship.

 

Are there special opportunities for underrepresented groups?

Special funding/opportunities for underrepresented groups (specifically Native Americans) may be available. If you would like to be considered for these positions, please make sure you have provided the correct ethnicity information.

 

Can I apply if I am not a US citizen?

Unfortunately, CLM Internships are only open to US citizens. The majority of the funding for our internships comes from federal agencies, most of whom require that we hire US citizens.  At this time, there's quite limited flexibility in this requirement. However, this may change in the future so feel free to inquire in future years. 

 

Is there an age restriction for interns?

There is no age restriction for applying to the CLM Program. Funding for some of our internships is intended for hiring “youth”, ages 22-25, but for many internships, there is no age limit. Please note that you must have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in a relevant field and have relevant experience and most interns start soon after finishing their degree.

 

Can I apply for an internship if I am a former intern?

Yes, we accept applications from former interns! For those who were interns previously, you will need to complete a new online application, which will require you to provide an updated cover letter and resume. Any letters of recommendation and transcripts received with your previous application are still on file and will be added to your new application. If you have acquired recent experience related to your application, please ask that a person familiar with your work submit an additional letter on your behalf as well.  Please note that a letter from a recent reference is always best so consider requesting one of the three letters from someone who can speak to the experiences and skills you gained in the last year.

 

If I applied in a previous year, do I have to resubmit all documents to be considered for an internship this year?

For those who are re-applying, you will need to complete a new online application, which will require you to provide an updated cover letter and resume. Any letters of recommendation and transcripts received with your 2014 field season application are still on file and can be added to your 2015 field season application. If you have acquired recent experience related to your application, be sure to add this new reference to your application form so they can submit a letter on your behalf.

 

How is the program’s success measured?

Interns and mentors complete questionnaires to provide valuable feedback. This feedback is used to fine-tune and improve the program each year.

Other success measures include:

  • Many interns have their internship extended and some are hired in a permanent capacity by the agency.Following their internship, most interns find employment with a local, state or federal agency, a non-profit organization, or a research institution in the field of biology, conservation or land management. Approximately 20% of interns return to graduate school to pursue a Masters or Ph.D. Degree. 
  • The program continues to grow with additional internship requests each year.