The Wilds is one of the largest and most innovative conservation centers in the world, offering diverse training programs for early career professionals. Wildlife facilities include a Hellbender Conservation Center, American Burying Beetle breeding center, and the Conservation Science Training Center which includes a population genetic laboratory. The Wilds has nearly 10,000 acres of reclaimed mineland and remnant forest patches that present multiple opportunities for field research and restoration of wildlife populations.
The Wildlife Ecology department has four focal priorities: Eastern Hellbender head-starting and conservation; American Burying Beetle reintroduction; Inventory and monitoring of wildlife across The Wilds; and Conservation genetics and environmental DNA for wildlife populations. Apprentices typically will focus on one of these areas, but will have opportunities to work across all of these priorities, and it is common for an apprentice project to incorporate more than one of these objectives. For instance, a representative day for an apprentice could include assisting with hellbender care in the morning, participating in a statistical training in the early afternoon, and doing a field survey in the late afternoon. Apprentices gain hands-on experience, participate in wildlife and vegetation studies and receive field training on a variety of ecological studies in wetland, forest, stream & grassland habitats, typically beyond their specific research focus.
- Wildlife Typical tasks:Survey and monitoring for wildlife populations, habitat measurement, implementing habitat improvements and monitoring wildlife recovery, genetic analysis, population modeling, and report writing.
- Training: field methods (species identification, survey protocols, research methodology), laboratory methods (genetic techniques, microscope work), GPS & GIS applications / map making, biological monitoring and application of wildlife research techniques or land management and restoration techniques
- Apprentices are responsible for an independent scientific research project, and will communicate their findings to Columbus Zoo and Wilds employees at the end of their term.
- Second Year College Student or recent graduate (2 years or less) in Ecology, Biology, Natural Resource Management, Wildlife Management, or related field.
- Ability to communicate well both verbally and in writing.
- Ability to work Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.
- Ability to adhere to standard operating procedures including but not limited to safety protocols required.
- Position requires hiking and some physically demanding tasks, including outdoor work throughout the seasons. This may include hot, buggy, cold or otherwise challenging conditions. Participants should be prepared with appropriate field gear / foot wear.
- Candidates should be eager for learning opportunities and willing to practice new skills independently.
- Apprentices must be responsible, flexible, self-motivated and able to work effectively with limited supervision, as well as in a team setting.
- Able to lift and move up to 10lbs. constantly, 30lbs. frequently, and 50lbs. occasionally.
- Possession of a valid current state issued motor vehicle operator's license and a good driving record required.
- Ability to arrange for their own housing and transportation.
- Able to balance multiple assignments successfully.
- Ability to adhere to the Wilds drug-free workplace policy
- Ability to successfully complete a criminal history background check
Apprentices do not receive monetary compensation; however the position allows participants to customize their apprenticeship to gain and enhance skills that will be most beneficial for their future careers, and is particularly well suited to prepare participants for graduate school or work in a conservation organization. Opportunities for school credit are available. On-site housing is available for $250/month. Application Requests:
When applying, please submit your resume with references and a cover letter. Please outline your interest in the position, what you would hope to gain from it and how your past experience makes you an ideal candidate. Please be sure to specify which focal priority or priorities you are most interested in.
All apprenticeships at the Wilds are competitive and we value placing individuals in programs that suit their career goals.Housing:
On-site shared housing is available and costs $250.00 per month.Transportation:
Students must provide their own transportation.Insurance:
Students must provide their own health and driving insurance.Expenses:
Students are responsible for all expenses.Schedule:
Five days per week.