The Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy recruits interns in its Operations and Events Department throughout the year. We seek intelligent, self–motivated candidates, who are good communicators, and serious workers.
Responsibilities of the internship include participating in the day–to–day operations of the administration office, assisting in the management of events in the park, special projects, and research in the field. Read about the different opportunities here.
Qualified candidates are college or graduate students, proficient in Microsoft Office, able to do physical and online research, and have excellent oral and written communication skills.
One Intern’s Story
Martha Villalba graduates from Barnard College May 2012 and she has this to say:
“If you're a college student like I was six months ago looking for an internship, this is a really good one!
I began my internship at Van Cortlandt Park just this past February 2012, yet I feel like I have learned so much from my experience. As a bird populations intern, I started by digitizing John Young’s bird data of the arrival of each species in the park for the past 20 years. John has been birding here for 56 years and I'm the first to get any of his handwritten logs from all those years onto a computer! Digitizing this data helped me realize how Van Cortlandt Park is so rich in bird species since many of them are here year round and the others return faithfully every year.
I also attended the weekly bird walks held on Saturday mornings, led by very knowledgeable park rangers or Andrew Baksh from NYC Audubon. I really enjoy these walks since every week I see at least one new bird species to add to my life list and the other birders are amazing people! These bird walks have definitely helped me improve my bird identification skills as well as associate different species of birds with their own unique habitats such as ponds, marshes, grasslands and forests. That's why Van Cortlandt is so special -- all these different habitats are in this one huge park.
Lastly, one of my other duties as an intern has been to help with the preparations for the annual Bird-a-thon. I have helped with outreach efforts by writing press releases and contacting other organizations such as NYC Audubon to include our birding events in their calendar. By doing all these projects and tasks, I have acquired new skills that will be useful for me anywhere in the world I go, because birds can fly there too!
I think the name of the internship has changed from "Bird Populations Internship" to "Urban Birding Internship" (UBI). Whatever the name is, I can say first hand that interning at Van Cortlandt Park has been an incredible experience because I've learned so many new things and my interest in birds has definitely grown as a result of this experience. I'm graduating next week, but am sure to be back birding soon in VCP. Check it out.”
Another Intern’s Story
From May through August 2009, Nile K. Williams, freshman at Colgate University, assisted the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy during our active summer season. His responsibilities were varied: He worked in our administrative offices and prepared materials and background information for events in the park. He also researched information for our new website and was regularly on site in the park for events, lending a hand. We were fortunate to benefit from his good work. Here are observations from Nile’s summer experience in Van Cortlandt Park:
“The first big event I worked on during my internship was the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy’s First Fête. This was a dinner reception to be held before the New York Philharmonic concert in the park. I spent a lot of time helping with the planning and execution of the event. I sat in on most of the planning meetings for the Fête, and made contributions where ever I thought I could. I helped design the program, sent out invitations to guests, collected materials we would need, and corresponded with the partner businesses. On the day of the event I helped mostly with set–up.
“As there was so much construction going on in the park this summer, I also benefitted from attending many meetings with engineers and landscape architects. They would discuss the large projects going on in the park, like the construction on the 65–acre Parade Ground. Sometimes these meetings would be on site, and I would get to see the actual construction going on. During these meetings we viewed plans for each area, and I got an idea of what the final product would eventually look like. As I plan to study Civil Engineering, all of that was very interesting to me, and the information I gained from just being there helped to understand more what would be in store for me when I finally become one.
“Before my summer at parks, I was familiar with Van Cortlandt Park, because I am a Bronxite, but I did not take advantage of it as maybe I should have. Through the weeks I have spent here I realized what a jewel Van Cortlandt Park really is. An oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle. I remember as I walked through the park and look up at the majestic trees towering over me, I would be overwhelmed by the beauty and serenity of the Park. I would literally ‘go to another place,’ and find peace for just a moment. Through this experience I have learned to appreciate Van Cortlandt Park more than ever. In fact my family and I have actually increased our use of the park since I started my internship.”