• Gain experience and research skills in field biology and applied conservation under the supervision of professionals in the field

  • Apply your skills to on-the-ground biodiversity conservation and sustainable development projects, as well as independent research

Internships in the Peruvian Amazon

An overview of our internships:

Our internships are designed to provide individuals—students, early-career or aspiring scientists, and/or those with a deeper interest in tropical biology or conservation—with the chance to learn through direct, hands-on engagement in basic scientific research and applied conservation projects spanning our two focal areas: biological research and monitoring and sustainable tropical agriculture.

 

Each of our three internship programs share a common academic structure that includes an exploration of topics in tropical biology and conservation through lectures, readings in the primary scientific literature, and through guided discussions and, of course, in-depth independent study. Scroll down to learn more about these exciting opportunities!

What Our Interns are Saying

"I expected to learn a lot about the Amazon—and I did—but I also learned about myself, people, and the world. Coming here has altered my world view in a positive way."

-Maddy Stauder

Academic Quarter Internship, Summer 2017, posing with one of her experimental artificial nest boxes

"I learned to be creative in many ways. Manual work, constructing traps to catch a tiny fraction of the rich wildlife. Scientific knowledge, putting together information from the literature. All surrounded by—submerged into—this exotic diversity."

-Tobias Süess

Academic Quarter Internship, Summer 2017, shown with a drift fence used to sample herps (reptiles and amphibians)

"Even though there was a fair share of struggles when I realized my limitations, the last three months has been a great experience for me. I mean, how can you cross the line if you don’t know where it is?"

-Zephyr Dang

Academic Quarter Internship, Summer 2017, gathering data in one of the ASA's agroforestry plots at Finca Las Piedras

3 Different Opportunities:

  • 4 Weeks

  • Learn & contribute through hands-on activities in the field

  • 8 Weeks

  • Develop and implement a supervised Independent Research Project

  • 12 Weeks

  • In-depth Independent Research, excellent thesis opportunity 

3. Academic

Quarter Internship

2. Advanced

Sustainability Internship

1. Introduction to Sustainability Internship

 

2020 Dates, Deadlines, & Fees

Internship Program

Introduction to

Sustainability

Advanced

Sustainability

Academic

Quarter

Duration

4 weeks

8 weeks

12 weeks

$350

Fee/week

$300

$275

Total Fees

$1,400

$2,400

$3,300

Session Dates

Session I

May 25 - Jun 19

May 25 - Jul 17

May 25 - Aug 14

Session II

Jun 22 - Jul 17

Jun 22 - Aug 14

Jun 22 - Sep 11

Session III

Jul 20 - Aug 14

Jul 20 - Sep 11

Jul 20 - Oct 9

Session IV

Aug 17 - Sep 11

Aug 17 - Oct 9

Aug 17 - Nov 6

Session V

Sep 14 - Oct 9

Sep 14 - Nov 6

Sep 14 - Dec 4

Application & Payment Deadlines

Session I

Apr 24

Apr 24

Apr 24

Session II

May 22

May 22

May 22

Session III

Jun 19

Jun 19

Jun 19

Session IV

Jul 17

Jul 17

Jul 17

Session V

Aug 14

Aug 14

Aug 14

Why are there fees for the Internship Program?

We're a small non-profit organization trying to do big work with a small budget. The Internship Program fees mostly cover the cost of housing interns at our field site in Peru, with some also going to cover the cost of the support staff that facilitates the program. This allows us to dedicate our limited resources entirely to our research, education, and conservation projects in Peru.

What's covered, and what's not?

Program fees include full room & board, 7 days per week, for the duration of the program at Finca Las Piedras (although interns are only required to work Monday through Friday). Transportation between Finca Las Piedras and the Puerto Maldonado airport (PEM) at the beginning and end of the program is also included, as is full-time supervision by ASA faculty and staff.

Fees DO NOT cover international or local flights, or travel & health insurance. Materials related to intern independent research projects are also not covered.

An application fee of $150 is due after registering for the Internship Program, which is non-refundable. Please read our Cancellation Policy, as well as our Terms and Conditions for more information before making a payment. You will be given payment options upon completion of the Application Form (available here).

Faculty and Staff

Internships are overseen by our expert faculty and staff. Our Academic Supervisor is Dr. Geoff Gallice, who has 10+ years of experience working as a research scientist and conservationist in the Neotropics. Support is also provided by our Academic Programs Coordinator, our various project managers, and our team of resident naturalists.

Skills Developed by Interns

All programs:

  • Training in basic field research skills, including off-trail navigation and use of GPS and GIS, techniques used in studies of tropical biodiversity, ecology, and conservation (e.g., experimental design, data collection and management, forest inventory plots, tree climbing and canopy access, wildlife and insect survey methods, camera trapping, etc.)

  • Identification of major Amazonian plant and animal groups (e.g., trees, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, insects and other invertebrates)

  • Sustainable tropical agriculture methods and practices

  • Weekly assigned readings on topics covering tropical biology, sustainable development, and conservation

  • Guided reading discussions from the primary literature

Advanced & Academic Quarter programs:

  • Advanced field research methodology through in-depth Independent Research Project

Example Intern Activities

Biological monitoring

  • Butterfly ecology, evolution, & natural history – participate in an ongoing, long-term study to understand butterfly diversity and biology, including butterfly collecting and rearing for host plant records

  • Biological inventories – insects, birds, mammals, trees/plants

  • Plant phenology (fruiting and flowering of select trees and plants) – to monitor changes over time in a changing climate

  • Artificial macaw nest boxes – use and occupancy 

 

Sustainable agriculture

  • Reforestation with native cacao – the plant from which chocolate is made is also a promising, biodiversity-friendly alternative to unsustainable agriculture in our region

  • Experimental agricultural plots (e.g., to test effects of composting, biochar, & other organic fertilizers, intercropping, integrated pest management, etc.

  • Shade house and tree nursery management practices

  • Native food forest monitoring – a future forest of native species with food, building, and/or medicinal uses

Independent Research Project

Overview

As well as the activities listed above, participants in the Advanced Sustainability and Academic Quarter (8 & 12 week) internship programs will have the added opportunity to develop an independent research project on a topic of their choosing, under the supervision of our academic faculty. This will allow interns to build upon what they have learned at the beginning of the program and apply it to a project in an area that is novel or interesting to them. Topics may also be assigned in an area of our faculty’s academic expertise, including wildlife biology and ecology, entomology, botany, natural history, sustainable agriculture, and community development. This optional project will provide participants with a more thorough insight into the process of scientific discovery and conservation in the tropics.

Successful past projects

 

  • Comparing butterfly diversity in different tropical habitats – Allison Stoiser, August 2018

  • A case study of arboreal termite (Insecta: Isoptera) tree selection at Finca Las Piedras, Madre de Dios, Peru – Declan Cronin, September 2018

  • An Inventory of Medicinal Plants at the Finca las Piedras site – Jagoda Wrobel, September 2018

  • Wild cacao (Theobroma cacao) survey and mapping at Finca Las Piedras, Madre de Dios, Peru – Zephyr Dang, September 2017

  • Herpetofaunal diversity and abundances change from abandoned agricultural areas over edge habitat to terra firma forest in the Amazon – Tobias Süess, September 2017

  • A Scarlet macaw nesting box built for their conservation at Alliance for a Sustainable Amazon – Maddy Stauder, September 2017

  • An Estimation of Carbon in the Living Above Ground Biomass of Finca las Piedras – Laura Coomber, September 2017

  • Assessing the sustainability of local farming practices in the vicinity of Finca Las Piedras, Madre de Dios, Peru – Joao Vilca, October 2017

  • Discerning diurnal roost preferences of cavity roosting Neotropical bats for the purpose of designing successful artificial bat roosts – Angela Brierly, August 2017

Click here to view published past intern research reports.

Read more about the Independent Research Project, including possible future projects, here.

Aerial view of Finca Las Piedras. Photo: Geoff Gallice

Traps allow us to sample butterflies and other rain forest insects that are otherwise hard to find. With more than 1,300 known butterfly species, Peru's Madre de Dios region offers a limitless variety of possibilities for the study of biodiversity. Photo: Geoff Gallice

Map of the field site in southeastern Peru.

Tree climbing allows researchers to safely access the top reaches of the rain forest canopy, and is one of many skills that interns will gain in Peru. Photo: Geoff Gallice

Morpho menalaus, one of more than a thousand butterfly species found in our region. Photo: Aaron Pomerantz

Program Location: Finca Las Piedras, Madre de Dios, Peru

Accommodations: Shared room/dormitory

Work Schedule: Monday thru Friaday, 8 hrs/day

Meeting Location: Puerto Maldonado, Peru

Requirements

Overview

Program Details

An academic background or strong interest in biology, ecology, agriculture, or conservation is highly recommended for all interns. We do not offer academic credit through our organization, but we are happy to sign documents for credit from your home institution. All instruction at the field site is in English. Although Spanish is not required, basic skills will be very useful.

1. Introduction to Sustainability

Internship - 4 weeks

 

Objectives

This 4-week program offers participants a broad introduction to biological research and conservation in the tropics. Our teaching and learning approach is both academic and hands-on. After receiving training in basic field skills, interns will participate directly in scientific research and applied conservation projects that span our two focal areas: biological research and monitoring and sustainable tropical agriculture. With the help of our academic faculty, interns will also navigate tropical biology and conservation science through lectures and weekly reading discussions covering articles drawn from the primary scientific literature. All interns maintain a field journal, including daily entries that aim to synthesize their learning experiences and sharpen their observational skills. This is an excellent opportunity to explore an exciting variety of potential career paths in biology and conservation under the guidance of experts in those fields.

Details

Length: 4 weeks

Dates (2020):

Session I: May 25 - Jun 19

Session II: Jun 22 - Jul 17

Session III: Jul 20 - Aug 14

Session IV: Aug 17 - Sep 11

Session V: Sep 14 - Oct 9

Application Deadlines:

Session I: Apr 24

Session II: May 22

Session III: Jun 19

Session IV: Jul 17

Session V: Aug 14

Program Fees:

Per week: $350

Total fees: $1,400 (4 weeks)

 

2. Advanced Sustainability

Internship - 8 weeks

Details

Length: 8 weeks

Dates (2020):

Session I: May 25 - Jul 17

Session II: Jun 22 - Aug 14

Session III: Jul 20 - Sep 11

Session IV: Aug 17 - Oct 9

Session V: Sep 14 - Nov 6

Application Deadlines:

Session I: Apr 24

Session II: May 22

Session III: Jun 19

Session IV: Jul 17

Session V: Aug 17

Program Fees:

Per week: $300

Total fees: $2,400 (8 weeks)

Objectives

This 8-week program offers participants a more in-depth survey of biological research and conservation in the tropics. Interns will learn by participating directly in scientific research and applied conservation projects that span our two focal areas: biological research and monitoring and sustainable tropical agriculture. With the guidance of our academic faculty, interns will also navigate tropical biology and conservation science through lectures and weekly reading discussions covering articles drawn from the primary scientific literature. All interns maintain a field journal, including daily entries that aim to synthesize their learning experiences and sharpen their observational skills.

Independent Research Project

 

As well as the activities listed above, participants in the Advanced Sustainability Internship Program will have the added opportunity to develop an Independent Research Project on a topic of their choosing, under the supervision of our academic faculty. Topics may also be assigned in an area of our faculty’s academic expertise, including wildlife biology and ecology, entomology, botany, natural history, sustainable agriculture, and community development. This optional project will provide participants with a more thorough insight into the process of scientific discovery and conservation in the tropics.

Read more about the Independent Research Project, including past intern projects and possible future internship research topics here.

 

3. Academic Quarter

Internship - 12 weeks

Details

Details

Length: 12 weeks

Dates (2020):

Session I: May 25 - Aug 14

Session II: Jun 22 - Sep 11

Session III: Jul 20 - Oct 9

Session IV: Aug 17 - Nov 6

Session V: Sep 14 - Dec 4

Application Deadlines:

Session I: May 3

Session II: May 31

Session III: Jun 28

Session IV: Jul 26

Session V: Aug 23

Program Fees:

Per week: $275

Total fees: $3,300 (12 weeks)

Objectives

This 12-week program offers participants the most thorough exploration of biological research and conservation in the tropics. Interns will learn by participating directly in scientific research and applied conservation projects that span our two focal areas: biological research and monitoring and sustainable tropical agriculture. With the guidance of our academic faculty, interns will also explore topics tropical biology and conservation science through lectures and weekly reading discussions covering articles drawn from the primary scientific literature. All interns maintain a field journal, including daily entries that aim to synthesize their learning experiences and sharpen their observational skills.

 

Independent Research Project

As well as the activities listed above, participants in the Academic Quarter Internship Program will have the added opportunity to develop a detailed Independent Research Project on a topic of their choosing, under the supervision of our academic faculty. Topics may also be assigned in an area of our faculty’s academic expertise, including wildlife biology and ecology, entomology, botany, natural history, sustainable agriculture, and community development. This optional project will provide participants with a more thorough insight into the process of scientific discovery and conservation in the tropics. The Academic Quarter Internship Program is ideal for those intending to complete an academic thesis, particularly at the undergraduate level (i.e., capstone).

Read more about the Independent Research Project, including past intern projects and possible future internship research topics here.

Questions?

Full Program Description

Frequently Asked Questions

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7224 Boscastle Ln - Hanover, MD 21076 - USA

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