Join the team at the Conservation Ecology Centre on a Conservation & Research Internship.
Our volunteer Interns bring skills, expertise and enthusiasm and make a great contribution to our conservation programs, assisting with on ground action, community engagement, research, wildlife husbandry and organisational development.
The positions provide an outstanding opportunity for gaining experience in wildlife handling, research project design, data collection and analysis, community engagement, habitat conservation and non-profit management.
Potential interns will hold a degree in ecology, biology, wildlife conservation, zoology, conservation biology or similar subjects at tertiary level.
Volunteer internship placements are for three months and two positions are available at a time. Applications for the next round of internships will be advertised via our Facebook page.
Or if you have a specialist skill you think we could use send us a message on the volunteer page.
Meet our past interns…
Growing up on the Central Coast of NSW Emma developed a strong interest in the bush and its conservation, in particular Blue Mountains National park which she would frequently hike through with her grandfather. In 2019, she completed a degree in Wildlife and Conservation Biology (honours) with Deakin University, completing an honours project studying the impact that fire ecology has on Frogs, in particular the Southern toadlet Pseudophryne semimarmorata in the Otways National Park. As frogs are under-researched in the Otways she needed to determine possible site locations using GIS mapping, and then detection/ occupancy was determined using frog playback accompanied with song box surveying.
Throughout her degree, and after, Emma has gained further skills and knowledge in threatened species management and science surveying through volunteering with the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeaters in Yellingbo National Park, the Tasmanian Devil Program on Maria Island, Caramonal Refugia a Sea Turtle refuge in Costa Rica and by assisting numerous PHD and Honours students throughout Victoria and NSW. She has also gained Land management experience through her work with Flora Victoria working in restoring Victoria’s grasslands throughout the Vic Volcanic Plains, and Toolijooa Environmental restoration assisting in bushland revegetation and regeneration in National parks and Mining offsets throughout the Hunter region (NSW).
Emma is excited to learn with the experienced team at the Conservation Ecology Centre and aims to learn more skills in threatened and feral species management, fire ecology and land management in the Otways as well as improving her fauna and flora identification skills.
Claire recently completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) with a major in Ecology and Conservation Biology at Monash University. For her honours, Claire assessed the efficacy of drones to monitor populations of tree-nesting seabirds compared to traditional ground-based methods. Her fieldwork was based on a remote and uninhabited tropical island of the Cocos (Keeling) Island group in the Indian Ocean.
Growing up in Melbourne, Claire has enjoyed volunteering at Healesville Sanctuary and spending time with animals. During her undergraduate, she completed a research project testing a variety of infrared cameras against spotlighting methods to detect small endotherms, including the Critically Endangered Plains Wanderer in northern Victoria. She has also worked with Superb Fairywrens at Lysterfield Park (VIC), Australian skink species at Kosciusko National Park (NSW), Eastern Reef Egrets on Heron Island (Great Barrier Reef), and understorey rainforest plants in Borneo, Malaysia. Claire previously completed an internship with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) preparing draft conservation assessments for 200 Proteaceae plants for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
While interning at the CEC, Claire would like to learn more about invasive animal control, gain more experience in mammal research and trapping, and develop her plant and animal identification skills.
Deirdre Ng Sing Kwong
Deirdre’s passion for wildlife and conservation led her to undertake a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne and a Master of Conservation Science at the University of Queensland.
Her research project focused on the impacts of marine reserves on the efficacy of fisheries in the Caribbean. She has also volunteered with the Roots & Shoots program of the Jane Goodall Institute Australia, and has participated in community engagement events and marine turtle
conservation campaigns for primary schools.
During her time at CEC, Deirdre has greatly enjoyed the amount of practical, hands-on skills she has gained from fieldwork. Furthermore, she appreciated that she was able to contribute to a wide breadth of projects ranging from feral pest management to native wildlife response to fire. Finally, she adored living in the beautiful Otways and loved the close proximity to rainforests, beaches, and chance encounters with wildlife. Deirdre hopes to utilise the knowledge and experience she gained from CEC towards wildlife management and ecological conservation research.
Jack developed his interest in Australian wildlife and the bush from his father who is an avid birdwatcher. This led to him undertaking study at the University of Melbourne, completing a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Ecology back in 2018, his project investigated the prevalence of Toxoplasmosis in feral cats across Australia. Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease in felines, that can also affects other warm blooded animals and that can be lethal in Australian wildlife. Throughout his honours year and into 2019 he took on as many ecology volunteering roles as possible, allowing him to travel across Australia and explore different areas in ecologic fieldwork. This ranged from kangaroo and small macropod behaviour on Maria Island (TAS), Crest-Tailed Mulgra trapping survey near Strzelecki (SA), reptile trapping survey in the Mallee (NSW), and Koala surveying on French Island (VIC). During this time Jack picked up a camera and created a love for photography which he uses to showcase the beauty of the Australian bush @regentphotographyaus .
During his internship at the CEC, Jack hopes to gain experience in land management practices, invasive species control, animal husbandry, as well as learning about current fire management practises in the Otways, and science communication & engagement to the public. Jack plans to use this opportunity as a spring board to move into further conservation and ecology roles.
Yoni is a passionate member of the conservation community. She has completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours) at Deakin University in 2019. For her Honours project, she explored the breeding biology of two seabird species in northern Bass Strait. This included collecting, organising and analysing weight and morphometric data for Fairy prion (Pachyptila turtur) and Common diving petrel (Pelecanoides urinatrix) chicks. She found that throughout the three years of breeding, survival rates among common diving petrel chicks were declining due to poor food availability. Understanding that the health of our oceans, native grasslands and forests is essential for the survival of threatened species, Yoni sought to educate schools, community members and international tourists about the importance of looking after these complex ecosystems.
In order to gain knowledge and skills in science communication, Yoni has volunteered with CSIRO, Parks Victoria and Zoos Victoria and various animal rescue shelters around Victoria. She has developed field and research skills from volunteering with Australian Wildlife Conservancy, and from working as a Field Ecologist for Deakin University. Yoni is keen to learn with the experienced team at the Conservation Ecology Centre. She aims to develop more skills in threatened species management, fire ecology and understanding the interactions of flora and fauna species in the Otway region.
Sam is interning at the Conservation Ecology Centre to gain practical applied conservation research experience. She is keen to pursue a career in threatened species management, particularly within programs that utilise scientific research, traditional knowledge and community engagement. She has a background in science communication as the Social Media Coordinator at Remember The Wild, a nature connection charity.
Sam recently completed a Master of Science (Ecology and Evolution) at the University of Melbourne, researching the potential interactions between reef building coral microbes. She gained a range of volunteer experience throughout her studies, including interning at the Dolphin Research Institute and deploying camera traps, monitoring smoky mice in the Victorian Alps with Museums Victoria. Sam is enjoying the diversity of projects she has worked on so far, from koala population monitoring to animal husbandry and is looking forward to learning more about the unique ecosystems of the Otways.
Tamika is a passionate graduate who is interested in ecosystem dynamics and interactions. After graduating from Monash University with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Zoology, Tamika went on to complete her Honours, which focussed on how nutrition mediates thermal stress response in Drosophila. During her degree and in the time following, she has added to her field and research related skills through various volunteer and paid opportunities both within Australia and internationally.
Since completing her studies she has completed a season as a Project Fire Fighter with Forest Fire Management Victoria, building her practical field skills and land management knowledge. Working around fire has sparked an interest in fire related research and post fire habitats, something she hopes to nurture with the Conservation Ecology Centre and build on in her future.
Annabel graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Science (Advanced) (Hons – 1st Class) majoring in Biology in 2017. Her honours project investigated the impact of invasive black rats (Rattus rattus) on an endangered rainforest island community near Wollongong, NSW. After completing university, she worked as a research assistant in the Behavioural Ecology and Conservation Research Group at the University of Sydney studying chemical camouflage as a way to protect vulnerable prey from alien predators. Additionally, during her studies she completed a summer research scholarship at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment studying microbiology in koalas. She has also volunteered for a number of environmental organisations including as a fieldwork volunteer collecting data on endangered lizards in the Blue Mountains, as a local bush care volunteer and as a guest experiences volunteer at Taronga Zoo, Sydney.
Although a native Sydney-sider, Annabel is keen to learn more about ecological issues impacting Victorian communities, and in particular the beautiful Otway Ranges. She hopes to enhance her fieldwork skills with some flora and fauna identification and radio-tracking skills, as well as learning more analytical skills in R and GIS.
Maggie recently graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Biological Science (Hons) majoring in Ecology. Her honours project focused the recovery of arboreal or ‘tree dwelling’ mammal populations a decade after the 2009 Black Saturday fires, with a specific focus on the role fire severity plays in this recovery. Maggie gained experience from a range of volunteer opportunities throughout her undergraduate degree, including public engagement at Melbourne Zoo and as a volunteer field assistant for Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater.
Maggie is looking forward to gaining more experience with the team at the Conservation Ecology Centre. She is excited to further develop skills in landscape management, science communication and see more of the beautiful Cape Otway and its inhabitants.
Nina graduated from Deakin University with a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons) majoring in Conservation Biology in November 2018. Her honours project examined the habitat use and ranging behaviour of koala populations in blue gum plantations in far southwest Victoria. While undertaking her undergraduate degree Nina was able to volunteer on a number of projects to enhance her fieldwork and research skills. She spent 4 weeks on a game reserve in South Africa where she assisted with conservation programs and community outreach. She was also a regular volunteer at Moonlit Sanctuary in Victoria, where she gained experience in native animal husbandry and threatened species management. She currently works in the Visitor Services department with Zoos Victoria, where her role allows her to engage with the community on conservation issues.
Nina is excited to join the Conservation Ecology Centre team and assist them with the varied conservation projects currently being undertaken in Cape Otway. She hopes to enhance her fieldwork and analytical skills during her internship, while gaining knowledge of the beautiful wildlife and habitats in the region.
Chantelle is an aspiring conservationist with a passion for Australian wildlife and ecology. Growing up in Sydney, she was always looking for ways to connect with nature and the world around her. This fascination led her to complete a Bachelor of Arts with Bachelor of Science majoring in Biological Sciences at Macquarie University. After a period of travelling around the world, Chantelle returned to Macquarie University to complete a Master of Conservation Biology, graduating in mid-2018.
Whilst studying, she was able to undertake various volunteer and field work opportunities that helped her gain more experience. She spent a period volunteering in Western Australia, for the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, where she was involved in gathering data on nesting turtle populations on the Ningaloo Coast.
Chantelle has recently returned to Australia, having completed an internship in South Africa on a Big-5 game reserve. She is excited to join the Conservation Ecology Centre and hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the conservation issues faced in the Otways region.
Aviya has a passion for ecology and is interested in landscape scale processes. She hopes to use her passion for the environment to engage communities to work towards common conservation goals.
Aviya recently graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) having completed her undergraduate degree at Monash University majoring in Ecology and Conservation Biology. She undertook her honours in the alpine and subalpine regions of Victoria investigating changes in the spatial and temporal dynamics of alpine and subalpine treelines in response to recent warming and bushfire occurrence. Throughout her undergraduate degree Aviya volunteered as a research assistant on a number of projects across south east Australia building field skills and gaining experience in fauna and flora surveying.
Through the CEC internship Aviya hopes to gain further research and analytical skills, and experience in science communication and land management.
Ellie recently graduated from the University of Queensland, with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) majoring in Ecology and Zoology. Her honours project involved working with the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus) on Groote Eylandt, located in the Gulf of Carpentaria. This unique island is one of the few safe havens for these endangered animals, mainly due to the lack of cane toads and continuation of traditional fire regimes. Here, she studied the interplay between performance, morphology and habitat by looking at how different aspects of performance (i.e. agility, jumping, sprinting, accelerating, climbing and grasping) varied intraspecifically between two habitat types; rocky outcrops and open sclerophyll forest. Her findings suggested that some aspects of female performance were optimised in particular habitats (e.g. sprint speed was greater in open habitat), but that morphology was not the cause of variation. This is the first mammalian study to look at performance, morphology and habitat in concert, and was a great introduction into the field of research science.
Ellie’s passion for animals and the environment has also taken her to South Africa, where she volunteered as a research assistant translocating white lions from a hunting facility to a safe farm. Working so closely with such an amazing animal was an unforgettable experience, and she hopes to have many more moments like that throughout her life.
During her internship at the Cape Otway Ecology Centre, Ellie hopes to gain more experience in ecological surveying, fire and land management and active conservation methods. She strongly believes that wildlife conservation is of the utmost importance in the face of feral predators, climate change and population growth, and is excited to work alongside ecologists at the CEC that are so passionate and driven.
Hannah recently graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Hons) majoring in Ecology.
In her Honours project she compared the diets of the endangered northern quoll in the two main habitat types on Groote Eylandt – a cane toad free island in the Northern Territory which is a stronghold for this endangered species. She found that the quolls in the woodlands ate a wider variety of foods than those in the rocky habitat including more vegetation, which could have implications for the management of this species on the mainland.
She has also volunteered as a research assistant on Christmas Island, to monitor the effect of invasive black rats on the nesting success of endemic island birds; helped deploy camera traps to monitor feral dog populations on Queensland Trust for Nature properties; and trapped northern bettongs in North Queensland with WWF and James Cook University.
Originally from Scotland, Hannah comes to the CEC after spending time in both Cairns and Brisbane. Throughout her internship with the Conservation Ecology Centre, Hannah hopes to further her skills in land management, field work and science communication. She is passionate about being involved in wildlife conservation and the Otways region is the perfect place to do this, with a combination of amazing wildlife and complex conservation challenges.
Andrea completed her Bachelors of Science (Natural Resources) and Bachelors of Soil Science (Honours) degrees at the University of Adelaide in 2017 and 2018. Andrea has a real passion for the environment and a love for learning which has driven her involvement in conservation research, habitat restoration work and species management. Prior to taking up her role as an intern at the Conservation Ecology Centre, Andrea assisted with animal and vegetation surveys as a volunteer with the Scientific Exploration Group (SEG), BioR and the University of Adelaide. She is an active volunteer at Cleland Wildlife Park, assisting with the care of resident koalas and works casually as a research assistant in the School of Biology at the University of Adelaide. Andrea aspires to use her time at the Conservation Ecology Centre to enhance her science communication, animal handling and research skills in the hopes of making a positive impact/contribution in the fields of native species management and community education as she pursues a career in conservation.
Ben is from Kalbarri, a small town in the mid-west of WA situated on the bank of the Murchison River, which is surrounded by national park. Growing up there he developed a deep passion for the outdoors and the natural environments. He followed his passion and studied Environmental Science and Botany at UWA and completed honours in Fire Ecology. After spending time away from ecology and environmental work he met his partner while snowboarding in Canada and moved to Victoria where he is endeavouring to develop a career in ecology and environmental management. Ben has been enchanted by the cool wet forests of the Otways as it is such a contrast to the semi-arid scrub he grew up in, he jumped on the opportunity do work with the Conservation Ecology Centre. Ben is ecstatic about deepening his knowledge about the challenges and developing his skills needed for conservation and management of the Otways.
Zahlia is an aspiring ecologist, with an interest in the impact of natural and anthropogenic disturbances, namely fire and land use changes, to Australian biodiversity. She has volunteered with a number of conservation and research projects across Australia, and studied the effects of fire on mammal communities of south-west Victoria for her Honours year. Growing up near the Otways, Zahlia is looking forward to learning more about the local flora and fauna, as well as the current conservation issues of this region.
Erin grew up in Tasmania and has always been passionate about wildlife and nature conservation. She completed a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Zoology at the University of Tasmania and went on to do a Masters of Environmental Management. Erin’s main research interests are within biodiversity conservation, anthropogenic disturbances and environmental management. Through many years volunteering with different research projects Erin has gained a wide range of field skills particularly within ecological flora and fauna monitoring. She has also spent many years working directly with some of Tasmania’s most unique species, such as the Tasmanian Devil and eastern quoll, as part of important breeding programmes. Her internship with the Conservation Ecology Centre will not only provide Erin with the amazing opportunity to live in such a beautiful part of the world, but it will also enhance her field and research skills and increase her knowledge of the conservation challenges in the Otways.
Hannah grew up in Perth and has always been interested in nature and the environment. She studied Conservation Biology and Zoology at the University of Western Australia and completed Honours in 2015. The Honours project explored the function of the Southern Brown Bandicoot as an ecosystem engineer on the Swan Coastal Plain. Bandicoots are important agents of soil turnover/biopedturbation. Hannah found the effect of their diggings differed slightly in different habitat types, and that their diggings could potentially play an important role in post-fire environments. Since finishing university, Hannah has been working at Perth Zoo in the native species breeding program, breeding threatened native species for release back into wild habitats. She also takes part in conservation volunteer projects whenever possible, most regularly assisting in fauna monitoring and revegetation projects on Rottnest Island. Hannah says the Otways seem like such an incredible environment to be able to work in and during the internship she’s looking forward to building on her knowledge of wildlife monitoring and research, and developing her skills with a whole new range of species.
Growing up near the Mornington Peninsula, Lauren spent a lot of time outdoors and this is where her love for nature began. She completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science with honours at Deakin University. Her honours project focused on the ecosystem engineering potential of the Victorian subspecies of Eastern Barred Bandicoots, a species that is extinct in the wild. Completing this project has sparked Lauren’s interest in the role digging mammals play in restoring ecosystem function, an area she hopes to assist with further research. Lauren has volunteered on many research/conservation projects, both locally and internationally, which have helped her develop skills in various wildlife monitoring techniques. The Conservation Ecology Centre provides Lauren with the opportunity to further enhance these skills and gain a range of new ones.
Giselle first connected with the Conservation Ecology Centre as a park ranger in the Eastern Otways. Giselle studied Wildife & Conservation Biology (B.Sc) at La Trobe University and has worked in National Parks across Victoria since 2012. Passion for the environment and its conservation drives Giselle and motivated her to pursue a career as an ecologist. She has garnered an array of ecological field skills both as a ranger and as a research assistant/volunteer on various projects including: a bird-study in the Brazilian Amazon assessing the abundance of bird species on the edge of deforestation, the Mountain Pygmy Possum recovery project in the Victorian Alps, seagrass monitoring and marine invasive species surveys in Corner Inlet, and mist-netting migratory birds in Alaska. Following her internship with CEC, Giselle intends to complete a Masters of Environment (University of Melbourne) and work on ecological projects in Australia focussing on habitat protection, threatened species recovery and feral animal management.
Sarah completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Zoology at the University of Western Australia in 2016. She has spent the past year volunteering with a variety of conservation organisations around Australia, before joining the Conservation Ecology Centre as an intern. Having grown up in Western Australia, the cool temperate rainforest of Cape Otway presents a beautiful change of scenery, a variety of new species, and a definite drop in temperature. For Sarah, joining the Conservation Ecology Centre is an exciting opportunity to develop new skills, work in a stunning landscape, and gain an understanding of the conservation issues facing the Otways. Sarah has a keen interest in conservation genetics, and hopes to pursue a career in research following her time at the Conservation Ecology Centre.
Growing up on a property in the Flinders Ranges, Sam has developed a great respect for the Australian landscape and its unique flora and fauna. Since completing a Bachelor of Science with the University of Adelaide, Sam has travelled the county, working alongside conservation groups such as Arid Recovery and Australian Wildlife Conservancy, assisting in research projects with the University of Adelaide UNSW, and promoting the natural world as a tour guide. These opportunities have provided Sam with a wide range of field skills, including radio-tracking, trapping, fitting radio collars, remote camera monitoring, vegetation surveying and a keen eye for species identification. Sam has a passion for threatened species recovery, reintroduction ecology, animal behaviour, and scientific communication.
Shelley grew up in Mildura, in the Mallee region and gained her love of Australian flora and fauna from her time spent wandering about the bush. She studied a Bachelor of Science in Animal Behaviour at Flinders University. In 2016, she conducted her honours project on the Gidgee Skink, exploring the role of chemical social signalling in habitat selection and how family members can recognise each other thought their scats. In 2017 Shelley worked for a landcare consultant where she conducted fox baiting programs and rabbit impact assessments to help restore regenerating habitat areas. Shelley is currently working as an intern with the Conservation Ecology Centre. She is assisting with our annual koala surveys, and the collection of camera traps for fox baiting impact assessments, associated with the Otway Ark project. Shelley is eager to pursue her career in ecological research and conservation following her time with CEC.
Asitha is an Environmental Science graduate of the University of Melbourne. He has worked as a consultant and ranger prior to joining the Conservation Ecology Centre. Asitha is also the State Coordinator for Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Program in Victoria. In this role he visits schools, giving presentations on conservation campaigns, empowering youth to create positive change for our environment and attending forums and seminars. He loves the variety of work at the CEC, and how each day is different. In his spare time he likes to spend time outdoors and play sport. Originally from Sri Lanka, one of Asitha’s long term goals is to find solutions to human-elephant conflict in his motherland.
Emma completed a Bachelor of Conservation Biology and Ecology, from La Trobe University. She then went on to complete her honours project on the abiotic effects of jumping in Jack Jumper ants. Since completing her studies, Emma has continued to broaden her skill set and knowledge through volunteering on a wide variety of projects both in Australia and overseas. Her past few years were spent living in Europe, and whilst the travel and change served her well, the lure of an internship at the Conservation Ecology Centre was more than enough to bring her back to Australia and her beloved Otways. Emma now feels her challenges and future lie at home where she would like to continue working in research and conservation within Australia, and more specifically, the Otway region.
Madeline has completed a Master of Science with a major in Botany in 2014 at the University of Melbourne, following a Bachelor of Science majoring in Ecology and Environmental Biology in 2012. Enamoured post-studies and from volunteering, Madeline worked as a research assistant and ecologist undertaking mammal population viability analyses, surveying from the Alpine high plains to temperate rainforest and arid scrub, in SE Australia marine research, blue carbon management and planning Green-infrastructure to combat sea level rise. During her CEC internship, she supported the Otways Conservation Dog deployments, built bird-song recognisers, analysed floristic community-dynamics and undertook rare orchid sampling, post-fire vegetation surveys, animal husbandry, and weed management. Continuing her conservation and ecological research Madeline hopes to travel the world and work towards a more sustainable future.
After completing a Bachelor of Arts in 2009, Jarrad spent five months on a conservation project in the Peruvian Amazon, giving him hands-on experience with handling and rehabilitating rainforest wildlife. This encouraged him to pursue a degree in Biodiversity and Conservation from Macquarie University, during which time he worked as a reptile husbandry volunteer, research assistant on a floodplain ecology project, and ran an undergraduate project assessing the recolonisation of the university campus by small forest birds. Since completing this degree in 2015 Jarrad has worked as an ecologist in western NSW, and radio tracking bandicoots for a reintroduction project in Jervis Bay. Following his CEC internship Jarrad hopes to become involved with mammal management and reintroduction programs both in Australia and around the world.