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Collegiate Conservation Program

What is the Collegiate Conservation Program (CCP)?

The Houston Zoo Collegiate Conservation Program is a 10-week internship sponsored by ExxonMobil.  The Houston Zoo is committed to cultivating the next generation of conservation heroes.  Each summer 10 interns are selected to train, learn, and work at the Houston Zoo and at regional conservation partners.  For more information, take a look at the internship description below.

2017 CCP Internship Description

Applications are currently closed for 2017.  If you have any questions, please contact ccp@houstonzoo.org.


Regional Conservation Partners

Each year CCP partners with over 20 regional conservation organizations to create a well rounded internship.  These organizations are located all over the city and provide interns with a variety of conservation experience through hands on projects and discussions with staff.


Conservation Partner Spotlight: Armand Bayou Nature Center

Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC) was founded in 1974 as a result of efforts begun by an environmental visionary, Armand Yramategui. Armand foresaw the urban growth around Armand Bayou and strove to have this land remain a wilderness. Armand helped inspire a local, regional and national coalition of people and organizations to acquire the 2500 acres of land now preserved as ABNC. ABNC is a non-profit organization that was established with the mission preservation and environmental education.  ABNC is one of the largest urban wildlife refuge in the United States. The Center’s stewardship programs ensure that future generations have the opportunity to experience a wilderness close to home. ABNC’s educational programs promote the value of preservation and conservation of natural resources. These programs also encourage everyone to incorporate ecological concepts into their daily lives.

2014 interns learning about the different habitats and wildlife at Armand Bayou Nature Center.

2015 interns helping to replant native grasses.

Each month we will be spotlighting a different conservation partner that we have worked with in the past.  Interested in working with us this summer?  Contact us at ccp@houstonzoo.org.


What is a typical week like?

Each week of the internship focuses on steps an organization would take in creating a new conservation program.  Take a look at a sample of a week from the 2016 internship.

Feedback from CCP Alumni


“The CCP summer was genuinely a life changer for me. I learned so much about how zoos run on every level – from the directors to the graphic arts departments – about the rewards, challenges, and passion that go into working for a non-profit, about finding my place in a team of people in order to create a successful proposal, and I learned a lot about myself.” – Becca, 2013 Intern

“Being involved with CCP gave me a good base of experience in numerous job fields.  Because of the wide range of projects that we were involved in, such as conservation education, land management, and experience interacting with guests on zoo grounds, I feel that I have many possible avenues to pursue later in life that I already have experience in.” – Haley, 2015 Intern 

“CCP is a fantastic stepping stone for students interested in entering the field of conservation. It showed me all the possibilities the field has to offer and introduced me to a variety of new topics and conservation organizations that have ultimately shaped my interests and career path. Aside from being an excellent resume builder, it taught me how to work as part of team and be creative in my approach to environmental topics.” – Sam, 2013 Intern


Alumni Spotlight:  Sam Maher

Sam Maher was a CCP intern during the summer of 2013.  Take a look at her experience in the program and what she is up to now.

What were some of the projects you enjoyed participating in during your CCP summer?
I really liked the prairie chicken project and the time we spent in Big Thicket.

What are you currently doing to save/protect wildlife?
I am getting a Master of Environmental Science degree from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and working on a project having to do with caribou-wolf conservation in the Alberta Tar Sands. 

How did your time with CCP shape your future/career opportunities?
CCP helped me decide that conservation is 100% the field I want to work in.

Finally, describe the Collegiate Conservation Program internship in 100 words or less.
CCP is a fantastic stepping stone for students interested in entering the field of conservation. It showed me all the possibilities the field has to offer and introduced me to a variety of new topics and conservation organizations that have ultimately shaped my interests and career path. Aside from being an excellent resume builder, it taught me how to work as part of team and be creative in my approach to environmental topics.

Are you a CCP alumni that would like to share your experience? Contact us at ccp@houstonzoo.org.