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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 regional conservation partners.  For more information, take a look at the internship description below.

2018 CCP Internship Description

In 2018, the internship will run from May 14 to July 20.  Applications are now open for 2018!  Apply by Thursday, March 15, 2018.  

Take a look at some of the impacts from the 2017 CCP summer!
2017 CCP Intern Impact Statements

Still unsure what this program is all about?  Head to our blog to hear about one of our 2017 interns experiences!

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: Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve and Learning Center

The Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve and Learning Center is a 162 acre preserve owned and operated by the City of Corpus Christi. The Preserve exists to increase community appreciation for the preservation of coastal resources through education and access. We offer a variety of programs from educational field trips and pre-school classes, to yoga and fitness groups that introduce citizens in finding different ways to enjoy the outdoors. The Oso Preserve also has several land management objectives including a prairie restoration, a native sensory trail and removal of invasive species. Being located next to the developing south side of Corpus Christi, the Preserve hopes to help homeowners implement positive choices in their landscaping that can benefit local wildlife.

2017 interns at the end of their work day with Oso Bay.

2016 interns learning from an Oso Bay staff member.

Each month we will be spotlighting a different conservation partner that we have worked with in the past.  Interested in working with us next 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:  Alyssa Madrid

Alyssa Madrid was a CCP intern during the summer of 2015.  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?
The projects I enjoyed participating in was the Katie Prairie, Texas Parks and Wildlife and Nature Discovery Center. 

What behavior change, if any, have you noticed in yourself since participating in CCP?
Since participating in CCP I have had an increase in the amount of passion I have for conservation and wildlife. I never thought of a career in conservation but now it is something I am actively pursuing. CCP gave me the confidence to talk to people in this field and reach out with questions. From presenting to having a conversation over lunch or Q&A sessions, I can honestly say I feel extremely comfortable talking to new people and exchanging ideas. I cant thank my leaders and the CCP program as a whole enough for helping me achieve this. 

How did your time with CCP shape your future/career opportunities?
After CCP I began looking for opportunities in conservation and it really has changed what available career paths there are in this field. I loved being able to talk to other people around the zoo and get to hear all the different jobs that are available. I used to believe that the only thing you can do to work with animals and the environment is to be a zoo keeper. After CCP I knew this was not the case and was so excited to explore my opportunities. I am currently working as a Wilderness Explorer which is apart of the Educational Presenter team at Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom. With the Wilderness Explorers guests can engage in collecting sticker badges around the park while learning conservation and environmental messages. 

Describe the Collegiate Conservation Program internship.
CCP was honestly the best summer of my college career. It has taught me multiple things conservation wise but it has shaped the way I view conservation. I believe that without this program I would not be pursuing a career in conservation or have the confidence to step into a work place and be prepared for the tasks at hand. If I could be apart of this program again I would jump at the opportunity in a heart beat.

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