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10 Environmental Science Summer Internships for High School Students

If you're a high school student who is interested in environmental science, conservation work, or environmental engineering, then a summer internship in these fields should definitely be on your radar. Internships will provide you with experience that not only enhances your understanding of environmental issues but also help you develop practical skills that are valuable for your future career. You learn about the day-to-day workings of environmental science careers, helping you determine if this path is right for you. 

These internships can also significantly boost your college application! Admissions committees look for students who have demonstrated a genuine interest and commitment to their chosen field. By participating in an internship, you can showcase your proactive approach to learning and dedication to environmental issues. The knowledge and skills gained during your internship can enrich your personal statement and essays, providing concrete examples of your passion and making you a more competitive applicant.

Here are 10 environmental science summer internships worth considering:

Location: All over the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The program places you in a fishery or aquatic center within a 45-minute commute from your home 

Stipend: $3,000

Program dates: 8 weeks over the summer

Application deadline: Mid-January

Eligibility: Rising high school juniors, seniors, and college freshmen

The Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program is an eight-week summer internship open to rising high school juniors, seniors, and college freshmen from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, and the Pacific Islands. The program covers a variety of activities such as fish population surveys, aquatic habitat establishment, electrofishing, snorkeling, and more

Each intern is matched with a mentor. You will have the opportunity to work in diverse environments, from laboratories and offices to boats and field sites. The program also includes a Scholar's Summit, which counts as one week of the internship and offers a platform for networking and presenting your work. Interns work 32-40 hours a week, with schedules tailored to meet the demands of the fieldwork and the availability of their mentors. 

Location:  Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Cost: $1990 (Financial Aid Available)

Program dates: Multiple cohorts throughout the year

Application deadline: Deadlines vary depending on the cohort 

Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates, and gap year students!

Ladder Internships is a selective start-up internship program for ambitious high school students! In the program, you work with a high-growth start-up on an internship. Start-ups that offer internships range across a variety of industries from tech/deep tech, AI/ML to health tech, marketing, journalism, consulting, and more.  You can explore all the options here on their application form. Ladder’s start-ups are high-growth companies on average raising over a million dollars. Past founders have included YCombinator alums, founders raising over 30 million dollars, or founders who previously worked at Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. In the program, interns work closely with their managers and a Ladder Coach on real-world projects and present their work to the company. Here is the application form

Interns are offered one-on-one training in communication, time management and other such valuable skills and will also have the opportunity to attend group training sessions with other interns in their cohort. The virtual internship is usually 8 weeks long.

Location: NASA centers across the country

Stipend: Awarded based on academic level and session duration

Program dates: Spring session (Mid January - Early May), Summer session (Late May - August), Fall session (Late August - Mid December)

Application Deadline: May 26 (Fall), August 30 (Spring), October 20 (Summer)


  • Be a U.S. citizen

  • Have a cumulative 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale)

  • Be a full-time student

  • Be a minimum of 16 years of age at the time of application 

The NASA OSTEM High School Internship Programs is a great opportunity for you if you are interested in Environmental Science. These paid internships are available at various NASA sites across the country. As an intern, you will work alongside leading experts in fields such as space science, engineering, aeronautics, technology, and environmental science

Specific projects may include initiatives like the Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI), where you can participate in studies such as Climate Change in the Hudson Estuary, SnowEx, and Monitoring Lakes from Space in a Changing Climate. These programs offer not only practical training but also mentorship and career development opportunities, enhancing your understanding of environmental science and bolstering your college applications. 

Location: University of Pennsylvania

Stipend: Not specified

Program dates: July 9  August 15

Application deadline: Mid-February

Eligibility: Open to all high school students

The Teen Research and Education in Environmental Science (TREES) program selects approximately eight motivated students to work one-on-one with mentors on self-designed research projects each summer. The program begins with two weeks of hands-on instruction in basic laboratory skills, which you will later apply to your independent research. You will engage in in-depth library research, scientific methodology training, and hands-on bench science, with opportunities for fieldwork where applicable

Throughout the program, you will have the chance to attend weekly seminars from Penn professors on topics like environmental health and toxicology and participate in field trips to sites of environmental interest. The TREES program also includes workshops on college admissions, career exploration, and writing and presentation skills. At the end of the program, you will present your research findings, enhancing your communication skills. Mentorship continues post-summer, with support for entering your work in science fairs and presenting at your school. Many TREES alumni have won awards and scholarships and published their work in peer-reviewed journals.

Location: Various sites across North Carolina

Stipend: None

Program dates: 3-5 weeks during June, July, and August

Application deadline: Rolling admissions

Eligibility: Ages 15-18

The Conservation Corps North Carolina (CCNC) Youth Conservation Crews engage local youth in various conservation projects across different sites in North Carolina. Depending on your location and interests, you can join one of several crews: the Raleigh Youth Day Crew focuses on trail maintenance and habitat restoration at Dorothea Dix Park, the Durham Youth Day Crew works with Urban Community AgroNomics to restore land, and the Old Fort Day Crew collaborates with the Forest Service in Pisgah National Forest to maintain and create trails. 

If you want a more immersive experience, the Uwharrie Youth Camping Crew camps and works in the Uwharrie National Forest, engaging in tasks such as sign and fence installation, painting, and habitat restoration. These crews offer a unique blend of daily work and, for the camping crew, living in the field under the guidance of experienced crew leaders. You will gain practical skills in trail work, forestry, and habitat restoration while participating in educational and mentorship activities. Working Monday to Friday, 40 hours a week, you will develop teamwork and leadership skills, making a tangible impact on local environments and communities.

Location: Rockaway, NY

Stipend: $1,200

Program dates: July 5 - August 15

Application deadline: May 1

Eligibility: 9th- to 11th-grade students who live or attend school in or near the Rockaway peninsula can apply

The Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity (RISE) Environmentor Internship pairs ninth- to eleventh-grade students living in or near the Rockaway peninsula with scientists from local universities and research institutions. During the internship, you will work on individual research projects focused on the Rockaway shoreline and Jamaica Bay. You can expect to dive into topics such as salt marsh restoration, sea turtle stranding, air quality monitoring, pinniped stranding, bottlenose dolphin biodiversity, and dolphin morphology.

In addition to the hands-on research, the internship provides a comprehensive educational experience that includes mentorship, community service, and practical skills training. You will participate in water safety and CPR training and recreational activities like kayaking, biking, and surfing. 

Location: The Morton Arboretum, IL

Stipend: Yes, amount not specified

Program dates: Not specified

Application Deadline: April 14

Eligibility: High school and undergraduate students aged 16+

The Morton Arboretum Research Technician Fellowship offers a hands-on opportunity to work alongside scientists on ongoing research projects, providing a real-world look into careers that address climate change, biodiversity, natural resources management, and urban life. As a participant, you will engage in several tasks including laboratory work, computer-based research, and outdoor field activities, all designed to immerse you in the scientific process and expand your understanding of environmental research.

One key project you could work on is the New Plant Development Program, which focuses on translational genomics to improve crop species. This involves gene editing to enhance desirable traits in plants like Acer spp., Fraxinus spp., Ulmus spp., and Magnolia spp. Your role would include participating in a mutation breeding project using clonal germplasm from living collections, which is intensive in tissue culture. You will gain experience in in vitro plant propagation (micropropagation), developing tissue culture media compositions, and conducting regeneration experiments. Prior knowledge of plant biology is helpful, but not mandatory.

Location: Downtown Seattle

Stipend: $18.43 an hour

Program dates: July 17 - August 18

Application Deadline: May 15

Eligibility: High school students who are at least 16

The Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area and the King County Wastewater Treatment Division offer the Clean Waters Ambassadors Internship to immerse you in local environmental issues and solutions, focusing on clean water. As part of a cohort of high school interns, you will engage in multiple activities, including field trips and workshops that address environmental and social justice issues. 

Throughout the internship, you will work on projects related to water quality, wastewater and stormwater management, communications, community involvement, education, engineering, and ecological restoration, and develop valuable skills in communication through interviewing professionals, public speaking, and professional writing. This blend of office and fieldwork will give you a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and solutions in clean water management. Additionally, you will create a plan to educate your community about clean water, enhancing your knowledge and ability to effect change locally.

Location: Currently offered in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho

Stipend: Up to $2,500

Program dates: June - August

Application deadline: Rolling admissions

Eligibility: Students aged 15 - 18

The Northwest Youth is a non-residential day program that runs for five weeks, during which you will work on various conservation projects in your community. Each day, you and your fellow crew members, guided by experienced field staff, will work an average of 6.5 to 7 hours on projects such as tree planting, fuel reduction, invasive plant removal, trail construction, and fencing. Additionally, you will spend an hour each day on educational lessons, earning a stipend of up to $2,500 and potentially high school credit. 

The program's Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) crews focus on urban forest health projects in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, providing training in tree planting, maintenance, wildfire protection, and invasive plant management. The Sound to Summit crews spend four weeks on local community projects and the final week at a nearby National Park, offering a mix of hands-on conservation work and outdoor recreation.

Location: Local marine sanctuaries

Stipend: No information about stipend availability

Program dates: Summer dates unspecified

Application deadline: January 

Eligibility: Students ages 12-18

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean Guardian Youth Ambassadors Program allows participants to engage deeply with ocean conservation and stewardship through a variety of projects and educational activities. As a Youth Ambassador, you will attend monthly webinars and learn about the National Marine Sanctuary System, threats to the ocean, and NOAA programs and careers. You will also lead a community or school project focused on ocean conservation, such as organizing a beach cleanup, conducting an ocean literacy presentation, or initiating a campaign to reduce single-use plastics.

Ambassadors will receive guidance and support from NOAA scientists and experts, enhancing their ability to lead effective conservation efforts. By completing projects and engaging with a nationwide network of peers, you will not only contribute to protecting our ocean but also prepare for future opportunities in the conservation field. 

One other option - Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you’re interested in doing a research project in various STEM subject areas, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Jessica attends Harvard University where she studies Neuroscience and Computer Science as a Coca-Cola, Elks, and Albert Shankar Scholar. She is passionate about educational equity and hopes to one day combine this with her academic interests via social entrepreneurship. Outside of academics, she enjoys taking walks, listening to music, and running her jewelry business! 


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