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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

Applications for the 2018 summer are closed.  Check back later this year for the 2019 application!

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: Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center

Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center is a 312-acre Harris County Precinct 4 nature preserve dedicated to environmental and natural history, education, wildlife conservation and passive recreation. Over 8 miles of trails provide visitors with a glimpse of riparian forests, cypress ponds, remnant coastal prairies, access to Spring Creek, and even a look at early 1800s pioneer life.  Jones Park staff and volunteers work together to offer weekly programs, an annual summer nature camp, and five major festivals each year.  These events work to educate and introduce visitors to both nature and history related to the region.  For more information on programs, park hours, and other information please visit www.hcp4.net/jones.

2017 interns removing Chinese Tallow

2015 interns with all the invasive species they removed

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 York

Alyssa York 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 very much enjoyed visiting Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Native Wildlife Refuge, to learn about the struggle of our local prairie chickens, and Big Thicket, taking part in a variety of hands-on projects.

What behavior change, if any, have you noticed in yourself since participating in CCP?
This program has heavy focus on how people can impact the environment in their everyday lives. Because of this, naturally, I felt encouraged to make more eco-friendly choices and to educate others on the positive changes they can make in their own lives. I also feel that I have grown in my communication skills over the years and that CCP had a hand in starting this growth. 

How did your time with CCP shape your future/career opportunities?
Before CCP, I was not entirely interested in the field of conservation, but this experience reoriented my focus. I truly enjoyed the content, conversations, and connections I experienced in the program and have sought to stay involved with the field. The Houston Zoo as an organization also had an impact on me because of their impressive work in conservation and their welcoming environment. It is somewhere I feel at home and hope to be a part of in the future.

Describe the Collegiate Conservation Program internship.
The Collegiate Conservation Program is an interactive Houston Zoo internship focused on educating college students about the field of conservation. Participants will cover a wide variety of subjects, including the components of a conservation project and current work happening around the world. They will also take part in local conservation projects to further their understanding of the amount of effort necessary for conservation success. At the end of the program, the internship group will be able to use what they’ve learned and design a conservation project of their own focused on a local environmental opportunity.

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