Join Our Dynamic, Inclusive Workplace
Located in Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary in Ithaca, New York, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a renowned nonprofit institution dedicated to advancing the understanding and protection of birds, wildlife, and our shared planet through research, education, citizen science, and conservation.
As a nonprofit science and conservation organization and a vibrant unit of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, we offer the resources of a world-class university and the impact of an innovative nonprofit organization supported by more than 100,000 members and donors.
The Lab has 200 staff and 8 interdisciplinary centers. Scientists and artists, engineers and conservationists, educators and app developers, multimedia producers and students, support staff and volunteers, all work together here, along with local and online communities and partners around the world.
We are committed to diversity and inclusion in our workplace as we join with people from all backgrounds and walks of life to share a love for nature and a commitment to protecting our planet.
Come work with us! To view and apply for Cornell Lab staff openings, visit the Cornell Career page and search for “ornithology.” Here’s a direct link to current ornithology listings:
For other jobs in ornithology (outside Cornell), see listings from the Ornithology Exchange.
Each year, dozens of students gain hands-on experience at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Come join a research project, assist with education and outreach, or apply your talents in a way that you envision. You can apply for one of the paid or volunteer positions below. Or learn about our mission and programs, then identify relevant faculty or mentors, or staff listed in our directory. Inquire about volunteering or earning credit for a project that matches your interests. (Note: high school students must be at least 16 years of age to volunteer.)
Kristen Rupert and John Foote Undergraduate Research Fund
Recipients of Rupert/Foote funding engage in paid semester or summer opportunities in collaboration with a Cornell Lab of Ornithology faculty or staff member. This fund is specifically designed to promote cross-disciplinary study at the University, particularly by Cornell students whose interests and majors fall outside the traditional realms of ornithological research. Examples might include a mechanical engineering major who helps design a bird recording device, an English major who writes articles for our website, a computer science major who creates an algorithm for our bird ID app, or an art major who draws images for our outreach publications. Nominations for this program are initiated by a Lab faculty or staff member. Students interested in this program should discuss it with their Lab-based mentor or supervisor, then contact David Bonter. Nominations are considered on a rolling basis throughout the year.
Francis M. Peacock Scholarship
The Francis M. Peacock Scholarship for Native Bird Habitat provides financial aid to students studying areas in the United States that provide winter or summer habitat for our threatened or endangered native birds. Typically, the Scholarship awards $4,500 annually to one scholar. In special instances, because of two unusually qualified candidates or two candidates working on one project, the award may be divided between two candidates. College seniors or graduate students enrolled in a US-based institution are eligible to apply. The award is given by the Garden Club of America and is administered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Applications must be submitted by January 15 preceding the proposed period of study. For more information, see the proposal guidelines.
Other Funding Opportunities for Cornell Undergraduates
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology manages a number of additional funds that support undergraduate student research, semester and summer jobs, expeditions, and activities that align with the Cornell Lab’s broad mission. The Lab currently does not have funds to support University financial aid or similar tuition scholarships to individuals, and most of these opportunities are limited to Cornell undergraduates who are in good academic standing. To initiate a conversation about these funding opportunities, students or their advisor/mentor should obtain our simple funding request form by emailing David Bonter.
Philip H. Bartels ’71 Scholars
Two Bartels Scholars are appointed annually to engage in a paid, eight-week summer opportunity. This opportunity is open to Cornell undergraduates who would conduct the proposed project during the summer in collaboration with a Cornell Lab of Ornithology faculty or staff member. Although Bartels Scholars most commonly focus on research, any Lab-related activity may be appropriate. Nominations for Bartels scholars are initiated by a Lab faculty or staff member. Students interested in this opportunity should discuss it with their Lab-based mentor or supervisor, then contact David Bonter. Nominations for the forthcoming summer should be submitted by March 31.
We have a long tradition of volunteers of all abilities assisting with the programs and operations of the Visitor Center. If you love birds and want to be around others who share your interests, look for an opportunity to join our Visitor Center volunteer corps! We anticipate volunteer positions will resume when the Visitor Center reopens in spring 2024.
From our Visitor Center overlooking Sapsucker Woods Pond, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers opportunities for visitors to connect with the Lab and learn about its mission to interpret and conserve the earth’s biological diversity. Birders, school classes, families, and nature lovers come to the Lab to walk the trails, watch birds, view the art, use the library, and learn from exhibits, tours, guided walks, seminars, and other programs.
- Helping with youth education programs
- Leading guided tours
- Assisting with outreach efforts
- Helping out in the Adelson Library
- Attend initial information session
- Complete the training for a specific volunteer appointment
- Commit to at least five hours per month (specific time commitments vary by appointment)
- Must be 18 years of age or older
- Complimentary Cornell Lab of Ornithology membership
- 10% discount in Wild Birds Unlimited at Sapsucker Woods store
- Program discounts
- Training and continuing education opportunities
If you are interested in volunteering at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (when our volunteer program resumes) please contact Jennifer Smith.
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