Teens Researching Urban Ecology

Project TRUE

Are you interested in how animals adapt to an urban environment? Do you enjoy working with other teens? Do you want to contribute to urban ecology research in and around the Prospect Park Zoo? If you are looking for an exciting internship and available during the school day, this program is for you!

What is Project TRUE?

Project TRUE (Teens Researching Urban Ecology) is an experiential-based learning program. Funded by the National Center for Civic Engagement SENCER-ISE, teens work collaboratively with Fordham University graduate students and WCS staff to explore urban nature. During a semester long internship, high school students participate in a research experiment that introduces them to explore fundamental concepts in urban ecology, scientific design, ecological methods, mapping, digital media publishing, and scientific writing.Students also learn the importance of scientific research in policy making, and the skills to effectively present their scientific findings to an audience. Students also get to meet with visiting scientists and learn about their research.

Project TRUE was developed at Prospect Park Zoo, part of the Wildlife Conservation Society, through a partnership with Fordham University. Our mission is to study the interaction between people and environments and to strengthen those relationships through meaningful interventions.

What do Project TRUE interns do?

  • You will conduct a semester long research project in urban ecology (invertebrates or birds) in and around the Prospect Park Zoo.
  • You will contribute to ongoing research that will connect people to conservation issues facing New York City.
  • You will learn how communities and lawmakers can work together to effect change and improve our urban environment.
  • You will learn the skills to effectively present your research findings to an audience.
  • You will create new connections with people that share your interests.


  • 30 hours of instruction and interaction over the course of the program.
  • access to respected experts in the field of urban ecology.
  • school internship credit. (if applicable)
  • additional program day(s) if a multi day internship is required by your high school.


Students must meet the following requirements to be eligible for participation in this program.

  • You are between the ages of 14 and 18 years.
  • You have good communication skills.
  • You are comfortable in both indoor and outdoor settings.
  • You are willing to work with a diverse group of high school students.
  • You attend a school (or are home-schooled) that allows you to participate in an early afternoon internship (1:45 - 5:00 PM) on a Tuesday or Thursday.
  • You are available to participate for a full (fall or spring) semester.
  • You can present your team project to school advisors, WCS staff, peers, family, and friends at the Prospect Park Zoo at the end of your internship and again at a Symposium.

Visit our student website

Would you like to see what our students have done in the past? Throughout their internship, Project TRUE teens reflect on their experiences through writings and photographs. On our site you can view presentations, learn about our Urban Ecologist, and more. Click here for Project TRUE student website

Bronx Science Consortium Student Research Symposium

On September 10, 2014, the Project TRUE interns from the 2013-2014 fall and spring cohorts will present their research alongside undergraduate and graduate students at the Bronx Science Consortium Student Research Symposium. We welcome prospective interns, internship coordinators, science teachers and the general public to view their work and learn more about their experiences as Project TRUE interns. http://www.bronxzoo.com/plan-your-trip/events-calendar/bronx-science-consortium.aspx

If you would like more information about Project TRUE, please contact Debbie Dieneman Keim ddieneman@wcs.org.

The deadline for Fall 2014 applications is September 22, 2014. Project work will begin in early October.

Download application >>