Browse our list of internship opportunities. This page is updated frequently so please check back.
Since 1966, Palomarin has been training the next generation of conservation scientists through intensive field-based internships. These post-baccalaureate internships teach landbird research techniques and data-driven solutions to conservation challenges. Palomarin is among the longest running bird observatories in North America, with a rich history as a leader in studying the impact of environmental change on birds. Interns completing our program leave with a comprehensive knowledge base, including the ability to design and implement conservation research, communicate research to the public, and ensure data are incorporated effectively into data management systems and resource management planning efforts.
Palomarin’s Intern Training Program has a global influence, having prepared over 500 interns from over 22 countries for careers in academic research, applied conservation, natural resource management, and beyond, with approximately 80% of intern alumni developing careers these fields, the majority related to birds.
Interns will learn key concepts and skills in the following six areas:
- Field methods in ecological and conservation research with emphasis on mist netting, bird banding, nest monitoring and territory mapping of songbirds
- Understanding the scientific process and the role of natural history observation in guiding meaningful research and conservation
- Critical thinking and evaluation of research and conservation
- Climate-smart conservation
- Best practices in science interpretation
- Skills and advances in data management and data integrity
At the end of the internship, interns will demonstrate synthesis of their new knowledge by completing a final project.
Qualifications: Self-motivation, a sense of humor, and the desire to spend long hours in the field and office are required. Participants must be able to work independently as well as in groups. Exposure to poison oak is unavoidable. A functioning pair of binoculars is required. Some of our internships require the use of a personal vehicle, current proof of insurance, and a driver's license. Any use of personal vehicles will be reimbursed at a standard per-mile rate.
Duration: Internships are between 5-6 months at a time, during three seasons: breeding season (Mar to Jul/Aug), fall migration (Aug to Nov/Dec), winter (Nov to Mar). Applicants must be able to commit to the full period.
Compensation: This is a voluntary training position that includes a stipend to offset living expenses while on the project ($800 per month, gross) and communal housing is provided.
To Apply: Please send an email containing the following items: a letter of interest (describing why you’d like an internship, previous experience with field research, dates of availability, and whether or not you have a vehicle); a resume; and contact information for three references to the following supervisors:
- spring/summer internship, apply by December 31st, contact: Mark Dettling, bio, e-mail
- fall internship, apply by June 15th, contact: Renée Cormier, bio, e-mail
- winter internship, apply by September 15th, contact: Mark Dettling, bio, e-mail
Applications are accepted year-round and will be saved until the hiring period.
Palomarin Intern Resources:
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Internships are offered through Point Blue, on the Farallon Islands, during one of the three research seasons: winter, spring/summer, and fall. Since 1968, Point Blue has been studying the wildlife on the Farallon Islands. Located 27 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge, the Southeast Farallon Islands are 96 acres of rocky terrain just a few miles from the edge of the continental shelf. The islands host the largest seabird breeding colony in the contiguous United States (over 300,000 seabirds of 13 species), are an important haul-out and breeding site for 5 species of pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), as well as a unique feeding location for white sharks. In addition, the islands host other unique populations (plants, salamanders, insects, etc.) as well as being a stopover site for hundreds of species of migrant and vagrant landbirds.
Duration: The minimum duration of internships is 8 weeks.
Description: The winter season (December – March) primarily involves research on breeding elephant seals, the spring / summer season (March – August) focuses on breeding seabird studies, and the fall season (August – December) focuses on migrant landbird research.
Qualifications: While each season requires different duties and levels of wildlife identification and monitoring experience, all interns are required to conduct rigorous fieldwork, often in poor weather. All interns will assist in maintenance of the field camp and data entry and proofing. Read more about our programs on the Farallon Islands.
Compensation: All internships on Southeast Farallon Island are volunteer positions, though excellent food and housing are provided. Transportation to San Francisco is not provided.
To Apply: Please submit cover letter stating why you’d like to be considered for an internship and describing your past field work, a resume, and three references to the following:
- For winter internships (Dec-Mar) you must have field experience with marine mammals to be considered for this position; contact Ryan Berger in August, bio, e-mail
- For spring/summer internships (Mar – August) contact Russ Bradley in December, bio, e-mail
- For fall internships you must have field experience with landbird monitoring to be considered for this position; contact, Jim Tietz in April, bio, e-mail
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Point Blue's STRAW Program is seeking four reliable, respectful, and enthusiastic Intern Volunteers who have a strong interest in both education and restoration. Intern Volunteers will work as a team to assist with student-implemented restoration workdays, educate students in and outside of the classroom, and accompany maintenance and monitoring of sites. Restoration work typically includes native plant installation, invasive species removal and/or biotechnical erosion work from October- May. Site maintenance work is integral to the overall program success and includes watering, weeding and other plant establishment from May-September.
Duration: October 5, 2015- September 5, 2016
- Give intern volunteer an understanding of and experience in community-based restoration and education
- Provide intern volunteer with a better understanding of personal and professional strengths and interests and how to apply them to future endeavors
Key Concepts and Skills Taught:
- Best management practices in urban and rural community-based, climate-smart restoration
- Education theory and practices, specifically inquiry based learning
- Methods of plant and wildlife monitoring
- Current trends in California science standards and practices
- Effective collaboration and team-building techniques
Intern Volunteer Roles & Expectations:
- This is a full time Monday- Friday (occasional weekends required) field work position spending 5 full days a week outdoors (all weather conditions)
- Train, supervise and lead students and adults during restoration and maintenance workdays
- Teach concepts of restoration and climate change science through inquiry-based learning to K-12 students through in-class and outdoor lessons ( teaching a minimum of four pre-restoration lessons)
- Assist staff with workday preparations (site visits, plant pickup, tool preparation)
- Learn and apply new communication techniques to create effective collaborations
- Work with various temporary irrigation systems and practices and weed control
- Fulfill the roll of a Field Leader for several restoration sites to track site needs and clearly and concisely record and communicate about site progress
- Assist with plant monitoring/data entry
- Assist with coordination and implementation of STRAW teacher training events
- The opportunity to be involved in various education workshops, lessons, and events
- Create a final capstone project that celebrates learning throughout the STRAW Intern Volunteer program
- Relevant education or field work experience
- Enthusiasm for ecological restoration work
- Enthusiasm for teaching K-12 students and other public audiences
- Openness to learn and share knowledge and skills
- A strong sense of self awareness and the willingness to engage in reflective practice
- Strengths in trouble shooting field-based challenges
- Ability to work respectfully on private and public property
- Ability to thrive in both a team setting and individually/live in shared housing cooperatively
- Field leadership skills
- Ability to lift and carry 40 pounds and complete strenuous physical tasks
- Have a valid driver’s license and appropriate driving experience
- Other helpful skills include Spanish language proficiency, California native plant knowledge, and the ability to drive manual transmission vehicles and haul trailers
Compensation: The Intern Volunteer position receives a monthly stipend of $850/month (gross) to offset living expenses, plus shared housing in an apartment in Petaluma, CA. Interns are required to accept shared housing proximate to Point Blue’s Petaluma Headquarters (housing and related costs to be covered by Point Blue).
To Apply: Positions filled for this year. Please check back for future openings. Feel free to send your resume and a cover letter stating how the Intern Volunteer position meets your personal and professional goals, interests and passions to Emily Allen (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the 2016/17 season.
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Overview: We will continue to evaluate population dynamics of Adélie Penguins at 4 colonies on or near Ross Island, southern Ross Sea, Antarctica. We collect data on many aspects of the species' breeding and wintering ecology - including foraging effort (using time depth recorders and accelerometers), meal-sizes and trip durations (automated PIT-tag readers with scales), chick condition, diet, reproductive success, adult and juvenile survivorship - with the objective of increasing our understanding of population structuring of this and other species through time. Why are some colonies bigger than others, why do they occur where they do, what sort of environmental changes impact populations the most, and what is “normal” variability? The project is described in more detail at penguinscience.com.
Timing: Fieldwork begins approx Nov 15 and ends approx Feb 5. Mandatory health and dental clearance (required by NSF) at least 8 weeks prior to departure.
Role of Interns: Interns participate in all aspects of fieldwork and field-logistics, with guidance provided by senior staff on site. Most hours are spent searching for banded (known-age) penguins and recording nesting status, tasks requiring high levels of patience. Eyestrain is a concern as you will spend up to 8 hours per day reading bands through binoculars in very bright lighting conditions. Data work is also intensive - all data are digitized and proofed as they are collected. Interns will be encouraged to participate in some aspects of writing or analyses.
Interns are expected to be knowledgeable of the literature related to this project before deployment to Antarctica, and to have a passionate interest in ecology. The ideal candidate can effectively communicate how the experience will increase the likelihood of success in their future career. Challenging field conditions should not be underestimated: 2+ months in remote locations based out of tents or small huts, accessible in good weather conditions only by helicopter from McMurdo station, which in turn is only accessible by military aircraft from New Zealand. Temperatures range from -20 to +10 C, with intermittent severe windstorms.
Compensation: all intern expenses related to the project will be reimbursed. Flights from any US airport to New Zealand and hotel accommodations during transit are covered. Essential cold-weather clothing and related gear provided by NSF.
How to apply: Please visit this website for more information.
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The Sierra to the Sea Climate-Smart Restoration Internship is focused on gaining practical knowledge of climate adaptation strategies and acquiring the skills to implement, assess and promote those strategies in tidal marsh and meadow habitats. The internship will involve 2-3 months in San Francisco Bay followed by 2-3 months in the Sierra Nevada. The San Francisco Bay portion will focus on the ecology and restoration of tidal wetland habitats including in-the-field training, learning about climate-smart restoration strategies, and understanding and using Point Blue’s online data management and conservation planning tools. In the Sierra, the internship will focus on the ecology and restoration of montane meadow habitats, the headwaters of the Bay. Here the intern will receive further training on identifying, surveying, and nest searching for bird species that breed in montane meadows, as well as exposure to our local partners and interaction with a large and active group of seasonal field biologists. The internship will also include training on giving effective presentations, facilitating collaborative meetings, communicating about climate change, and other skills necessary to develop, implement and promote effective conservation solutions.
Please check back for future openings.
Our marine lab studies track ocean health and inform ocean management. The research involves determining size class and species composition of prey consumed by seabirds, and examining krill and their relationships with seabirds and other top-predator populations in the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries.
Please check back for future openings.
Point Blue is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate against applicants or employees because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, citizenship status, disability status of an otherwise qualified individual, membership or application for membership in an uniformed service, or membership in any other class protected by applicable law and will make reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities to complete the application and/or participate in the interview process.