Browse our list of internship opportunities.  This page is updated frequently so please check back.

Conservation Science Internships at the Palomarin Field Station


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:

Applications are accepted year-round and will be saved until the hiring period.

Palomarin Intern Resources:

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Marine Ecology Internships on Southeast Farallon Island


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) contact Ryan Berger in August
  • For spring/summer internships (Mar – August) contact Russ Bradley in December
  • For fall internships contact, Jim Tietz in April
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Adelie Penguin Population Ecology Internships


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: Submit short resumé, 3 references, and cover letter explaining how working on this project is relevant to your career objectives to: Grant Ballard. Applications due by March 31, 2014.

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