Scientific Illustration Internship


Based in Petaluma, California, but may vary depending on intern interest over the course of the internship.

Reports to

Lishka Arata, Point Blue Communications Manager

Internship duration

Late June through late August 2023 (8 weeks total)

Internship Description

This is a very exciting pilot internship for Point Blue. Our ultimate goal is to merge art and science towards increasing engagement in conservation actions. The inaugural intern of this program will have the unique opportunity to help us shape the experience.

Internship goals

We aim for this internship to provide an early career scientific illustrator with meaningful knowledge, skills, and hands-on experiences in conservation science that can really make a difference in their career as a scientific illustrator. We also hope that the intern will provide perspective that can improve how Point Blue engages people in conservation through art.

Intern learning goals include building skills to:

  • represent ecological studies and conservation efforts through illustration
  • engage target audience(s) in conservation science goals through inspiring illustration work
  • create and successfully complete a science illustration project in collaboration with communications, science, and other conservation staff
  • identify, test, and measure audience engagement goals for science illustration project

Approximate timeline and components

The selected intern will spend the first two weeks of their experience receiving orientation to the organization and its people, exploring key science areas, and devising a work plan with their supervisor. Science areas include marine ecology, landbird studies, agricultural studies, soil ecology, wetland ecology, habitat restoration, forest and mountain meadow ecology, and coastal and beach studies. The next three weeks will be spent immersing in and studying chosen science areas, and exploring the identified science illustration project. The last three weeks will be spent completing a final project, implementing a presentation and dissemination plan for the project, and participating in an exit interview to provide feedback on this pilot internship.

Applicant Qualifications

  • Must be enrolled in an undergraduate arts program that includes science or nature illustration
  • A strong interest in engaging people in conservation issues and solutions (like, climate change, pollution, energy use, nature-based solutions, habitat restoration, etc.)
  • Experience and/or desire to incorporate social justice into project
  • Multilingual applicants strongly encouraged to apply
  • Must have the ability to work in the U.S. (Point Blue is currently unable to offer visa sponsorship)

Expected Internship Work Hours & Travel

6-8 hours per day on weekdays (M-F); some flexibility in hours worked and time frame to accommodate other responsibilities or employment if needed.

Depending on the devised work plan, there may be travel of up to five hours to various field sites via car. Adjustments and accommodations can be made or arranged.

Internship Work Environment

Point Blue takes teamwork, collaboration, and diversity, equity, and inclusion seriously. Your supervisor will work to create an atmosphere of openness, acceptance, and empowerment during your internship. You will be provided with a structured way to check in and share updates on how things are going for you, with discussion on how to make adjustments. We work to create a workplace where people feel welcome to express their full selves.

Office/studio space will be provided at our Petaluma Headquarters and or/potentially other locations, depending on work plan.

Internship work hours will include a mix of being outside observing and assisting with scientific research, sitting or standing inside for office work, and indoor or outdoor studio work, depending on the artist’s medium and preference.

Compensation & Benefits

A stipend of $5000 for the 2 month period will be provided.

Shared housing is provided for the duration of the internship at one or more Point Blue locations. We do our best to accommodate same gender room sharing.

Mileage reimbursement for travel calculated from a Point Blue facility to field sites provided at the current IRS rate for 2023. 

Funding for art supplies will be provided. Amount to be determined during the work plan phase.

Benefits are not included in this position.

We will work with the student and their advisor/school administrators so the student can receive academic credit for their internship with us

Application Process & Timeline

  • Application Opens: May 20, 2023
  • Application Deadline: Jun 2, 2023
  • Applicants Selected for Interviews: Jun 5, 2023Jun 9, 2023
    • Thirty minute interviews will be scheduled.
  • Interviews: Jun 12, 2023Jun 16, 2023
    • Interview questions will be shared beforehand.
  • Notification of Application Status: Jun 19, 2023
  • Internship start date between Jun 26, 2023Jun 30, 2023

How to apply

This position is filled for Summer 2023

About Point Blue

Point Blue Conservation Science, founded as Point Reyes Bird Observatory in 1965, is a growing and internationally renowned non-profit with over 160 staff and scientists based in Petaluma, California. Point Blue’s programs have evolved over time to include a broad range of conservation activity, from restoration to environmental education, climate-smart conservation with a focus on nature-based solutions to innovative work in the field of regenerative agriculture. Our mission has remained to conserve birds, other wildlife, and their ecosystems through science, partnership, and outreach. We have a proven track record of scientific excellence, and long-standing partnerships with Federal, State, and local government agencies as well as other non-profit and community groups.

Through art and science collaborations at Point Blue, we seek to increase the number of people who understand the value of nature and their place in it; know the challenges we face when nature is destroyed or threatened; and are actively participating in solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss. We also seek to increase the depth of understanding and the impact of climate and biodiversity solutions. 

We recognize that increasing racial, gender, cultural, and other diversity, equity, and inclusion aspects at Point Blue and in our partnerships is essential for the success of our mission, vision, and strategy. We are actively engaging in a process to create lasting organizational change. We seek applicants from all backgrounds to join our teams. We strongly encourage applications from people with backgrounds that are under-represented in the conservation community.

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.