COAST Student Internships Summer 2019

​Office of National Marine Sanctuaries 

West Coast Region

Seabird Conservation Internship​​​


Host: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) and the Seabird Protection Network

ONMS, a branch of NOAA, is responsible for managing 14 special marine protected areas designated by the federal government. The ONMS West Coast Region (WCR) manages 15,333 square miles of marine protected areas around Channel Islands, Cordell Bank, Greater Farallones, Monterey Bay and Olympic Coast. The goal of the National Marine Sanctuary System is to protect and manage these marine resources through research, education, conservation and stewardship.  Each of the five west coast national marine sanctuaries is a jewel unto itself, but all sites share similar marine resources and work on joint projects to better protect, restore and manage those resources, including water quality, habitat, and wildlife. The WCR coordinates programs and initiatives to ensure natural and cultural resources are protected while allowing uses that are sustainable.  

Location:  Preferred location is in San Francisco at the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and Seabird Protection Network office (map). Consideration of an alternate location in Monterey at the West Coast Regional office is a possibility (map). 

Internship Dates:  June 3 – August 16, 2019; start and end dates are flexible with regard to student’s academic commitments.

Stipend: $5,000

Time Commitment: The internship is a full time, 11-week commitment. Over the 11 weeks, the intern may take up to five days off for personal reasons, vacation or illness. If participation is less than 100%, the stipend will be pro-rated.

Position Description and Responsibilities:  National marine sanctuaries are home to an amazing and diverse population of seabirds that gather in large groups on offshore rocks, cliffs, and near-shore islands. Healthy seabird populations are critical for healthy marine ecosystems. The Seabird Protection Network (Network) is a program hosted by Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, and it includes Monterey Bay and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuaries as well. The Network partners with boaters, kayakers, airplane pilots, and seabird biologists to reduce human-caused disturbance to seabirds and other marine wildlife. The WCR and the Network actively reach out to stakeholders to promote sustainable transit and recreation on and over the ocean in the locations where seabirds breed and rest to minimize impacts to their natural behaviors and reduce unnecessary stress. 

One internship (1) is offered to work side-by-side with the national marine sanctuaries regional director and the Network director on a new project: “Seabird Conservation in West Coast Sanctuaries”. The purpose of this project is to describe the efforts to protect and conserve seabirds by national marine sanctuaries on the west coast while highlighting sustainable, safe ways to recreate around seabirds though web-based tools and maps that can be promoted and distributed to sanctuary users.   

Project Responsibilities: ​

1. Interview a representative from each of the five sanctuaries to:

a. Identify which conservation action to highlight (e.g., low overflight prohibition zones, areas where sanctuaries have reduced seabird harassment outreach, State-designated Special Closures, etc.).   

b. Determine appropriate locations and seabird species to highlight as areas for promoting sustainable recreation.  

2. Develop a storyboard and identify all mapping needs.

3. Work with the Network team to update, tailor and visually display already vetted and available messages regarding sustainable recreation and tourism and wildlife viewing guidelines.

4. Identify key audiences and venues for distribution and develop a rollout and distribution plan in coordination with ONMS headquarters in Silver Spring, MD.

5. Work with the WCR Resource Protection team to schedule tasks related to the distribution plan.

6. If timing aligns, assist with the “Safe Boating” web-based film distribution plan.


​Preferred Experience and Capabilities: Seeking an intern who is skilled in environmental writing, marketing, and/or communications and has a background or demonstrated interest in social science and/or environmental policies and regulations; ideally interested in regulations of marine protected areas, marine resource management and/or seabird conservation. The successful candidate must have excellent attention to detail especially when designing outreach products, maps, and materials for websites. Must have the ability to work independently, host and lead interviews, and work within a team setting. It is essential that the candidate is able to effectively communicate (verbally [in person or on the phone] and in writing) and demonstrate good writing ability and interpersonal skills, including intuitive listening. Maps and web pages will be produced as part of this project, so skills in GIS techniques and HTML are highly desired. 

Skills Gained: The intern will learn about how the U.S. manages its national marine sanctuaries, as well as how to navigate the development and completion of education and outreach materials through a federal government bureaucracy at both regional and national levels. The intern will understand and use social marketing techniques and tactics that result in changing human behavior to benefit the environment. The intern will see how wildlife conservation programs are developed and managed in a government setting and will learn how to incorporate complex scientific and management concepts into electronic education and outreach products. The intern will learn how to operate within both a small and large professional office and interact with colleagues remotely. The intern will make connections with coastal resource managers at locations throughout the west coast.  

Eligibility/Requirements:  This internship is geared toward upper class (juniors/seniors) and graduate students. Intern must be at least 18 years old and must have a valid driver’s license. The intern must be able to work independently and interact in a professional manner with WCR and sanctuary staff and partners throughout California. Travel to sanctuary offices in Sonoma and Monterey counties may be required and travel expenses will be paid for by the WCR. Applicants must clear the National Agency Check with Inquiries (NACI) background check. Applicants are also subject to general eligibility requirements.


Return to Announcement for Application and Additional Requirements​​