Conservation Internships

    Ano Nuevo Reserve

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    Ano Nuevo Reptile and Amphibian Surveys

    Also found in Research tab.

    Contact: Danielle Devincenzi (Ecologist), 

    Come learn about snakes, lizards (maybe some frogs and rodents too) with an internship at the Año Nuevo UC Natural Reserve. In April of 2013 the UCSC Field Methods Class and Natural Reserve placed 25 coverboards in the main park area between the Año Nuevo visitor center and main beach as well as 25 coverboards in a recently acquired State Park property (BART property) just to the north. The coverboards have now aged and are likely providing habitat for snakes, lizards, amphibians, and perhaps small mammals. This internship will involve checking these coverboards on a weekly basis throughout the quarter, recording data, identifying species, and entering data into a database. Data from your project will help State Parks compare herpetofauna across the two sites (the BART property was farmed as recently as 2006 whereas the main park area was last farmed in the early 1950s).

  • Arboretum

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    Interactive Ecology

    Listing also found in Campus tab.

    Contact Person: Brett Hall (please put Interactive Ecology in the subject line), (831)212-4853

    Interactive Ecology interns will work primarily within the California Native Plant Conservation Program in the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum. Physical activities will include building plant collections through seed germination, propagation, nursery work, planting, garden work and invasive weed control. Where scheduling allows, we will take field trips to local wild areas to learn local plant communities and techniques involved in vegetation mapping, classification, habitat assessment and surveys. During Winter Quarter 2023, we will offer only a few internship positions.  


  • California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program / CA Sea Grant

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    California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program / CA Sea Grant

    Listing also found in the Research,Water and Marine-Related, and Summer tabs.

    Only Avaliable during the Summer!

    Contact: Jake Todd,           

    California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP) interns gain insight into the world of marine science and valuable, hands-on experience for professional development through active participation in various forms of field work, data analyses and project support. We typically only accept interns for the summer, as that is when our sampling occurs. 

    Job Description: CCFRP interns provide organizational, logistical and administrative assistance to the Fisheries & Conservation Biology Lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.  Within the CCFRP, our lab conducts background research for fisheries-related projects, coordinates a variety of events, collects and analyzes field data and disseminates information to the public.  Program interns help facilitate any/all portions of these activities while additional duties are assigned, as needed.

    For more information visit the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program's website

  • California Native Plant Society

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    Vegetation Program

    Contact: Julie Evens,

    The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is a statewide non-profit conservation organization ( founded in 1965, with more than 10,000 members in 35 chapters across California and Baja California Mexico. The mission of CNPS is to increase understanding and appreciation of California’s native plants and to conserve them and their natural habitats through scientific study, education, advocacy, horticulture, and land stewardship. The CNPS Vegetation Program supports a uniform system for vegetation sampling, classification, and mapping and maintains vegetation information databases. This system, developed over the past 25 years by CNPS and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), is used by both governmental and non-governmental institutions to map, categorize and describe vegetation.

    Vegetation mapping and ground-based sampling are useful tools for resource assessment, land management, regional planning, and long-term resource monitoring. Since Santa Cruz County experienced an unprecedented wildfire season in 2020 as well as other fires in recent years (CalFire 2020), CNPS and partners will set up an array of monitoring plots in redwood forests that span a two-dimensional gradient of burn intensity (from high intensity to unburned) and hydrology (from drier to wetter). By having numerous monitoring plots, land managers can better evaluate ecosystem biodiversity in redwood forests across a broad swath of Santa Cruz County and evaluate invasive plant threats, particularly in areas with recent fire or near development. This research can also provide further insight on fire risk, invasive plants, Sudden Oak Death Syndrome (SODS), and other impacts. Assessing ecosystem biodiversity and threats will directly assist land managers to prioritize restoration efforts across this region where habitat fragmentation, climate change, and other disturbances continue to occur. Additionally, other post-fire plots will be established in other forest, shrubland and herbaceous vegetation types to survey the characteristics of burned vegetation and fire-followers at State Parks such as Big Basin Redwoods SP and Henry Coe SP. 

    Interns will participate in field botany and vegetation surveys in natural areas of Santa Cruz County, where participants will learn and practice survey methods used by the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). We have several ongoing projects that these efforts will support, including fine-scale vegetation mapping of Santa Cruz Co. All participants will keep a journal of notes and observations. Photography and using GPS and smart mapping tools will be a part of the work (e.g. Ipads with ESRI Collector, etc.). Participants will be required to help identify plant species, create short narrative descriptions of study areas, and collect detailed measurements of vegetation (e.g., diameter at breast height, percent cover by species, burn severity, etc.). 

    All-day field trips to local wild areas will focus on plant communities and techniques involved in vegetation monitoring, mapping, and classification. Time frames will depend on the level of interest and availability for exploratory field trips and vegetation surveys. 

    Availability for at least one (1) full day each week would be ideal, particularly for field work – for full days, we are hoping those could be mostly in May and early June (if the spring quarter). Please fill out the online application indicating your availability. 

    Tuesday all day (preferred), Tuesday morning, Tuesday afternoon

  • Coastal Prairie Restoration Research

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    Restoration Research Intern

    Also Under Research and Summer

    Contact: Justin Luong,

    Students will assist Graduate Student Justin Luong with research in whether the use of plant functional traits and phylogenetics can be predictive in restoration planting survival and growth, because restoration often has unpredictable outcomes. Presumeably, this will be exacerbated by climate change. Interns have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience at Younger Lagoon Reserve at Coastal Campus utilizing rain-out shelters that simulate a 1-in-100 year drought after five years for 12 CA coastal prairie plants, collecting data such as plant community composition and plant functional trait data, and categorizing plants in subgroups by leaf area and thickness. No experience is required. 

  • Greenhouse (UCSC)

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    Also Under Campus

    Contact: Sylvie Childress

    The UCSC Greenhouses grow plants for research, course instruction, and ecological restoration and
    conservation. This internship focuses on ex-situ rare plant conservation. The work will mostly take place in
    the UCSC Greenhouses, with at least one off-site field work day. Students participating in this internship are eligible for a stipend.
    Interns will assist with:
    - Growing plants for seed increase of local CRPR (California Rare Plant Ranked) species, with end
    goal of producing seeds for long term storage in a seed bank
    - Create mounted herbarium specimens
    - Growing and outplanting individuals of the rare Santa Cruz Tarplant (Holocarpha macradenia)
    - Recording information related to plant growth
    - Gathering and analyzing data from seed germination experiments
    - Drafting Propagation Protocol documents to contribute to a national database of plant propagation
    Learning objectives include:
    - Learn about the conservation challenges facing local rare plants
    - Understanding the seed ecology of plants in a variety of habitats
    - Gain familiarity with standard and creative methods of breaking seed dormancy in California native
    - Acquire horticultural skills in cultivating plants from seed to seed-set

    Strong interest in plant conservation is the only requirement! Some background in plant biology and statistics
    is strongly preferred (not required). If interested, please email Sylvie Childress (
    and describe any relevant coursework, personal experience, and interest in these areas.

  • Groundswell Coastal Ecology

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    Groundswell Coastal Ecology

    Contact: Bill Henry,

    Groundswell Coastal Ecology seeks interns for our Coastal Programs in Santa Cruz County.
    Groundswell is a fiscally sponsored 501(c)(3) dedicated to making our coast better for nature and
    people. We build healthy coastal ecosystems through education and community-based ecological
    restoration and research. We use these tools to increase biodiversity, ecosystem resiliency, and
    aesthetic at highly visited coastal access sites. In 2021/22 interns will participate in three primary
    projects: Monterey Bay Living Shoreline Program, Teaching our NextGen Coastal Adaptation
    through Green Infrastructure, and the Santa Cruz Monarch Enhancement Project. We work at Santa
    Cruz K-12 schools and coastal sites stretching from Rio Del Mar to Pescadero including those at
    Seabright Beach, Lighthouse Field, Natural Bridges, and Davenport Landing.

  • Communications Volunteer Intern

    Island Conservation is seeking a Communications Volunteer Intern to learn from and support the Communications Team in our Santa Cruz Headquarters. We are looking for an enthusiastic and dedicated individual who wants to develop new skills and improve their writing, communication, social media, organizational, and computer skills. For more information, please visit the website.

  • Jodi McGraw Consulting & UC Santa Cruz Greenhouses

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    Sandhills Restoration Intern

    Contact: Jodi McGraw, (831)768-6988

    Jodi McGraw Consulting is implementing a series of sandhills conservation and restoration projects, including a multi-year project to restore mined habitat within the approximately 114-acre restoration area of the Olympia Quarry in Felton, CA. The work done by interns is part of a longer-term restoration effort designed to establish native plant species form the sandhills communities, including rare native plant species, in order to help recover four federally-listed endangered species. Sandhills Restoration interns gain experience in the following aspects of conservation and restoration, with the precise activities depending on the season (i.e., quarter) of participation:

    • Native plant propagation, including seed collection, cleaning, and growing;
    • Native plant installation and maintenance, including weeding, pruning, and irrigation;
    • Exotic plant identification and control strategies;
    • Rare plant identification and monitoring, including mapping;
    • Endangered insect surveys; and
    • Monitoring of experimental trials to promote endangered plants and insects and restore degraded habitat.

  • Land of Medicine Buddha

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    Conservation Internship

    Also under the Agroecology and Plants and Environmental Education tabs

    Contact: Dominic “Buzz” Renda 

    Land of Medicine Buddha (LMB), a center for healing and developing a good heart, is an active Buddhist community, a local registered non-profit, an environmental conscious meditation and retreat center located on 108 acres of coastal redwood foothills in Soquel. Our mission, values, teachings and practices devoted to increasing the wellbeing for all. We offer a wide range of secular and non-secular offerings including teaching, meditation, retreat and community.

    4 2 or 5 unit internships are available. Internship participants will be instrumental in planning, developing and actualizing 1 of 2 priority LMB projects; Regenerative Garden and Nature Walk. 

    For more information please visit our website!

  • Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project

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    Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project

    Listing also found in Water and Marine-Related tab.

    Contact: Seth Bowman (831)458-3095, Mat Rowley  (831)818-9819

    The Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project is a donor-supported, non-profit organization that operates a salmonid recovery hatchery located just north of Davenport in the Scott Creek watershed. The project goals are to help preserve and rebuild local populations of endangered coho salmon and winter steelhead in Santa Cruz/San Mateo coastal watersheds. MBSTP aids in salmonid recovery efforts with CDFW and NOAA/NMFS Fisheries Ecology Division’s Salmon Ecology research team. General duties include assisting hatchery staff with completing daily and seasonal activities at the hatchery, including but not limited to: feeding fish, cleaning fish rearing units, facility maintenance, monitoring water conveyance systems, and occasionally performing above activities in hatchery manager/fish culturist absence. 

    Fall quarter internship would involve transportation and disc tagging of adult coho broodstock. Winter quarter internships are focused on spawning adult salmonids, egg incubation, management of pre-smolting yearlings for later release, and assistance with cleaning and maintenance of water conveyance systems. Spring quarter focuses on tagging and release of smolts into local watersheds, and care of emergent fry. Summer quarter duties include fingerling care and growth monitoring along with facility maintenance.  

  • Oceans 360

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    Oceans 360 Internship

    Contact: Steve Mandel, 

    We are an ocean conservation education 501(c)(3) nonprofit, that uses virtual reality to communicate the need for reduction of ocean plastics, encourage sustainable use of ocean resources and work on global warming and its effect on coral. 

    For more info, visit their website!

  • Puma Project

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    Puma Project

    Listing also found in the Campus tab.

    Contact: John Morgan, 

    We have studied mountain lions in the Santa Cruz Mountains since 2008. Our goals are to understand how mountain lions survive in an area that is highly-impacted by people, develop new research technologies, and educate the public. You can gain resume-building experience conducting cutting-edge research with large carnivores. We need interns who are proactive, independent, self-motivated, and communicate clearly. There are 2 options:

    • On-campus Option: On-campus intern positions are time-flexible and ideal for the intern who only has partial days available between classes. These interns will label photographs of animals, utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and help with data entry using on-campus computers. These interns must be computer-literate (able to learn to use Picasa and other software). Motivated interns may also spend up to 20% of their time in the field if they are interested and have an occasional full day free (this could be on the weekend). Fieldwork is optional for on-campus interns.
    • Off-campus Option: Off-campus interns accompany experienced project personnel in-the-field to investigate GPS locations where pumas may have made kills, check trail camera stations. These interns must 1) dedicate one full day at a time on a regular day each week, 2) be in good physical condition to hike canyons off-trail through brush, 3) exhibit the ability to make common-sense choices, and 4) tolerate poison oak, ticks, and other field hazards.

  • Roots & Routes Intercultural Collaborations

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    Social & Ecological Justice Campaign

    Listing also found in the Research, Environmental Education, and Environmental Justice tab.

    Contact: Juli Hazlewood, 

    Roots & Routes Intercultural Collaborations (Roots & Routes IC) mission is to facilitate sharing knowledge between diverse cultures en route to responsibly stewarding a flourishing living world. Our vision is people standing arm-in-arm to form an Indigenous-led educational exchange network that teaches the world that we are worth more than the resources below our feet.

    The objectives of the projects will vary from quarter to quarter, depending on the needs of the organization. Yet, as the supervisor is also faculty at UCSC, she knows that the students should be involved in meaningful work, and not only busy work. Depending on the interests and skills of the students, we can develop a project that would be useful to the future of bot the student and the organization.

    Some options may be working on a Rights of Nature campaign (for the FIRST Rights of Nature case in the world), organizational media and communications, collaborating on grant applications, helping to write letters/contact partner organizations, establishing a database and/or donorbase, website development, fundraising campaigns (if interested), helping to create community and/or campus events in relation to organizational activities, and so on.

  • San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory

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    Bird Banding Internship

    Contact: Josh Scullen, and Yiwei Wang,

    The San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory is dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats through science and outreach. We are located in Milpitas, approximately 45-60 minutes north of Santa Cruz. SFBBO’s Coyote Creek Field Station bands birds throughout the year to study bird migration patterns and the bird community of one of the lagest riparian habitats in the South Bay Area. We seek an intern (or two) to work with Landbird Program biologists to band birds, train and work with volunteers, and analyze and manage data.

    *Note: This internship is offered year round

  • Santa Cruz Bird Club

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    Bird Club

    Contact: Alex Rinkert,

    The Santa Cruz Bird Club is a 501(c)(7) non-profit with a mission to unite those who have a common interest in wild birds, that they may better study and conserve them. The club has more than 500 members and offers free field trips and lectures year-round. In 2017 the club sponsored a five year project, the Santa Cruz County Breeding Bird Atlas II. The project aims to document the distribution, abundance, phenology, and life history of all breeding birds in Santa Cruz County as well as foster more community engagement in birding. The results of the project will be synthesized in a publication also containing results of the first breeding bird atlas in Santa Cruz County (1987-1993), providing comprehensive insight into current breeding bird populations, how they have changed, and what changes lay ahead. 

    Interns will work under the supervision of the Project Director during the spring or summer quarter of UC Santa Cruz. Internship work will require up to 6 hours per week, often in the morning and on Fridays through Mondays but here is some flexibility depending on the tasks assigned. Most field work will be located in Santa Cruz or on the immediate coast between Capitola and Davenport. A stipend of $175 will be provided for completion of 60 hours of work.

    For more information please visit website

  • Santa Cruz Mountains Reserve

  • 2 Unit Internship

    Listing also found in the Research tab.
    Contact: SCMR Director, Chad Moura,
    The Santa Cruz Mountains Reserve (SCMR) is a new collaboration between UC Santa Cruz’s Natural Reserve System and regional partners in the Santa Cruz Mountains. SCMR is looking for several 2 Unit Interns starting in Winter 2023 quarter to work on a variety of projects depending on student interest. Projects include:
    - Amphibian Visual and Acoustic Surveys
    - Bird Point Counts and Behavioral Studies
    - Woodrat Midden Mapping
    - Invasive Plant Monitoring
    - Wildfire Vegetation/ Habitat Monitoring
    Project locations are around 30 minutes north of UCSC along Highway 1 and Empire Grade Rd. Having your own vehicle would be preferred, but accommodations can be made for interns requiring a rideshare/carpool.

    No previous internship or work experience is required!

    6-hour shift every week (9am - 3:00pm). Options available Tuesday - Friday.

    Application: Go to to apply today! 
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    Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group

    Contact: Zeka Glucs, 

    The Predatory Bird Research Group is a long-standing non-profit organization at UCSC tasked with monitoring wild populations of predatory birds and promoting their conservation through education and local involvement. Interns will learn to identify the breeding raptors of Santa Cruz County and gain hands-on skills in field
    observation and data collection.

    Participation in both Winter and Spring quarters is preferred: field observation training will take place in Winter Quarter (2 units), data collection and research activities will take place in Spring Quarter (2 or 5 units).
    Leadership roles and independent research opportunities are available to students able to take the 5 unit internship in Spring Quarter.

  • UCSC Fort Ord Natural Reserve in Marina, CA

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    Various Internships

    Contact: Joe Miller,

    Application Form Link:
    Ten Week internships start with the UCSC Winter Quarter on 01/09/2023. These are volunteer positions that can be taken for credit (60 hours/2 units) through the UCSC ENVS Internship Office. The internships require transportation to UCSC Fort Ord Natural Reserve in Marina, Ca. which is about 45 minutes - 1 hour drive from UCSC Campus. Carpooling from UCSC Coastal Campus is available. 
    We have limited positions available that will close when filled, apply asap! For Winter 2023, we are looking for volunteers to help with:

    Ecological Plant Restoration - limited spots available on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays 9-2 (UCSC Carpool 8-3)
    Large scale planting and restoration work on UCSC FONR in Marina, CA. We are working to enhance the habitat at UCSC FONR, by planting thousands of seedlings of endangered sand gilia (Gilia tenuiflora ssp. arenaria). This is a great way to learn the process of site preparation, planting, and seed collection for rare species. We will also learn to identify local plants, monitoring methods, and have opportunities to contribute to reserve stewardship projects. 
    Herpetology Monitoring - One Winter quarter 2023 position open on Tuesdays 9-2 (UCSC Carpool 8-3)
    Help FONR staff monitor coverboard and pitfall array network for herptile species, while learning identification and safe handling techniques. This position will involve lots of day long hiking around the reserve, data collection, and reptile handling on sandy reserve trails. Carpool from UCSC Coastal Science Campus to Marina is available. 
    Reserve Stewardship and research support - One Winter quarter 2023 position open on Tuesdays 9-2 (UCSC Carpool 8-3)
    Learn job skills related to land stewardship and research support. Intern will work alongside staff on reserve cleanup, habitat management, light construction, research support, and other activities. This is a job shadowing position that helps teach about the type of work UCSC Reserve managers do. 
    Small Mammal Trapping Workshop
    (This is a 4 day weekend workshop that takes place Friday Feb 3, 2pm - Monday Feb 6, 12pm.) 
    Learn more about methods of biological monitoring of small mammal populations while assisting FONR staff in the setting and checking of sherman traps on the reserve. This is a four day immersive session where you will learn safe handling techniques, regulations, and more about local natural history. Camping on the reserve is available and encouraged! We have gear to borrow if you need it. We will meet mid afternoon on Friday Feb 3, and finish the workshop about 12 pm on Monday Feb 6. Sessions start very early ( 730 am) with lots of free time throughout the day to explore the reserve. 
    We also welcome applicants from CSUMB and community colleges, let us know your schedule and we will go from there! 

    Interested undergraduates may complete the above form to apply. Please be descriptive in your responses! Availability and previous experience determine selection. The internships require transportation to UCSC Fort Ord Natural Reserve in Marina, Ca. which is about 45 minutes - 1 hour drive from UCSC Campus. All UCSC Fort Ord Natural Reserve internships require teamwork and communication. There is potential for exposure to poison oak, snakes, weather, and insects. We will be working on rugged off trail environments. 
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    Chaparral Monitoring Internship Spring 2022 - UCSC Fort Ord Natural Reserve

    Contact: Laurel Fox,

    Application Form Link:

    • We will follow a protocol to measure long term chaparral vegetation
    monitoring plots by hand, related to research by UCSC EEB Professor Laurel
    Fox. Students will learn basic botany, and gain knowledge of shrub species of
    Monterey maritime chaparral habitat, and explore community ecology topics at
    the reserve. This is a great way to learn field measurements, and more about
    the research possibilities in the UCSC Natural Reserves.
    • We are looking for students who have at least one open weekday in their
    schedule, due to travel time to Marina, CA from UCSC.
    • Carpooling from the UCSC Coastal Science Campus is available.
    • Work is in a rugged outdoor setting in all weather conditions, with potential for
    exposure to insects, poison oak, and reptiles.

  • Ventana Wilderness Alliance

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    Youth in Wilderness Intern

    Listing also found under Environmental Education tab.

    Contact: Toan Do,, (831)423-3191

    Yiw seeks experienced backpackers and enthusiastic naturalists to assist in leading of Environmental Education and Stewardship expeditions in the Spring and Fall of 2023. A positive attitude, patience, and commitment to safety are a must! Assistant Field Instructors will work closely with Program Manager, Toan Do, Lead Field Instructor, Jacquelyn Bergner, and other core YiW Field Instructors to organize and lead backpacking expeditions in the Big Sur backcountry. A 2-unit internship—60 field hours—entails joining at least 3 wilderness expeditions in a quarter. Please inquire about the field season expedition schedule.

  • Younger Lagoon Reserve Habitat Resoration Field Crew

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    Younger Lagoon Internship

    Listing also found in the Campus tab. 

    Contact: Eric Medina 707-237-1245 (cell)

    The UCSC Natural Reserves Office manages five natural reserves that are set aside for teaching, research and public education. We sponsor interns every quarter, including summer, to work at Younger Lagoon Reserve on our Habitat Restoration Field Crew.  Student interns work outside among herons, hawks, and coyotes and pull invasive weeds, collect native seeds, propagate and plant native seedlings, maintain existing restoration sites, cut back trails, and conduct ecological monitoring throughout the year.