MPA Watch Intern


MPA Watch Intern

About the Organization

Heal the Bay is an environmental nonprofit group dedicated to making California coastal waters safe and healthy for people and marine life. We achieve our mission by using science, advocacy, community outreach, and public education to create positive change in our environment.

About the Internship

Heal the Bay’s Science, Policy, and Outreach Department is recruiting for multiple highly self-motivated MPA Watch interns with an interest in marine protected areas (MPAs), coastal conservation, and fieldwork for the Summer Session (June – August). The intern will report to our Coastal and Marine Scientist, and work both in the field at MPA sites and at our Heal the Bay Headquarters in Santa Monica for approximately 10-20 hours each week with flexible scheduling. The interns are expected to start in early June, as well as provide their own transportation to and from the office and MPA field sites in Malibu and Palos Verdes. Interns are trained to observe and collect unbiased data on coastal and marine resource use.  

This is an excellent opportunity to gain science fieldwork experience and to work for a reputable non-profit that has been established on the Westside for over 30 years. Heal the Bay’s community science program, MPA Watch, is part of a statewide network and collects valuable scientific data to inform various government and other organizations about human use at MPA sites and inform MPA management. 

Expectations & Responsibilities

  • Complete MPA Watch beach surveys of human activities inside and outside protected areas for MPA Watch program.  
  • Assist in organization and management of the MPA Watch database. 
  • Conduct quality assurance and quality control on MPA Watch surveys in the database. 
  • Assist with the development of MPA Watch program and training materials such as manuals and PowerPoint presentations 
  • Assist in the development and implementation of MPA Watch volunteer trainings. 
  • Assist in MPA Watch volunteer events and coordination. 
  • Maintain a professional and enthusiastic attitude when representing Heal the Bay in public settings, meeting, events, and trainings. 
  • Develop an independent research project on MPA Watch data, MPA policy and legislation, or another related topic and present results at the end of the internship. 

There are required physical expectations that an individual must possess in order to successfully perform essential internship responsibilities, including: 

  • Ability to spend 4-5 hours outside and willingness to do so under harsh weather conditions, if necessary. 
  • Ability to complete moderate hiking and willingness to do so under harsh weather conditions, if necessary. 
  • Ability to lift and carry up to 50lbs. 
  • Ability to push and pull up to 50lbs. 


  • Must be currently enrolled at a college or university as an undergraduate or graduate student. 
  • Must be currently enrolled in a degree program of Environmental Studies, Marine Science, Geography, Biology, Ecology, Environmental Policy or related field. 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. 
  • Detail-oriented; ability to complete projects promptly and completely. 
  • Ability to work independently as well as with a team. 
  • Preferred: experience in conducting data collection and/or research and proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. 


Unpaid. School credit available at participating schools/colleges. 

Hours: approximately 10-20 hours each week with flexible scheduling

How to Apply

Please submit cover letter and resume to Emily Parker, Coastal and Marine Scientist. Please put “MPA Watch Internship” in the subject line.


May 1, 2020

Heal the Bay is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for internship opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.