MPA Watch Internship 2024

About the Internship

Heal the Bay’s Science, Policy, and Outreach Department is recruiting for a highly self-motivated MPA Watch intern with an interest in marine protected areas (MPAs), coastal conservation, and fieldwork for the 2024 Summer Session (June – August). The intern will report to our Coastal and Marine Scientist, and work both in the field at MPA sites and remotely for approximately 10-20 hours each week with flexible scheduling and an option for periodic in-office meetings. The intern is expected to start the week of June 3rd, 2024 as well as provide their own transportation to and from 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 research fieldwork experience and to work for a reputable non-profit that has been established on the Westside for over 35 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.  

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

  •  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 35lbs.  
  • Ability to push and pull up to 35lbs.  

This is an unpaid internship, but please contact your college or university about qualifying for college credit or scholarship opportunities. Please note that this is a hybrid internship. Some work is expected to be completed remotely, some in the field, and some at Heal the Bay’s main office in downtown Santa Monica. Interns must have reliable access to a computer and internet to complete remote work in addition to field work.  


Primary 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, such as eDNA sampling events.  
  • Attend virtual weekly MPA Watch team meetings 
  • Maintain a professional and enthusiastic attitude when representing Heal the Bay in public settings, meetings, events, and training.  
  • 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.  



  • Recently graduated or currently enrolled in higher education program at a college or university in a degree program of Environmental Studies, Marine Science, Oceanography, Biology, Ecology, Environmental Policy or related field. Equivalent experience also accepted.  
  • 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.  

How to Apply:  

Applicants must send a resume and cover letter to Emily Parker, Coastal and Marine Scientist, at by Wednesday, May 22th 2024 for application to be considered. Please use the phrase “MPA Watch Summer 2024 Internship” in the email subject line.