MPA Watch Internship – Fall 2023

About the Organization

Heal the Bay is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1985. We use science, education, community action, and advocacy to fulfill our mission to protect coastal waters and watersheds in Southern California with a particular focus on public health, climate change, biodiversity, and environmental justice.

Internship Overview

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 2023 Fall Session (September – November). The intern will report to our Coastal and Marine Scientist, and work both in the field at MPA sites and virtually 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 September 5th, 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 science 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 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.

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, combining work in the field, in our main Heal the Bay office, and remote. Interns must have reliable access to a computer and internet to complete remote 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 and coordination.
  • Attend virtual weekly MPA Watch team meetings.
  • 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.


  • 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.  

Compensation: Unpaid. School credit is available at participating schools/colleges.

How to Apply: Applicants must send a resume and cover letter to Emily Parker, Coastal and Marine Scientist, Friday, August 25, 2023 for application to be considered. Please use the phrase “MPA Watch Fall 2023 Internship” in the email subject line.

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 without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status and we strongly encourage applications from individuals that reflect the diversity of Los Angeles County.

 Heal the Bay complies with AB 1008, the Fair Chance Act, during the onboarding process. Once a conditional internship offer has been made the candidate will be asked to complete a Live Scan criminal background check. A thorough assessment of conviction history will be considered including: the nature and gravity of the criminal history, the time that has passed since the conviction, and the nature of the job the candidate is seeking.

 Heal the Bay requires all interns to obtain and maintain up-to-date COVID-19 vaccinations, when available. Heal the Bay believes this is an important measure to protect the health and safety of employees, volunteers, family members and those who visit the workplace from COVID-19 infection. Interns must show proof of vaccination (vaccination card or website).