Public Programs Associate

About the Organization

Heal the Bay is the most recognized environmental nonprofit group in LA for a reason: we have been keeping Southern California’s coastal waters and watersheds safe, healthy, and clean for people and marine life since 1985. Using education, science, advocacy, and community action, we raise awareness and make progress with practical solutions to often complex problems. We conduct hundreds of beach and community cleanups each year, informing people about the root causes of pollution along the shorelines and in their neighborhoods. We advocate for strict water quality regulations that protect the health of both humans and the animals that call local creeks, rivers, and the Santa Monica Bay home. We operate the award-winning Heal the Bay Aquarium at the Santa Monica Pier, inspiring visitors to become stewards for the region’s most important natural resource: clean water. We also educate and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards, with more than 100,000 students joining us each year for school field trips, science-based classroom presentations, and events. Learn more about us at 

About the Role

Heal the Bay is looking for a part-time Public Programs Associate with an interest in marine science, environmental outreach, and working with aquatic animals to support our community and outreach programs. In this position, you will gain valuable marine biology, teaching, public speaking, customer service, retail sales, and event coordination skills while building your resume and obtaining references. 

This is an excellent opportunity to work in a dynamic and unique work environment in the Aquarium, on the Santa Monica Pier, and on the beach. You will be working directly with marine animals and interacting with community members as well as people from all over the world. You will gain Aquarium and nonprofit experience and be able to work for a reputable nonprofit that has been established for over 35 years. Heal the Bay Aquarium is home to hundreds of organisms, native to the Santa Monica Bay. As Heal the Bay’s marine education facility, the aquarium strives to teach visitors about the importance of environmental stewardship and marine conservation. 

Expectations & Responsibilities 

  • To greet, listen, understand, and address the needs of our visitors, employees, and volunteers while creating a welcoming environment that supports Heal the Bay’s mission of fostering inclusivity, dignity, and respect 
  • Will be assigned regularly scheduled shifts at the touch tanks and admissions/retail cash registers while supporting the daily operations of public hours, including interpreting at touch tanks, leading animal feedings and presentations, and navigating a wide variety of customer service interactions 
  • Assist with all aspects of public program open hours, including but not limited to: setup and breakdown of all public spaces and displays; reliable count and verification of the cash register till; restock of Gift Shop inventory and bathroom supplies; general cleaning and organizing of the public space 
  • Assist with the development of education and outreach materials such as researching and creating Aquarium exhibit signage, interactive displays, and themed weekend programming 
  • Facilitate birthday parties and assist with other events and Aquarium needs as necessary 
  • Assist with running our outreach cart on the Santa Monica Pier and engaging the public on our Aquarium Public Programs, Angler Outreach Program, Sustainable Seafood Watch, Beach/River Report Cards, and ongoing Heal the Bay science and policy campaigns and initiatives 
  • Attend weekly staff and team meetings and see to administrative duties as necessary 
  • Support Public Programs Manager in training and supervision of Heal the Bay volunteers and interns 

Preferred Experience & Skills 

  • Excellent communication, customer service, and public speaking skills; ability to work with many people in outdoor and indoor settings 
  • Conversational level knowledge of at least two languages required, strong preference for Spanish and Asian languages 
  • Ability to respectfully communicate and respect visitors of all ages, ethnicities, exceptionalities, gender identities, religions, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds 
  • Strong organizational skills and detail-oriented, with the ability to be flexible and multitask 
  • Experience with, or interest in, working with animals and educating about animals. 
  • Familiarity with Santa Monica Bay marine organisms and ecosystems a plus 
  • Experience with, or interest in learning about, marine science, public and environmental health, climate change, and plastic pollution 
  • Experience working with children and the ability to maintain an Adult and Infant CPR/First Aid certification 
  • Ability to work collaboratively and communicate well with a team, and also work independently with minimal supervision 
  • Ability to work in variable weather conditions with potential exposure to heat, wind, and inclement weather both inside the Aquarium and outdoors on the Santa Monica Pier 
  • Must be at least 18 years of age 


$15.00 per hour with appropriate state and federal taxes withheld. All Heal the Bay recognized holidays will be compensated at 1.5x normal pay rate in accordance with time worked. 


There are no dental, medical, health insurance, or vacation benefits included as part of the employment. As per the state of CA Labor Law, the employee will be eligible to receive up to 72 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year, after completing 90 days of employment. 


Part-time 15-29 hours per week, but can expect an average of 25 hours based on scheduling needs. The Associate must be available to work in-person at Heal the Bay Aquarium during public hours. Our current business hours are Thursday through Sunday from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm, and are subject to change in accordance with increased visitorship. Weekends, holidays, and after-hours events are required and will be part of the regular schedule. Start date: ASAP. 

How To Apply 

Please email your resume to Nancy Cheng, Public Programs Manager, at with the subject line “Public Programs Associate.” No phone calls please. Applications will be reviewed immediately and on an ongoing basis in the order they are received. This position will be hired ASAP, and remain posted until filled. 

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 employment 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 hiring process. Once a conditional job 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 staff 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. Staff must show proof of vaccination (vaccination card or website).