Internship Opportunities

Dear Potential Internship Participant,

Thank you for your interest in an internship with the Northwest Straits Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.  Below you will find background information on our chapter projects along with some guidelines for associated internships. Most internships can be an interdisciplinary mix of environmental science, education, outreach, event planning, communication, graphic and/or web design, business, public and environmental health, policy, and more. Chances are, no matter what kind of internship you’re looking for, we’ll have something.

It is important to keep in mind that our chapter is completely run on volunteer power! This means that we typically have a long wish list of things to do, but might be waiting for the right person to come along to take on or help out with projects, campaigns, or events. Our chapter strongly believes in creating internships that maximize benefit for us and you, which means that we try our best to match our interns in with skills that they desire while accomplishing measurable projects in the real world.

If you’re interested, send us the information below and we’ll set up a meeting to see if a Surfrider internship is a good match for you. Please e-mail the following information to with the subject line “NWS Surfrider Internship”:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Current resume (including your expected major if you are a college student)
  • A letter of interest explaining which Surfrider project(s) and/or campaign(s) interest you

On behalf of Surfrider Foundation and the Northwest Straits Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, we would like to thank you again for your interest and are looking forward to working with you soon. ☺

Eleanor Hines and Kim Salerno
Chair and Secretary of the Northwest Straits Chapter

Internship Projects:

Larrabee Water Quality Stewardship Intern

Larrabee Water Quality Stewards
Internship Type: Un-paid internship/volunteer role
Hours per week: Approximately 8-24 hrs
Duration: June 16 – September 1, 2015
Location: Larrabee State Park, WA

Internship Description:
During peak park usage in summer months, Larrabee State Park has shown a downward trend in water quality over the past several years.  To the best of our knowledge, all failing septic systems have been corrected and the cause of high bacteria counts of enterococcus are due to another source, most likely caused by an overpopulation of raccoons thriving on food sources derived from humans.   The Northwest Straits Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, in collaboration with Washington State Ecology BEACH Program, Whatcom County Health Department, and Larrabee State Park are looking for several motivated individuals to help us find the source(s) of harmful bacteria and to help keep Larrabee swimmable and open for recreational use.  By educating proper water quality etiquette to park visitors, we hope to instill a sense of stewardship that will improve the quality of nearshore marine water at Larrabee State Park.

Responsibilities (trainings will be provided):

  • Talk to park visitors and answer questions about water quality and the local ecology at Wild Cat Cove;
  • Conduct park user surveys;
  • Lead scheduled beach and watershed walks to educate visitors on the local ecology and water quality;
  • Create group presentations for Saturday evening campfire talks on select topics;
  • Participate in water sampling and lab analysis for enterococcus bacteria in marine water and fresh water;
  • May help to complete educational outreach materials;
  • Assisting in other Surfrider-related events and campaigns;
  • Be able to work independently and in group situations;
  • Must have own transportation to Larrabee State Park- although carpools with other interns may be arranged.

Qualifications: (preferred, but not mandatory)

  • Experience with water quality testing for indicator bacteria;
  • Experience with environmental education and outreach;
  • Knowledge base of PNW marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecology;
  • Must be an undergraduate student (or recently graduated);
  • An enthusiastic attitude!

Please email resumes and a statement of interest to no later than April 26th.


Shellfish Sampling for human health/harvest

Surfrider is teaming up with the local Whatcom County Health Department to help collect shellfish samples on a biweekly basis seasonally (May-September) or throughout the year and three sites throughout the county. We are looking for successful applicants who are eager to learn and participate in shellfish sampling to determine closures/openings of harvest beds throughout the county. Volunteer intern must be reliable and have own transportation to sites in the city of Bellingham to Blaine. Samples will be collected early on Mondays biweekly and a training will be provided. If interested, please email us ASAP at with any questions and a resume and a brief letter of interest.

Blue Water Task Force
The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) was established by the Surfrider Foundation in 1991 with goals and hopes to gather enough data to raise public awareness, increase public participation, and influence national legislation. Currently BWTF is taking water samples at six locations in Bellingham (Padden Creek mouth, Little Squalicum Beach, Mud Bay, Larrabee State Park, Locust/Whirlwind Beach, and the Nooksack River Delta) for the presences of enterrococcus. BWTF is a citizen science program that includes collecting samples, analyzing samples in lab, data entry online, and taking appropriate action when bacteria levels are excessively high. BWTF can use help collecting and analyzing samples, obtaining lab certification, additional sampling equipment, and equipment for other water quality parameter measurements. BWTF occasionally has openings for the BWTF Coordinator position, which coordinates BWTF volunteers and runs this program.

Native Garden Project/ Ocean Friendly Gardens

The objectives of Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFGs) include supporting the existing ecosystem, improving water quality, reducing the occurrence of invasive, non-native plant species, and providing a scenic landscape. The idea of OFGs are similar to rain gardens, but emphasize the impacts to the ocean our watershed has. Potential internships could include education and outreach, OFG tours, OFG maintenance, native garden work party organization, and more.

Snowrider Project
The goal of the Snowrider Project is to protect our mountain environments that are the source for many watersheds flowing to the ocean. We will achieve this by educating the snowsports community through events and service projects on the need to keep our mountains pristine for future generations enjoyment. We are currently looking to expand and build this program. If you are feeling creative and love the mountains, this could be an excellent internship match for you!

Beach Stewardship Education Project
Our education project also integrates our various projects to educate the local community. Currently, we are looking to expand our stewardship program from Larrabee State Park to other beaches throughout Whatcom County. If you have an interest in beach cleanups, creating interpretive signs, hosting beach walks, and/or otherwise targeting education and outreach with the goal of instilling community stewardship to create a lasting protection of our local beaches, this is the project for you!

Annual SoundWaves Benefit Concert and Fashion Show

Every year, our local chapter holds an annual fundraiser to raise money for the various projects. Last year, we had kids event, food, drinks, concert, fashion show and raffling with the support of our many wonderful sponsors at Boundary Bay Brewery.  This year, we hope to repeat and expand the success of last year. In order to make it successful we need help in every aspect such as event planning, marketing, band coordination, outreaching for sponsorship and publicity, writing sponsorship letters etc. There are plenty of useful skills and contacts to be made from an internship like this!

Rise Above Plastics Campaign
Our chapter has joined the global campaign in its fight against single-use plastics and single-use water bottles. Did you know that there are two islands of garbage (called Eastern and Western Garbage Patches) that have an estimated 100 million tons of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean?  Did you also know that when put together, the combined mass is larger then the size of the continental United States?  Every year, 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die due to the ingestion of or entanglement in plastics. Our impacts to our oceans is astounding, and we all have power to do something about this problem. Our campaign fights to raise awareness of plastics presence in our oceans, encourage the reduced use and recycling of plastics, and the education of the impact plastics has in not only our local environment but our global environment. An internship in Rise Above Plastics (RAP) could entail anything from education and outreach, campaigns/policy, to science and monitoring.

Beach Cleanups
The Northwest Straits Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation participates in the cleaning of our local beaches with environmentally conscious groups. These are a great entry-level project into the environmental world with important skills learned. Plus, it always feels good when you can say you were responsible for a local community beach cleanup taking half a ton of garbage off your favorite beach!

Film Premiers
In order to support those who bring awareness about our environment, we coordinate with various organizations by presenting films. We sometime host film festivals and need interns to help organize and get PR out!

Other events
We also participate in other events with global Surfrider Foundation, including Ski to Sea, Banked Slalom, Environmental Lobbying in Olympia, Earth Day, International Surf Day, Storm the Sound, Clean Water Classic, and more! We can always use enthusiastic folks to help table at events (usually there are unintended perks like cool freebees!) We typically have a lot of events planned and can always use help to make them happen. There are tons of useful skills involved in this, plus important contacts can be made for future career and mentorships!

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