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Internship Opportunity

Participating in sea level rise research and teaching youth about Oregon coastal habitats

Posted on: 02/09/2023

Summary / Description

The South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (Reserve) established a series of research sites in the estuary to understand the local effects of sea level rise on tidal marsh plant communities. The intern will spend roughly half their time working closely with the Reserve science staff to collect vegetation, hydrology, surface elevation, accretion, and vertical elevation data at multiple tidal marsh sites within the estuary.

The other half of the intern’s time will be spent assisting with the South Slough Reserve education team to implement summer science camps and other education and outreach programs. The Reserve offers day camps for children ages 5-18 throughout the summer. The intern will assist education staff with the planning and delivery of these camps.

From this internship, the student will gain experience in field, laboratory, and professional office settings. The intern will gain knowledge of a variety of field equipment and techniques related to wetland monitoring including percent cover and density metrics for wetland plant communities, plant identification, rod surface elevation tables (R-SETS), marker horizons, groundwater level instruments, Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS, and leveling elevation surveys. The intern will also gain experience in databases, data management, R scripts, sensor calibration in the laboratory, post-processing of GPS data, and creation of visual summaries. The intern will build a greater understanding of estuaries and coastal ecosystems and recognize the value of education and communication about these places. The intern will develop skills in science communication for diverse audiences and learn best practices for connecting with different ages of children, leading lessons, and maintaining a safe and welcoming environment. The intern will have opportunities to participate in other Reserve science projects as well as other education and outreach programs as time permits.

Skills Required

Interns should be willing to work outside, able to hike in mudflats and uneven marsh terrain to field sites carrying heavy field equipment, willing to work odd-hours (often early due to tides), be dependable and punctual, be detail oriented even when using repetitive data-collection and data-entry methods, and comfortable working both as part of a team and independently. Interns should be comfortable interacting with children of all ages as well as their guardians and other visitors to the Reserve. Interns should be comfortable or willing to learn to drive various types of vehicles (4wd trucks to 12-person passenger vans). Experience with database and data analysis software to complete data entry and trend analyses of datasets is preferred but not required.

Type of Opportunity

Combined research and science communications


Remote or In-person:



South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Charleston, OR

Note – The intern’s place of work will be split between the Reserve science lab and offices, on the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology campus (Charleston, OR) and the Reserve Visitor Center within the Reserve proper, about 10 minutes’ drive away. Some housing is available at visiting researcher accommodations within the Reserve. The South Slough Reserve is in a rural setting with very limited public transportation options; therefore, having a personal vehicle is highly recommended. Interns with their own vehicles will have an easier time exploring the area and getting to town. Agency vehicles are available to interns for work use only.

Other Information

Intern Supervisor:

Jenni Schmitt

Number of Slots Available:



NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

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