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Home  |   Get Involved  |   Volunteering & Internships  |   Academic Internship Program

Academic Internship Program

Harbor Community Academic Internship


International Bird Rescue recently received a grant from the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation* to support students from the Los Angeles area interested in interning at Bird Rescue. The purpose of our Academic Internship Program is to engage local young people interested in biology, wildlife or environmental conservation in this special internship opportunity. Interns begin the program with an introduction to our animal care program, followed by participation in a group or individual research project and completed with a community presentation or poster. This is a unique program focused on introducing students to the protection of our local wildlife; interns gain valuable skills and knowledge about aquatic birds not available in typical classroom settings. Interns will learn about triage, basic wound management, food/housing needs, contaminant removal, water-proofing, individual and herd health case management, species identification and natural history, husbandry, enrichment, handling techniques and avian anatomy. Additionally, interns become ambassadors for Bird Rescue and the animals they care for. Through outreach in their local communities, speaking to schools and other youth, they will help increase environmental awareness about the species cared for at Bird Rescue. This program is only available at the Los Angeles Center in San Pedro, CA.

What's it like to intern at International Bird Rescue? from International Bird Rescue on Vimeo.

Program Curriculum

Animal care introduction

Learn the basics of rehabilitation - from rescue to release. Interns 18 years of age and older will gain hands-on experience, while helping wildlife patients and learning from staff and highly trained volunteers. Depending on the seasons, interns may assist with the care of ducklings, juvenile pelicans, stranded grebes and other aquatic birds. Interns under the age of 18 will shadow clinic staff and have the opportunity to witness animal care in action.

Research project

Participate in a research project based on clinic cases. Project options include but are not limited to: research on cases of birds oiled from natural seepage off the coast of California, injuries from human related activities (fish hooks), release rates versus diagnosis on intake, etc.  Interns will gain experience with science writing and data collection and interpretation.

Wildlife rehabilitation and oil spill response

Throughout the program, interns will be engaged in a number of different activities where they will learn about oil spill response, environmental issues affecting aquatic birds, local habitat restoration and studies on aquatic bird care.  Interns will learn to use critical thinking skills to write essays, research information and gain a better understanding of these topics.

Final community oral or poster presentation

Completion of the program will consist of an oral and poster presentation or other media incorporating the results of the research project as well as many of the various aspects of aquatic bird rehabilitation, animal care and spill response learned throughout the program. Interns will have the opportunity to share their research results and information about the local aquatic bird species with the local community.


See Fishing Line Research Poster

Eligibility and internship parameters

How to apply

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for internships starting in 2017. Submit your application and upload the required documents through our online internship application.

Required documents:

Note: Two letters of recommendation from professional references (school, work, sports coach, etc.) are required if you will be over the age of 18 at the start of your internship.  If you will be under the age of 18 when you plan to start your internship, only 1 recommendation letter is needed.  Letter(s) must be signed on official letterhead and submitted by your reference(s) to internships@bird-rescue.org with the subject line "Harbor Academic Internship Recommendation Letter - Applicant Last Name - Reference Last Name".

Want more information?

For questions or comments, contact us at internships@bird-rescue.org.

Apply Now!

*Harbor Community Benefit Foundation (HCBF) is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization formed in 2011. Its mission is to assess, protect, and improve the health, quality of life, aesthetics, and physical environment of the harbor communities of San Pedro and Wilmington, California, which have been impacted by the Port of Los Angeles. HCBF accomplishes this through grantmaking, independent research, and community events.