1. Education & Outreach: Interns have the opportunity to engage with the public by giving presentations on fish identification, marine ecology, endangered species, and invasive lionfish. Audiences include adults and elementary, high school, and college students. REEF Interns build confidence and gain public speaking skills throughout the semester. REEF interns also have the opportunity to develop educational content and program materials used for the Ocean Explorers Programs.
2. Lionfish Derby Series & Lionfish-related Programs: Interns help organize and implement REEF's Lionfish Derby Series, hosted annually throughout Florida. Intern responsibilities at derbies include registering teams, measuring lionfish, filleting lionfish, dissecting lionfish, and educating the public. This varies by semester and may not be available to every intern group. Other Lionfish Programming includes Collecting & Handling Workshops, Lionfish Jewelry Making Workshops, and Lionfish Education Programs.
3. Daily Non-Profit Operations: A significant portion of the internship involves supporting business functions and member relations. Typical tasks include answering the phone, responding to emails, developing promotional and marketing materials, shipping out store orders, packaging citizen science materials for volunteers, assisting staff program leads on projects, and coordinating with partners and the public. There is never a dull day in the office!
4. Work Closely with REEF Staff & Volunteers: Marine Conservation Interns will work closely with the staff and volunteers that help make REEF the wonderful citizen science organization it is today. With the common goal of conserving marine environments worldwide, Interns will join a team that is passionate about conservation and dedicated to learning more about our underwater world.
5. Network and Volunteer with Local Organizations: The Keys are home to many organizations dedicated to the health and well-being of our oceans and terrestrial environments. Marine Conservation Interns will have the opportunity to meet and network with important figures in the field of conservation. Interns are encouraged to get involved in these local organizations to expand on their experience in the Keys.
6. Professional Development: Marine Conservation Interns at REEF will have the opportunity to have their resume and application materials reviewed by the REEF staff and other marine science professionals. Interns will meet with their supervisors to discuss their goals for their time at REEF and participate in professional development sessions hosted by REEF.
7. Exposure to a Wide Array of Marine Life: The Keys are home to a variety of habitats, from mangroves to coral reefs. As a result, a wide variety of species can be found on land or sea in the Keys. Marine Conservation Interns will learn to identify these species through Fish ID classes and experience diverse wildlife through our conservation partners.
8. Event Organizing & Community Outreach: Interns represent REEF and increase the public's awareness about marine conservation and ocean ecosystems at community events. Interns set up interactive displays and talk with the public at local art walks, music festivals, state park events, science nights, career days, non-profit events, and more throughout the Florida Keys and South Florida. REEF interns also have the opportunity to create and facilitate events that align with REEF's mission as a personal project. Past intern-led events include trivia night, movie night, lionfish jewelry workshops, Earth Day event, sustainability night, marine debris cleanup, and native tree planting event.
9. Leave your Legacy: A unique feature of this internship is the freedom and encouragement to start your own initiatives. If inspiration strikes or you want more experience doing specific work, you can branch out! Past intern-led projects include The Giving REEF, graphic design projects, Headquarters improvements (installation of an electric car charger, butterfly garden, interpretive signs, etc.), teaching materials translation, Virtual Field Trips development, Earth Day events, creating social media content, and more.
10. Diving/Snorkeling and Volunteer Opportunities: The Marine Conservation Internship presents volunteer opportunities for diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and working with partner organizations. Interns have the chance to go scuba diving or snorkeling with a local dive shop and conduct fish surveys on their own time.*** Marine Conservation Interns act as REEF ambassadors on the dive boats, encouraging other divers to become REEF members and to get involved with the Volunteer Fish Survey Project. REEF supports volunteer opportunities by making introductions to partners and providing time off on weekdays for Interns to volunteer. Many local dive shops offer diving at no cost to Marine Conservation Internship Program participants, and some dive operators will offer dive certifications at reduced costs for Marine Conservation Interns.