1. Outreach and Education: Interns represent REEF and increase the public's awareness about marine conservation and ocean ecosystems at community events. REEF Marine Conservation Interns set up interactive displays and engage with the public at events such as seafood festivals, art shows, fishing tournaments, science nights, and boat shows throughout the Florida Keys and South Florida.
2. Lionfish Derby Series: Marine Conservation Interns will have the chance to be involved in at least one Lionfish Derby during their time at REEF. Derbies are an opportunity to learn about the invasive lionfish that have established in the Keys, and throughout the Caribbean. Marine Conservation Interns will learn to dissect lionfish, learn about the impact of this invasive species, and assist with documenting the data collected during Lionfish Derbies.
3. Daily Non-Profit Operations: A significant portion of the internship consists of working in the REEF HQ office in Key Largo. REEF Marine Conservation Interns are often the first point of contact representing our organization. Tasks range from answering phone calls and interacting with visitors to scientific data entry and event planning. There's never a dull day in the office!
4. Work with REEF 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 be joining 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, as well as participate in professional development workshops 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, as well as experience diverse wildlife through our conservation partners.
8. Event Organizing: REEF interns are treated as valuable members of the team and play a huge part in making our events happen. As an intern you will learn valuable skills in event planning by organizing lionfish derbies, socials like Fish & Friends, REEF Fest, summer camps, and more!
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 a certain kind of 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.), translation of teaching materials, creating content for social media, and more.
10. Diving 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 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 participants in the Marine Conservation Internship Program and some dive operators will offer dive certifications at reduced costs for Marine Conservation Interns.