NOAA Brings Conservation Internship Program to the Coasts

October 14, 2008

NOAA and the Student Conservation Association have signed an agreement that will pave the way for conservation interns to protect some of the most valued coastal natural resources, working with many of the nation’s premier marine scientists.

VADM Lautenbacher and Dale Penny, President and CEO of the Student Conservation Association sign the memorandum of agreement.
VADM Lautenbacher and Dale Penny, President and CEO of the Student Conservation Association sign the memorandum of agreement.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

SCA is a national force of interns and volunteers who annually render nearly two million hours of hands-on conservation service to public lands in all 50 states. Partnering with NOAA, the program will expand to provide career-development opportunities in marine and coastal management fields.

“This relationship will help NOAA build a pipeline to bring talented college students into government service to meet a growing need for skilled scientists,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “SCA has over 50 years of experience providing conservation experience to youth and helping agencies invest in their future workforce.”

It is expected that the first round of internships will last six months and will involve marine habitat restoration and monitoring relevant scientific data to assist NOAA project managers.

“Although the majority of SCA’s interns currently serve with land management agencies,” said Scott C. Weaver, SCA Senior Vice President. “I hope our NOAA partnership will grow and diversify to the point that these bright and skillful students will have just as broad an array of ocean-based and coastal management internships.”  

This agreement matches NOAA’s desire to open opportunities for young scientists and conservationists with SCA’s ability to recruit highly motivated individuals who are committed to conservation work.

NOAA is pursuing several recruiting programs, including working with SCA on these innovative internships, to help offset a predicted shortage of marine scientists. In a recent report, the federal departments of Commerce and Education forecast a serious shortage of scientists trained to do the high-quality research required to rebuild fish stocks and restore marine species in the next decade.

The SCA is a nationwide service force of college and high school interns who protect and restore America’s parks, forests, and other public lands. Since 1957, SCA’s active, hands-on practice of conservation has helped to develop new generations of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.