The Bald Head Island Conservancy internship program provides an opportunity for individuals to gain valuable experience and make a meaningful contribution to the organization’s mission. Interns work alongside Conservancy staff and assist with various projects related to conservation and environmental education.
In addition to departmental responsibilities, interns also assist with non-profit business management duties such as engaging with island visitors, signing up the public for programs and memberships, and working at special events and fundraisers. They may also assist with wildlife emergency response and work in the Turtle Central gift shop.
Summer interns have the additional responsibility of leading public educational sea turtle walk programs for Conservancy members. Training is provided to all interns to ensure they are prepared for their tasks.
Interns play a vital role in the success of the Bald Head Island Conservancy and gain valuable experience and skills that will serve them well in their future careers. The Conservancy offers a variety of internship opportunities, including positions in education, research, and conservation, and provides interns with a supportive and engaging work environment.
The Bald Head Island Conservancy welcomes applicants of all races, religions, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations. Our internship program is popular, competitive, and can be a life-changing experience for students and graduates!
Sea turtle interns conduct nightly beach patrols on foot or via all-terrain vehicles to intercept, tag and monitor nesting sea turtles and support scientific research on nesting populations. For a description of the Sea Turtle Protection Program. Sea turtle interns work a nocturnal schedule from 9PM – 6AM nightly. Summer season only.
Development interns assist with the management of the BHI Conservancy fundraising efforts, membership program, Adopt-A-Programs, Turtle Trot 5K runs/walks, and other fundraisers and special events.
Environmental Science Interns conduct environmental monitoring fieldwork and data management, including animal population surveys, aquifer water quality, invasive species monitoring and treatment, and tidal creek water quality. For a description of each program, click here. Conservation interns also lead wildlife emergency response, mainly birds and reptiles.
Marketing interns promote the BHI Conservancy through a variety of services such as: print and digital newsletters, social media, public relations, flyers, and other materials targeting on-island organizations. For more information, visit our social media accounts.
Education interns lead a variety of environmental education programs for families and children including classroom programs, island wildlife tours, kids fishing programs, and kayak trips. Education interns also lead seasonal day camps and school field trips.
Retail interns support Turtle Central Gift Shop in all retail functions of the store including promotions, Turtle Tuesday set up and activities (summer), marketing and advertising, sales, processing new inventory, merchandising of the store, and e-commerce sales.
All BHIC Interns Must:
Location Bald Head Island is part of the 12,000-acre Smith Island Complex and is accessible by passenger ferry from Southport, NC. It is a sustainably-developed barrier island with a community dedicated to living in harmony with nature. The island features approximately 1,100 homes, with ~200 permanent year-round residents, and a thriving population of vacationers. BHI Conservancy interns receive a living stipend and are provided shared, dorm-style housing on the island, all utilities, and weekly ferry tickets to and from the mainland.
Hours The BHI Conservancy office is open from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm every day. Conservation fieldwork and education programs may often occur outside of office hours, especially during the summer and sea turtle season. Interns work an average of 50 hours per week.
Independent Projects All interns are asked to lead an independent project as an individual or in a team, to help enhance the Conservancy’s mission and strategic goals of each department. Projects are a great way for interns to develop leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills, and to bring fresh ideas to the Conservancy. Interns will be given guidance by their supervisors and a few work hours each week to work on their projects. Projects will be presented at the end of the internship term.
Internships for Course Credit or Volunteer Opportunities We may be able to help interns meet course credit needs from their academic institutions if they fit within our existing internship framework – check with your BHI Conservancy supervisor.
If you are interested in long- or short-term volunteer opportunities and do not require housing, please contact our volunteer coordinator by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Internship program applications are submitted via email. Check the job announcement for specific instructions each year, and please follow instructions carefully. In your application, please include your resume, cover letter, and contact information for three references.
Top candidates are invited for a phone or video interview. The selection process may take 1-2 months after the application deadline: please be patient as we review applications with care!
The most successful internship applications are a good match for the skills and attributes mentioned in the job description and bring diverse perspectives to our program. Let your cover letter demonstrate why you are the best fit among many competitive applicants for an internship at Bald Head Island Conservancy!
Check our Job Openings page for job announcements during the open period.
I'm so glad I took the chance to apply and the experiences I've gained as a result. Not only have I worked with a wonderful staff, the island residents have been kind and made the whole internship even more enjoyable. BHIC has helped me gain valuable administrative skills, depend more on others, and just roll with the punches because you have to be flexible on the island. Practical skills include learning how to change a tire, how to kayak, and floating between departments in a small non-profit setting.
Since being with BHIC I have found an interest in marsh birds and hope to work a few seasonal positions before obtaining a graduate degree. Working in an environment like BHIC’s has been very rewarding. Everyone works well together and there is such a variety of skills and expertise; I feel so grateful to be able to work in such an environment so early on in my career!
This happened during our first week or two of the internship. Judith and I were leading a Turtle Walk on our own for the first time and were out on the beach watching for hatchlings. Part of the protocol for the program is to clean up Flemming afterwards (wiping down chairs, putting the biofacts and laptop back up) and while we were out, the Conservation team cleaned up the room for us! We came back after a long night to the room all clean. It is still one of my fondest memories – just to have that support and comradery early on says a lot about the people you are working with and invested me in BHIC, the internship program, and my fellow interns.
BHIC has solidified my passion for estuarine ecology and coastal conservation, and after my time here on the island ends, I’ll be continuing on with work in the sea turtle field. I consider myself to be indescribably lucky to have had the chance to live on Bald Head Island and work with people who have dedicated their lives to protecting the environment, and I can only hope to have as deep an impact on an organization as BHIC has had on me