Turtle Island Restoration Network’s California-based initiative, the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN), protects endangered, wild Coho salmon and the ecosystems they need to survive in West Marin County, California. We are currently undertaking the second phase of our largest restoration project yet, restoring a one-mile stretch of Lagunitas Creek. By re-creating lost floodplains and native riparian forest we are working to ensure coho salmon remain part of our ecosystem for generations to come. These actions will improve habitat for adult and juvenile coho salmon, steelhead trout, California freshwater shrimp, California red-legged frog, and a myriad of other wildlife species as part of an effort to reverse the decline of species statewide.

Position Summary

This is a six-month position, applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

SPAWN is seeking reliable and independent interns with a passion for environmental restoration to join our team. Under supervision from the Native Plant Nursery Manager, the Native Plant Nursery Intern will be responsible for management of day-to-day nursery operations. Our nursery currently contains over 100 native species and over 5,000 individual plants, these will be used for upcoming restoration projects, re-creating vital riparian ecosystems.

Nursery work includes seed collection and processing, plant propagation, transplanting, data collection and entry, upkeep of nursery facilities, and design and out-planting of riparian restoration projects. The intern will also help with leading weekly volunteer workdays in the nursery and field, guiding volunteers in carrying out these projects. Additionally, the nursery intern will support education programs related to plant propagation and restoration, as well as volunteer recruitment and outreach.

This position is ideal for those looking to gain hands-on experience in native plant propagation, nursery management, and community-based environmental restoration. Your work (40 hours a week) is compensated through accommodation in shared housing just five miles from our office, under the incredible coast redwoods. You will also have the opportunity to volunteer at the local food bank in exchange for weekly groceries.

Intern Roles & Responsibilities

  • This is a full-time position Monday-Friday (Saturdays occasionally required). Work will be primarily outdoors (all weather conditions) and may be around poison oak and ticks
  • Day-to-day nursery management, operations, and upkeep
  • Seed collection, processing, and germination
  • Plant propagation, transplanting, pruning, and irrigation
  • Updating inventory stock, managing plant database, data collection and entry
  • Providing training and guidance for volunteers related to nursery operations and field restoration work
  • Assist with running field trips for local schools
  • Restoration of riparian habitat through planting native species, invasive species removal, watering, and site maintenance
  • Data entry and database management: collect data on plant growth and survival at restoration sites, research on propagation techniques, and restoration site monitoring

We also encourage each intern to pursue a project of their choice! Past projects have focused on environmental education, plant propagation techniques, plant-wildlife interactions, and improving nursery operation.

Qualifications & Skills

  • Fieldwork experience or education in a relevant field
  • Experience in native (and exotic) plant identification and biology
  • Experience in nursery operations and horticultural practices
  • Interest in watershed ecology, fisheries biology, botany, and ecological restoration
  • Experience in vegetation monitoring
  • Experience in volunteer management
  • Ability to work outside in varying terrain and weather
  • Ability to lift up to 50lbs.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and organize oneself
  • Ability to use PC or Mac proficiently (Windows Office)
  • Driver’s license
  • Ability to project a positive image with the community
  • Creative thinker and interest in helping to improve and develop new methods and ideas for restoration programs

Learning Objectives

The Native Plant Nursery Internship will help you gain skills with native and invasive plant identification, native plant propagation, restoration techniques, project management, event organization, and volunteer management. Interns will also learn about the dynamic inner workings of a non-profit, including fundraising, community development, outreach, database management, and campaign support.


Salary: Unpaid.

Location: This position is located at our headquarters in Olema, California, with housing in Lagunitas.

Starting Time: This is a six-month position, applications reviewed and filled on rolling basis.

Hours: Full-time (40 hours/week) Monday-Friday, with Saturdays occasionally required.

Benefits: Coed housing is provided in a furnished house that features shared bedrooms, bathrooms and living spaces. The intern house is located five miles from our headquarters in a redwood forest, adjacent to State and National Parklands just 25 miles north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. You will also have the opportunity to volunteer at the local food bank in exchange for weekly groceries.

We are happy to work with academic departments to ensure the internship meets requirements for academic credit.

How to Apply

Please send a resume and cover letter to Native Plant Nursery Manager Audrey Fusco at audrey@seaturtles.org.