A collaborative partnership between mentors and scholars designed to deepen skills, knowledge, and networks within conservation practice.

The Second Year Internships are an opportunity for scholars to engage in a conservation project led by an organization in Washington State. Each year we partner with organizations that represent an array of conservation practices and disciplinary approaches to conservation. The dual aims of the internships are to provide an enriching opportunity for the scholars to explore personal interests and develop skill sets in conservation, while also being of service to their host organization.

Internship projects are co-designed and implemented by a Conservation Practice Team (CPT) composed of conservation professionals from partner organizations and scholars with matched career interests. CPTs engage in reciprocal learning, where each member offers unique perspectives, experiences, and talents that contribute to the successful outcome of the internship experience. 

Concurrent with their internships, scholars also engage in DDCSP @ UW programming that aims to nurture a conservation community of practice. Foundational to the second summer is the cultivation of individual and collective agency and storytelling skills. The second summer culminates in each scholar publicly presenting both the outcome of their internship project and their own personal conservation story at the annual Conservation Summit.

If you are interested in becoming a DDCSP@UW mentor, please contact Dr. Melissa Mark or Dr. Martha Groom


Past Internship Projects

Marine Mammal Conservation Using Long-Term Sightings Data and Public Engagement

The Whale Museum

The Sightings Network at the Whale Museum (TWM) has existed since 1976 and has archived data from as early as 1948. Scholars help the Sightings Network develop and deploy new data management and data visualization tools for the marine mammal sightings database. Scholars also create new public engagement tools to facilitate community science and communicate interesting findings.

Climate Change Mitigation through Land Stewardship

The Black Farmers Collective

The Black Farmers Collective is a mutual aid network of Black-led, regenerative farms in partnership with other BIPOC farmers, organizers, and leaders.  Scholars learn about grassroots organizational structure, facilitate volunteer and educational programming, and engage in on-farm work (e.g. native plant restoration, stormwater mitigation, soil building, pollinator habitat). The farm manager and lead mentor is a DDCSP@UW alum, Hannah Wilson (2017).

Land Preservation through Farmland Conservation Easements

King County Agricultural Program

King County has been acquiring conservation easements on farmland for 40 years and manages county-owned and privately owned farmland to be ecologically sustainable and economically viable.  Scholars are engaged in two key areas of farmland conservation: farmland preservation (e.g. farmland selection, landowner negotiations, easement monitoring) and farmland management (e.g. assessment and monitoring of farmer-wildlife conflict, infrastructure support to new immigrant/refugee farmers).

Conservation of Urban Carnivore and Bat Populations

Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo’s unique Living Northwest conservation program helps to recover native wildlife populations, establish long-term ecological resilience in Northwest landscapes, and empower all people to be wildlife conservationists. Scholars conduct research and outreach on human-wildlife interactions and coexistence for the Seattle Urban Carnivore project, and create data visualizations and communication pieces as part of the North American Bat Monitoring Program.

Wetland Ecology and Monitoring on Wetland Compensation Sites 

Washington State Department of Transportation

Wetland compensatory mitigation is required by the Clean Water Act and is a process that compensates for adverse effects development projects have on wetlands, streams, lakes, and other aquatic resources. Scholars engage in wetland ecology research and use a variety of quantitative and qualitative techniques to monitor wetland sites that have been restored, re-established and preserved by the state of Washington to preserve nature and water quality and quantity.

Research on Sustainable Rural Development to Conserve Farms, Forests, and Wildlands


For 25 years Forterra has been bringing about powerful, practical and positive change by conducting land transactions, stewarding land, engaging communities and conceiving and advancing forward-thinking policies. Scholars engage in several research efforts (i.e.place-making by immigrant communities, ecosystem service market analysis, sustainable rural development) aimed at fostering healthy ecosystems and strong communities across large landscapes. 

Protection and Conservation of Culturally and Spiritually Significant Natural Resources

Dept of Environmental Protection, Swinomish Tribe

The Swinomish Tribe is engaged in research on the protection and conservation of camas and salmon, both culturally and spiritually significant natural resources. Scholars work with an indigenous science team to test the viability of growing camas, and research plans for reintroduction into diets. Scholars also conduct hydrogeomorphology research to support restoration of salmon habitat.

Reclaiming Indigenous Histories of Protected Areas Through Public Education

The Nature Conservancy

TNC stewards the Conservancy’s reserves within Ebey’s Landing Historic Reserve on Whidbey Island, WA. The scholars research Tribal histories and present-day relationships to the area with the goal of protecting and preserving an inclusive historical record of the area. Scholars develop appropriate informational materials for place-names, informational materials, and signage on the preserve.

Impacts of Human-Wildlife Interactions on Native Species Ecology on the San Juan Islands

Evergreen State College and Friday Harbor Laboratories

This project focuses on studying the behavior of local species while also focusing on impacts of human activity, and vice versa in a region that is a popular vacation site in Washington state – San Juan Island. Scholars engage in several techniques in behavioral ecology, including how to describe behaviors, sampling and recording methodologies, and data collection and analysis.

Preservation and Enhancement of Aquatic Ecosystems with a Particular Focus on Beavers

Beavers Northwest

Beavers Northwest is a small nonprofit that works to preserve and enhance aquatic ecosystems through technical assistance, research, outreach, and education with a particular focus on beavers and the wetlands they create. Scholars work on the development of a beaver management plan for Seattle Parks and Recreation, implementation and monitoring of beaver management devices, and public engagement on beaver conservation.


Protection of Urban Garden Greenspaces through Soil Contaminant Identification and Mitigation

University of Washington, Bothell Malone Lab

Urban community gardens in diverse and economically compromised neighborhoods are known to be located in historically contaminated locations. Scholars are engaged in a number of research activities to explore the sources of, and ways in which, contaminants impact urban community gardens in Seattle, WA including soil and plant sampling, laboratory research, data analysis and processing, interviews and surveys, and spatial analysis.

Fostering Nature Connections for Immigrant Communities through Environmental Youth Leadership and Traditional Land Practices


The Danny Woo Community Garden in the Chinatown International District Neighborhood of Seattle supports biological and cultural diversity in an extremely urbanized and densely populated neighborhood. Scholars observe and document traditional land practices of the indigenous, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese gardeners and share and teach these practices with InterIm’s Summer W.I.L.D. youth program.

The Response of Culturally Important Plant Species to Fire and the Role of Indigenous Burning Practices in a Changing Climate

University of Washington, Seattle Fire Ecology Lab

University of Washington Fire ecology researchers, The Climate Impacts Group, and The Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Department are using the recent catastrophic fires of 2020 to study the past, present, and future role of fire in Cascadia. Scholars research how culturally important plant species respond to fire, traditional Indigenous burning practices, and potential forest management adaptations in a warmer future and more fire in the region. 

Guidance for Partnership with NW Tribes on Land Acquisition to Support Conservation Priorities

The Trust for Public Lands

The Trust for Public Land seeks to develop an advisory committee with an understanding of Indigenous sovereignty, governance, law, culture, and natural resource issues to guide tribal collaboration on land acquisition projects. Scholars research how external leaders, educators, and advocates are working with NW Tribes, the roles they serve, and how these individuals and their work may align with the mission of The Trust for Public Land.

Elwha River(4)

National Park Service Shared Beringian Heritage Program

Host Site; Shared Beringian Heritage Program

Under the auspices of the National Park Service, The Shared Beringian Heritage Program (SBHP) seeks to recognize and celebrate the unique natural resources and rich cultural heritage shared by Russia and the United States across the landscapes and seascapes known as Beringia. This area is principally composed of the land, sea and peoples that once connected North America and Asian during the Pleistocene ice ages. The primary goal of the program is to sustain the cultural vitality of its indigenous people and promote understanding and preservation of the region’s resources.

The proposed project would hold the focus of introducing the scholar to the unique geographical and cultural landscape of Beringia chiefly through the preparation of resource briefs. The internship was a journey of learning and then producing several deliverables for SBHP. The beginning focused on full immersion in remote learning about Beringia, its natural and cultural history and what the present day looks like there. Then two articles were created about two projects that SBHP has and is funding to be published on the SBHP website to promote accessibility and availability of the projects. In addition there was work done on consolidating information and resources about the Beringia Days conference.

Amplifying Community Engagement for the Urban Marine Program

Host Site; Washington Sea Grant

As part of our values statement, WSG strives to ensure the right of all people to live and work in a clean environment, and to eliminate disparities in access to natural resources, opportunities, and decision-making processes. To do this effectively, WSG will explore potential new projects related to equitable access to ecosystem services and marine resources within urban populations. Currently, WSG has limited programming that engages with urban populations of Washington, and specifically does not have programming that is focused on access to ecosystem services, and marine foods and resources in urban spaces. With this exploratory opportunity, community needs associated with urban populations’ use of the marine environment and participation in decision-making processes, will be assessed, and program gaps that may be filled by WSG will be identified. Specifically, the aim of this activity is to explore the needs of communities of color and traditional and local knowledge holders that are currently underserved and underrepresented in WSG outreach programming in urban environments.

Restoring Clam Gardens of the Pacific Northwest while Learning from Native Hawaiian Fishponds

Host Site; Dr. Marco Hatch, Coastal Communities & Ecology Lab at Western Washington University

“Under the mentorship of Marco Hatch at Western Washington University and Northwest Indian college, my project revolved around the restoration process of clam gardens. Clam gardens are an indigenous aquaculture practice that was historically found along the Northwest coast, spanning in today’s world from Washington, through British Columbia, and into Alaska (more to be learned here: clamgarden.com). While the practice has experienced a mass fallout in recent history, there has been a resurgence in their recognition in the last 25 years and multiple efforts have begun with the aim of restoring these gardens.

During my internship, there were two main pieces to the work I was doing. The first piece involved the processing and stitching of drone images taken along the coast of Orcas Island. This work involved working with Open Drone Map software to stitch the images, as well as documenting the steps I took so that the process could be replicated later on for similar purposes. The goal behind these images was to locate potential remnants of clam garden structures in Washington specifically, which has not been done before. The second part of the project made use of a preexisting partnership between Washington, Hawaii, and Alaska SeaGrant which focuses on indigenous aquaculture restoration. Similar to clam gardens, Native Hawaiian fishponds (loko i’a) are in the process of being restored, however they are relatively far ahead of clam gardens in this restoration process. Given this situation and the fact that I am currently at home, in Hawaii, I was able to interview people working on both clam garden and loko i’a restoration to see what major themes and lessons can be learned and carried forward in this work. The final deliverable for this part of the project takes the form of a report containing everything that I found.”

– 2019 Scholar Skyler Chong

Land For Food: Building Advocacy Capacity to Strengthen the Local Food System in Snohomish County

Host Site; Forterra

“Forterra is a non-profit that works to promote equitable, sustainable, land-use practices that help build and foster human non-human ecosystems and communities. Our Land for Food project was focused on Snohomish County. Snohomish County is one of the fastest growing regions in the country, with nearly 10,000 residents moving to the county over the past year. This population growth was due in large part to the significant increase in the cost of living in neighboring King County and Seattle, which has pushed residents into surrounding areas including Snohomish County to the north. Given this rapid growth and development—and given the fact that the majority of Snohomish County’s population growth has occurred in unincorporated areas rather than cities—there is a need to identify key food policy issues in anticipation of shifting demographics and land-use priorities.

In our internship, we reviewed policies and comprehensive plans in south Snohomish County as well as demographic trends. The combination of these analyses showed us where there are strengths and weaknesses in Snohomish County’s food systems. We also reached out to many organizations that help the county’s emergency food supply. These include food banks, religious organizations, community gardens, and school programs. Ultimately our deliverables enabled us to see the scope of Snohomish County’s emergency food supply. Our deliverables included an asset resource catalog, policy review and analysis, and a slide deck presentation.”

– 2019 Scholars Prasadini Gross & Simren Rai

Duwamish Floating Wetland
photo of the floating wetland in action on the Duwamish River

On Science, Language, & Community

Host Site; Duwamish Floating Wetlands Project at Green Futures Lab

“This summer, I interned with the Duwamish Floating Wetlands Project, one of two projects originating in the Green Futures Lab at the University of Washington. I had a unique hybrid experience—twice a week, I was able to spend time out on the BioBarges, where I worked with community members and the GFL team to monitor how these floating wetland structures were impacting fish and invertebrate populations, plant growth, water quality, and more. Later in the season, my in-person time transitioned to lab work, processing plant and invertebrate samples as the BioBarges were decommissioned.

Out of the field, I spent my time developing social media content for the project, writing posts for the GFL’s blog, and engaging with my own reflective, creative work around science, language, history, and positionality. I wasn’t sure how to combine all of these elements into a cohesive project, so my “project” is in many ways the story of my summer, as told through photos, poems, and reflective pieces. I’m currently working on a website where all my work is housed, and depending on how things go, might also put together a zine exploring themes of definition, extraction, and collaboration in science.”

– 2019 Scholar Ayana Harscoet

Wreck Creek Climate Change Habitat Survey and Monitoring Program

Host site; Quinault Indian Nation: Department of Natural Resources

Conservation Project Overview Statement:

The Environmental Protection department of the Quinault Indian Nation is beginning year two of a long term monitoring project to help identify localized changes due to climate change and anthropogenic processes in two coastal stream watersheds. This is an annual project that includes summertime temperature monitoring and small scale habitat monitoring throughout both watersheds. In order to help manage and mitigate for climate change on these smaller coastal rain driven systems we must better understand the changes that are occuring.

Project field site (region): Quinault Indian Nation

King County's Clean Water Healthy Habitat Agenda

Host site; King County Water and Land Resources Division

Conservation Project Overview Statement:

King County has a long history of protecting and restoring clean water and healthy habitat through land conservation, habitat restoration, wastewater treatment, stormwater management, and clean-up of historic pollution. Even with these efforts, orca remain critically endangered and Puget Sound salmon runs continue to decline. As this region experiences rapid growth and a changing climate, we must focus our future investments on actions that will bring the greatest gains for orca, salmon, and our quality of life before it’s too late.

Project field site (region): King County – Puget Sound Lowlands

Bat biodiversity
Stephen collecting data on bat biodiversity in the San Juan Islands with Rochelle Kelly. Photo by Joseph Eusebio

Authentic Engagement with Priority Communities in King County, WA

Host Site; Woodland Park Zoo

Conservation Project Overview Statement:

Woodland Park Zoo’s mission is to save wildlife and inspire everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives. In the Learning & Innovation department, we aim to connect our audiences with this mission by providing relevant, engaging experiences that foster empathy and inspire conservation action. For the communities that we will involve through this internship, we will focus on authentic
relationship-building to identify relevant strategies for wildlife conservation engagement and pro-environmental behavior.

Project field site (region): Seattle Metro Area

Effects of Warming Ocean Temperatures on the Marine Snail, Lacuna Vincta, in Kelp and Eelgrass Environments

Host site; University of Washington - Friday Harbor Labs

Conservation Project Overview Statement:

This project helps contribute to ecological research on how marine ecosystems are affected by climate change. Specifically looking at how snails, which are ecologically important in marine food webs, are affected by warming ocean temperatures contributes to assessments of ecological responses to climate change especially in the context of the vulnerable environments they inhabit like eelgrass beds, which are currently threatened by warming and disease.

Project field site (region): Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands

Malayshia Lumpkin and Robin Chakrabarti work on their GIS analysis. 508DD0264
Malayshia Lumpkin and Robin Chakrabarti work on their GIS analysis. 508DD0264

San Juan Islands Sound Mapping: Measuring the Sonic Impacts of Visitors to Moran and Obstruction Pass State Parks

University of Minnesota; Mark Pedelty

Conservation Project Overview Statement:

The sound-mapping project is measuring sound levels in five campgrounds in order to provide park administrators with the information they need to make evidence-based decisions when setting public land use policy. Using Sound Pressure Level meters, iPads, anemometers, and Kaleidoscope sound software, team members are measuring sound levels in relation to several park use and occupancy variables.

Project field site (region): Orcas Island

Common Destiny: Linking Papua New Guinea and Lummi Nation Conservation Stewards

Host Site; Woodland Park Zoo

Conservation Project Overview Statement:

Operating under Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, this is on the front lines of utilizing a community-centered and interdisciplinary approach to natural resource management as we collaborate with other indigenous groups to strengthen the approach of local stewardship of resources. This project is the bringing together of different indigenous groups and conservation and health practitioners to learn from each other and look for common solutions.

Project field site (region): Seattle Metro Area & Lummi Nation (Bellingham)

Mount Rainier (39)

NOAA Science Camp: Engaging Youth in Hands-On Science Learning About Our Ocean and Atmosphere

Host Site; Washington Sea Grant

Conservation Project Overview Statement:

Washington Sea Grant partners with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) to offer two one-week day camp programs to middle and high school youth that highlights the multidisciplinary research that NOAA conducts to address environmental issues on local and national scales. NOAA Science Camp is working to incorporate more traditional knowledge into existing curricula and scope future programming opportunities.

Project field site (region): Seattle Metro Area

UrbanGardensPollinatorPatch copy
Saloni Dagli and Robin Chakrabarti are analyzing pollinators in this community garden in West Seattle. 508DD0116

Sharing Traditional Land Practices in the Danny Woo Community Garden

Host Site; InterIm CDA

Conservation Project Overview Statement:

By incorporating more culturally relevant and place-based environmental science lessons into the children’s programming, our WILD youth program participants will learn traditional growing techniques of culturally significant and rare plants grown from saved seeds from China, Korea, and Vietnam. This project will help PoC youth understand their connection with and contribution to the biocultural diversity of the Danny Woo Community Garden.

Project field site (region): Seattle Metro Area

UrbanGardensChrisDyaami copy
Dyaami D'Orazio and Chris Deleon (year two) analyze urban ecosystem services in a community garden in Seattle's International District. 508DD0010

Exploring Indigenous/POC Solidarity Organizing for Public Lands

Host sites; Sierra Club and Latino Outdoors

Conservation Project Overview Statement:

The way the caribou go, the way the Gwich’in go. Since time immemorial, the Gwich’in people have made this clear – their very existence and way of life depends on the health of the porcupine caribou in the Arctic Refuge. Our human lives are deeply intertwined with the natural world around us. Mainstream environmentalism, by contrast, consistently disregards this connection between people and land. Instead,
organizations, like the Sierra Club systemically overlook stories that don’t fit the John Muir mold.

This project, co-hosted by the Sierra Club and Latino Outdoors, challenges mainstream organizations (such as the Club) to explore non-traditional stories of connection to environmentalism. This project will have a strong emphasize on the intersection of fossil fuel extraction, public lands and marginalized communities with most of the work focusing on the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.

Project field site (region): Seattle Metro Area

Woodland Park Zoo's Living Northwest Program: Conservation and Science in Our Home Region

Host Site; Woodland Park Zoo

Conservation Project Overview Statement:

The Seattle Urban Carnivore Project aims to increase Seattle residents’ understanding of the natural communities within which they live, and provide them with opportunities to participate in citizen science and data collection. Further, this project will provide policymakers and managers with specific recommendations for enhancing the ability of people and wildlife to coexist in urban environments. Lastly, our pond turtle and silverspot efforts are hands-on population augmentation efforts, and are making a difference in supporting sustainable populations of these important species.

Project field site (region): Seattle Metro Area

Mount Rainier
Dr. Janneke Hille Ris Lambers leads students back down the trail after completing a survey for the Meadow Watch program. 508DD0480