River Partners Science Internship Program

Training the next generation of conservation leaders

2020 intern Twyla Capurro studied soil health at our 1,400-acre Hamilton City restoration site along the Sacramento River.

River Partners began restoring riverside landscapes more than 20 years ago, and in that time we’ve brought life back to tens of thousands of acres of habitat to benefit California’s environment and people. To keep this momentum going well into the future, we need biologists, ecologists, and other science-minded students to join the statewide effort to rebuild imperiled California river landscapes.

Interns have always been important contributors to River Partners’ work, but today our internship program has evolved into an exciting and innovative opportunity that welcomes students from two- and four-year colleges and universities in and around California. Interns work on active habitat restoration project sites, collecting and analyzing plant and wildlife data out in the field to inform River Partners’ conservation strategies

“As a student, it’s critical to gain real-life work experience outside the classroom and this internship was a perfect opportunity to do that,” says Twyla Capurro, who completed a River Partners science internship in the summer of 2020. “Working with them gave me the opportunity to gain some real hands-on field and research experience.”

As science interns, students take on self-directed research projects, collecting data from River Partners’ habitat restoration sites in one of four California regions (Chico, Sacramento, Turlock, and San Diego). Capurro’s research examined the health of soil amended with walnut wood chips at our Hamilton City project, a 1,400-acre restoration located along the Sacramento River in Northern California. Other student projects have focused on insect diversity, predation of endangered riverbank species such as the riparian brush rabbit, and the presence of aquatic species like salmon on active floodplains.

2020 intern Carissa Stanz studied mammal diversity at our San Dieguito and Rancho Jamul sites in San Diego County.

“My summer internship gave me the freedom to conduct an independent study on plant survival on gravel bar deposits,” says former River Partners intern Jessica Shippen. “It was hard work, but ultimately very rewarding. I recommend it to all young scientists hoping to get their boots dirty and gain some rewarding experience out working in the field.”

River Partners internships are paid positions, and the experience students gain can lead to fulltime opportunities down the road. “Beyond being satisfying, fun and totally insightful, my internship with River Partners opened doors,” says Capurro. “I am now working with California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which is totally awesome. It was undoubtedly my experience with River Partners that inspired me to work more closely with wildlife and lead me to the job I have now.”

For more information about our internships, visit River Partners Careers. Applications will be accepted until April 16.

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River Partners is helping lead a shift in how we restore floodplains and re-value our river forests. River/Shift shares the latest developments on the restoration projects, advances in science and technology, and partnerships that are bringing life back to rivers to benefit the ecosystems, economies and communities of California.

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Solutions at scale are more urgently needed than ever. We welcome you to learn more about our projects near your community, contact us with partnership and strategic restoration opportunities, or support our work.