GCBO organizes and conducts a variety of activities that benefit from intern participation, while at the same time providing learning opportunities and real life experiences to students. Because of our limited staff size, there are many activities that we have not been able to undertake because of the lack of human resources. While helping GCBO and the conservation community in general, undergraduate projects and internships provide valuable hands-on experiences for students. In addition, these activities provide many learning opportunities that can help to develop individual talents and skills, explore career options, make professional connections and obtain college credit in many cases. We can provide intern opportunities in two primary areas to support our conservation activities; education and applied ecology research. Our ecological research is focused on the study, monitoring and conservation of migratory birds and their habitats throughout the Gulf of Mexico. The focus areas we pursue via internships and undergraduate projects are: a) Urban-Wildlife Interactions, b) Ecology of Gulf Coast Breeding Birds, c) Stopover Ecology of Migratory Birds, d) Protection of Threatened Species, e) Outreach and Education of migratory bird ecology and conservation.
In past years we have worked with graduate and undergraduate students from Texas State University, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Texas A&M-Texarkana, Texas A&M-College Station, the University of Houston, and Georgetown University. These students worked on varied projects including American Oystercatcher Stewardship, Beach Nesting Birds Protection, Summer Bird Camp, Loggerhead Shrike trapping and banding, and analyzing Whooping Crane behavior and American Oystercatcher nesting videos.
For ongoing research projects that are already planned with well-defined specific data collection activities, interns can participate by joining field trips and supporting ongoing data collection activities. Students will get exposure to research activities and logistics and participate in data collection and analysis. This type of involvement is for students who are not pursuing individual research projects, but will support GCBO ongoing projects.
In addition, we have many other research needs for which there are no formal projects currently underway, but for which there are knowledge gaps and previously identified research needs. Students can help us fill these gaps to better define our research needs. If a student is interested in a particular species or geographical area they can also pursue an individual research project or undergraduate thesis, as any new information and data gathered based on specific ideas generated by a student help us fill knowledge gaps. We are open to all ideas that help support our mission of protecting birds and their habitats around the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.
We are able to provide housing for students at our headquarters for minimal or in some cases no cost. While we can host non-pay internships any time of year, we accept applications for our summer intern program from January through March and make a selection in April. Applications for summer interns will not be accepted after March 31. If you are interested in an internship, please contact us with a resume and letter of interest stating why you would like to intern at GCBO. Candidates with an interest in pursuing careers in avian conservation, research or outreach and education will be given priority.