Scientific Illustration Apprenticeship

Point Blue Conservation

Monterey, California

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $18.75 per hour
Deadline Jun 03, 2024
Required Experience 0 - 1 years

Scientific Illustration Apprenticeship 

Location: Based in Monterey Bay Area, California

Reports to: Lishka Arata, Point Blue Communications Manager

Duration: Mid-July through mid-September 2024 (8 weeks total; some flexibility on start and end dates)

About Point Blue

Point Blue Conservation Science, founded as Point Reyes Bird Observatory in 1965, is a growing and internationally renowned non-profit with over 160 staff and scientists based in Petaluma, California. Point Blue’s programs have evolved over time to include a broad range of conservation activity, from restoration to environmental education, climate-smart conservation with a focus on nature-based solutions to innovative work in the field of regenerative agriculture. Our mission has remained to conserve birds, other wildlife, and their ecosystems through science, partnership, and outreach. We have a proven track record of scientific excellence, and long-standing partnerships with Federal, State, and local government agencies as well as other non-profit and community groups.

Through art and science collaborations at Point Blue, we seek to increase the number of people who understand the value of nature and their place in it; know the challenges we face when nature is destroyed or threatened; and are actively participating in solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss. We also seek to increase the depth of understanding and the impact of climate and biodiversity solutions.

We recognize that increasing racial, gender, cultural, and other diversity, equity, and inclusion aspects at Point Blue and in our partnerships is essential for the success of our mission, vision, and strategy. We are actively engaging in a process to create lasting organizational change. We seek applicants from all backgrounds to join our teams. We strongly encourage applications from people with backgrounds that are under-represented in the conservation community.

About the Position

Our overarching goal for this learning experience is to merge art and science towards increasing engagement in conservation actions. We aim to provide an early career scientific illustrator with meaningful knowledge, skills, and hands-on experiences in conservation science that can make a real difference in their career journey.

Learning goals include building skills to:

  • Explore how to represent ecological studies and conservation efforts through illustration
  • Enhance skills to engage target audience(s) in conservation science goals through inspiring illustration work
  • Practice the process of creating and successfully completing a science illustration project in collaboration with a team of communications, science, and other conservation staff

Approximate timeline and components

The selected apprentice will spend the first week of their experience receiving orientation to the organization and its people at Point Blue’s Petaluma Headquarters. The second week will  be spent studying and exploring key conservation science goals within the Monterey Bay team’s scope of work, then devising a work plan with their supervisor. The Monterey Bay team focuses on Western Snowy Plover ecology & conservation, as well as climate-smart coastal adaptation strategies. The next three weeks will be spent immersing in the field with scientists and creating art within the identified science illustration project(s). The last three weeks will be spent refining the final artwork with science and other support staff and mentors, preparing and delivering a presentation about the project and apprenticeship experience for Point Blue, the funder, and community members. In the last week the apprentice will also be asked to participate in an exit interview to provide feedback for improving the experience for future applicants.

Applicant Qualifications

  • This position is for an early career science illustrator with between 2 and 5 years experience practicing science illustration
  • Must be have the equivalent of a minimum of 2 years experience in a science/nature illustration program or doing science illustration work consistently
  • Possess a strong interest in engaging people in conservation issues and solutions (like, climate change, pollution, energy use, nature-based solutions, habitat restoration, etc.)
  • Experience and/or desire to incorporate social justice into project a plus
  • Multilingual applicants strongly encouraged to apply
  • Must have the ability to work in the U.S. (Point Blue is currently unable to offer visa sponsorship)

Expected Work Hours & Travel

6 hours per day on weekdays (M-F); some flexibility in hours worked and time frame to accommodate other responsibilities or employment if needed.

Apprentice is expected to be able to procure their own transportation to and from the Petaluma Headquarters for the orientation week, and transportation to field sites around the Monterey Bay Area (although carpooling with field staff may be available at times).

Work Environment

Point Blue takes teamwork, collaboration, and diversity, equity, and inclusion seriously. Your supervisor will work to create an atmosphere of openness, acceptance, and empowerment during your internship. You will be provided with a structured way to check in and share updates on how things are going for you, with discussion on how to make adjustments as needed. We work to create a workplace where people feel welcome to be and express their full selves.

Office/studio space is not provided by Point Blue and must be identified independently by the apprentice.

Work hours will include a mix of being outside observing and assisting with scientific research, sitting or standing inside for research & meetings, and indoor or outdoor studio work, depending on the artist’s medium, preference, and set-up.

Compensation & Benefits

The apprentice will be paid $18.75 per hour. Transportation using a personal vehicle to field sites from within 20 miles of field sites will be reimbursed at the federal rate. Binoculars and scope are available to borrow. Housing is not provided.

$500 to $800 will be available for art supplies and printing costs as needed. Amount to be determined during the work plan phase.

Benefits are limited to up to 40 hours (5 days) of paid sick time, that accrue every bi-weekly pay period.

Application Process & Timeline

  • Application Opens: May 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Jun 3, 2024
  • Applicants Selected for Interviews: Jun 4, 2024 – Jun 7, 2024
    • Thirty minute interviews will be scheduled.
  • Interviews: Jun 10, 2024 – Jun 14, 2024
    • Interview questions will be shared beforehand.
  • Notification of Application Status: Jun 19, 2024
  • Internship start date between Jul 15, 2024 – Jul 22, 2024

Point Blue is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate against applicants or employees because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, citizenship status, disability status of an otherwise qualified individual, membership or application for membership in an uniformed service, or membership in any other class protected by applicable law and will make reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities to complete the application and/or participate in the interview process.


How to apply

Please fill out this application, which includes a mandatory section to share an interest area and/or project proposal. Please feel free to reach out with questions to Lishka Arata at jobs@pointblue.org.


When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Admin & Leadership , Ecology , General / Stewardship , Sustainability
Tags Outreach