Coastal Advocacy Institute

This program offers an opportunity to learn valuable skills in grassroots organizing, media relations, coastal policy, habitat restoration, environmental education and in a wide range of other fields necessary for successful non-profit environmental advocacy, such as public relations, planning, event planning and volunteer organizing.

You will be able to gain a hands-on experience on a variety of policy, restoration and education issues that encompass the work of the N.C. Coastal Federation. You will work as a policy associate side-by-side with staff professionals. You could be writing policy positions, research, getting your hands dirty building oyster reefs and planting salt marshes, developing a blueprint to restore 2,000 acres of freshwater wetlands and salt marshes, planning events and meetings and taking part in strategy meetings. You will also go on field trips and attend talks with nationally renowned scientists and coastal policy experts.

The Coastal Advocacy Institute is designed to provide you with the background and tools to work with an environmental non-profit group, with an emphasis on a wide range of field and hands-on training and experience. Examples of areas of focus include legislative environmental advocacy, lobbying, fundraising, communications, habitat preservation and restoration, environmental education and NGO management. We will use different learning methods that include informative talks given by staff members, guest speakers specialized in various fields of interest, local community members and other stakeholders; case studies, field work, participation in staff meetings, activities with local communities and empirical research.

The federation is involved in a variety of projects and programs, and every effort will be made to match your interests with those projects that advance your own academic and professional interests. Each participant will be expected to undertake an independent research project as a requirement to successfully graduate from the institute. These projects will be assigned based participants' interests and issues that the federation is involved in. All policy associates will receive a "Certificate of Graduation" when they successfully complete the internship.


 Program Objectives

  • Understand and experience the natural coast
  • Increase awareness of the major coastal environmental issues and debates
  • Understand the guiding principles of environmental advocacy, education and habitat restoration
  • Review coastal management laws and regulations and their implementation at the federal, state and local levels
  • Learn  to manage and operate an NGO (membership and board development, use of volunteers, staffing, financial accounting)
  • Learn about the roles of science, law, politics and media relations in coastal advocacy
  • Learn effective public participation and engagement strategies
  • Gain skills to be an effective environmental lobbyist
  • Learn about fund raising
  • Practice work on group assignments and group presentations of independent projects
  • Undertake research related to one or more issues of an importance to coastal advocacy
  • Engage in a variety of field projects
  • Gain effective grant writing and communications skills

To see a sample program schedule click here.

To see the list of projects that our interns completed in 2011 click here.

To see the list of projects our interns completed in 2013 click here.

The federation is proud to have been chosen to participate in the Stanback Internship Program for 15 continuous years during which it trained more than 50 Duke students. In 2012 we have decided to open the Institute to students other than Duke’s and we invite anyone with an interest in environmental protection, advocacy and restoration to apply.

How to apply

The program usually runs from mid-May to the beginning of August and the deadline for applications is February 28 every year. To apply, please email a cover letter and a resume to Ana Zivanovic-Nenadovic. In the cover letter please address the following: how would working at the the federation benefit you and your career plans; what can you bring to the federation; and why did you choose the federation.

For additional questions either call 252.393.8185 or email.

What Our Interns Have Done

Throughout the years the federation has had some great interns. Learn what some of them have accomplished while working for us.