Biology Major Pursues Passion for Coastal Education and Environmental Conservation

For Biology major Elianna Larnard ’25, her internship at Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats is more than just a summer job – it’s a step toward pursuing her dream of being an environmental scientist.

Elianna currently works as a Coastal Education Intern at the wildlife sanctuary associated with Joppa Flats, located in Newburyport, MA. In this role, she is primarily tasked with helping educate visitors about coastal wildlife, climate change and environmental conservation.

“My task priorities involve assisting with summer events to educate children, as well as adults, about marine animals or birds native to our coastal beaches and estuary inlets,” Elianna explained. “These instructional programs provide information about bird banding, climate change, conservation projects, ecology, environmental awareness, erosion, human history, invasive species, marine biology, microplastics, migration, and sea level rise. My responsibilities also include contributing ideas to the team for upcoming events, along with organizing the scientific stations associated with the specific program scheduled for that day. It is expected that I know my facts regarding the focused subject being presented. As part of a team, I am also involved with the collection/release and care of marine species from local beaches being exhibited at the Education Center through the use of touch tanks. In addition, I am a mentor for young naturalists and volunteers at the Joppa Flats Education Center.”

Elianna’s passion for wildlife is something she has cultivated for most of her life.

“As a longtime resident of the North Shore, I have always appreciated the landscapes, beaches, and unique wildlife refuges throughout the region,” she said. “This fascination with nature inspired me to pursue a career in the sciences, with an emphasis on the field of biology.”

Although her love of science and nature sparked her initial desire to study biology, this internship has expanded her interest in spreading awareness and educating the next generation on environmental conservation.

“The study of climate change at the Joppa Flats facility and within the Dean’s curriculum further heightened my passion for sharing this knowledge with children,” Elianna said. “The aim is to drive positive change for our planet and all its ecosystems. The integration of these disciplines has inspired me to follow this career in the environmental sciences.”

And it is Elianna’s hope that her internship with Mass Audubon will continue to bring her closer to pursuing her dream of becoming an environmental scientist.

“I hope that this internship will not only enhance my skills in biology but also provide me with opportunities to improve my abilities, particularly when engaging with children, which is the hope to secure our environmental future,” explained Elianna. “Additionally, I am enthusiastic about exploring effective ways to educate the next generation, positively while keeping them engaged about the Earth’s many ecosystems.

“My passion for marine life and local bird species drives me to share my views, hoping to spark interest in the wonders of the natural world, and my internship has solidified my decision to pursue my dream of becoming an environmental scientist. Coastal education is not just a job for me, but fuels my passion for future environmental conservation.”

At Dean College, 100% of students complete an internship – and quite a few of them are participating in internships this summer. Learn more about internship opportunities and Biology at Dean.