Sage Environmental Leadership Program




“It is natural to protect what we love. To fall in love with nature, 
we need the personal connection of our senses—we need to be physically involved.” 

—Ann Dunne, Founder of Sage Environmental Internship Program

How does a college student, or recent graduate, build a resume? Internships are invaluable. At San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, our staff works closely with interns to develop enriching field experiences and career-building opportunities. 

Interns can develop expertise in several conservation fields:

Co-lead school field trips and summer camps, and develop hands-on activities. Monitor lagoon water quality, generating data relied on for lagoon restoration. Restore and maintain trails, including Annie's Canyon Trail; removing graffiti, bench and fence repairs, leading youth on-trail. Get dirty in San Elijo Nursery with native seed collection and plant growth.

Interns are mentored by conservancy professionals in the fields of science and environmental educationFor more than 20 years, the conservancy has supported many interns who have achieved advanced degrees in the field of life sciences.  

Over the past two decades we have supported many students who have moved on to completing higher degrees or secured a career position in the fields of life science, and environmental education.  As we continue to grow as an organization, we are shining a new light on the importance of mentoring.

Find out more & apply!


Matthew Leonard
2018 Habitat Restoration
Matthew graduated with an Environmental Studies degree at CSU San Marcos. In school, he served as a founding officer of the Environmental Studies club with a mission to connect students with local environmental professionals. Matthew is a longtime trail enthusiast, counting backpacking, cycling and exploring California among his hobbies. In his spare time, he studies computer programming and volunteers at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve.


Cameron Clay 
2017 Habitat Restoration
Cameron join the Conservancy in August of 2017. A recent graduate of UC David with a degree in Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity, Cameron has experience in both the field and lab. As a high school student at San Dieguito Academy High School, he volunteered for San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, Cottonwood Creek Conservancy and other local non-profits, joining them on waterway cleanups and invasive plant removal projects. At UC David, he worded in classes focused on large-scale restoration projects, as well as assisting several research labs in projects studying the effects of fire on different habitats and the ability of plants to evolve to unique soil habitats. He is excited to be back in his home town and help the team with habitat restoration. 
Andrea Cornelius
2016 | 2017 Annie's Canyon Trail | Conservation Education
Andrea recently graduated from CSU San Marcos with a BA in Environmental Studies. She is a San Diego native who loves the local oceans and lagoons and studying coastal environments. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, dancing, running with her dog, and spending time with friends and family. Andrea monitors Annie’s Canyon trail and learns about the San Elijo ecosystem and how to protect it. 
Izzy Santarsieri
2017 | Conservation Education

Izzy is a recent graduate of UC Davis with a degree in Wildlife and Fish Conservation Biology.  At UC Davis Izzy volunteered at a raptor rehabilitation center and regularly went birding in the arboretum. She has a variety of field work experience in countries in Central America and plans to pursue a masters in primate biology, behavior and conservation. In her free time Izzy enjoys traveling, scuba diving, backpacking and camping and visiting California's national parks.


Jacqueline Creedon
2017 | Water Quality

Jacqueline, who goes by Jackie, graduated from Arizona State University and Loyola Marymount University in Civil Engineering and Business Administration. She is pursuing a Master's Degree in Civil Engineering emphasizing in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering through Villanova University. In her free time, she enjoys her small dogs and two green conures. Jackie is a water quality intern for the Conservancy.
Gianni Denson
2016 | 2017 Annie's Canyon Trail
Gianni is a sixteen year old junior at San Dieguito Academy and third generation Californian. As the youngest and newest member of the conservation team, he hopes to experience hands on lagoon water and fish monitoring, and to be of service for years to come. He is a passionate surfer, diver, and fisherman, closely connecting him to the ocean and watershed. He enjoys playing beach volleyball and will be on the SDA varsity volleyball team this year. He is forming his goals in science, and is excited to learn more as he helps care for our long loved lagoon. Gianni completed 100 hours of volunteer service during his 2016 summer internship experience and returns summer 2017 to volunteer 100 more.
Cassie Jordan
2017 Land Stewardship

Cassie Jordan is a San Diego native going into her junior year at the University of Michigan. She is studying Earth Sciences and loves everything outdoors. In her free time she enjoys running, biking, traveling and swimming in the ocean with her friends. Cassie is the land stewardship intern for the summer of 2017, where she works to monitor various properties through photo monitoring and invasive species documentation. Cassie enjoys her internship with the lagoon and loves learning how to protect the beautiful world we live in! 
Amanda Leu 
2017 Habitat Restoration
Amanda Leu studies Marine Biology at the University of California, San Diego. She enjoys working with Lagoon Platoon and the Habitat restoration team. Her favorite outdoor activities include camping, hiking, backpacking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. She has a passion for the environment and an interest in ocean ecology and its interaction with other environmental systems. She aspires to a career in conservation and looks forward to working in the field in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. 
Danielle Mingo 
2017 Avian
Danielle is a recent graduate of UC Santa Cruz who has returned to her home city of San Diego with an Environmental Studies degree from UC Santa Cruz. A lover of the natural world, her favorite places are the mountains and the sea. In a college field course taking her and 27 other students throughout California for 10 weeks, Danielle discovered a passion for birding. As the Avian Intern, you can find her out in the field with binoculars assisting our biologists or in the office helping proof the last 15 years of the lagoon's bird count data. She is happy to be a part of the SELC team and to lend a hand in protecting our precious wetlands of San Diego county. In her spare time she enjoys surfing, yoga, hiking, live music and art projects.