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Internships

Thank you for your interest in an internship with EARTH Limited and Southwick’s Zoo. We will accept applications for Summer 2022 Internships from December 15, 2021 to February 1, 2022.

Internships with EARTH Ltd and Southwick’s Zoo are a rewarding experience which provides college students and recent college graduates the chance to learn and develop valuable skills while working in a unique setting.

Internship Benefits

  • Discounts for food purchased at the zoo during work hours (does NOT apply to Galliford’s Restaurant).
  • Discounts for gifts purchased at the zoo gift shop.
  • Season’s pass to use for yourself and friends for entrance to the zoo on non-work days (after 2nd week of internship).
  • The opportunity to gain experience and work with a great group of people!

2022 Internships

Summer internships generally run from mid-May through August and require 300 hours.  Animal Care interns are required to work at least 3 days each week, including at least one weekend day each week. Each day is about 8 hours long. Wild Adventure Program interns must be available to work at least 3 days, Monday-Friday, from mid-June to mid-August.

Fall internships generally run from late August-November and have a similar schedule, but we can be more flexible with dates.

Application Instructions:

Please fill out and submit the online application along with your resume (including a list of 3 references) and cover letter. Documents must uploaded as pdfs.

Please review all internship requirements and position descriptions before submitting your application.

Requirements for all Internships:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Must be a student currently enrolled in college or a recent college graduate.
  • Must be able to attend internship training orientation and zoo tour in mid to late May. (summer internships only)
  • Must be willing and able to work with children of varying ages, as well as adults, in a professional manner.
  • Must be able to take and follow directions to maintain a safe work environment for personnel, visitors, and the animals at the zoo.
  • Animal care interns will be required to attend an animal training class conducted over Zoom (early June)
  • All interns will be required to complete two assignments in addition to the EARTH Awareness Day project (Summer internships only)
  • All summer interns are required to create a project for, and attend, EARTH Awareness Day on (the first Saturday in August).
  • Summer interns are required to assist with the Benefit EARTH Bash fundraiser (late June).
  • Interns may be exposed to certain allergens, including (but not limited to) dust, hay, pollen, animal hair, fur, and dander, peanuts and tree nuts. 
  • Must be able to safely lift 50 pounds.  

All interns will be responsible to their direct supervisors, in addition to Betsey Brewer, Executive Director of Conservation, Education, & Research.

EDUCATION INTERNSHIP

Please note that this is an education position, and it does not involve any animal care.

Requirements for all Education Interns:

  • Must be available to work at least 3 days each week, Monday – Friday, from mid-June through August. This position does not require weekend availability with the exception of Saturday, August 6, 2022 for EARTH Awareness Day.
  • Prior experience working with children preferred. Experience with animals is a plus, but not required.
  • Must be comfortable working with children of varying ages (grades K-10).
  • Students pursuing a degree related to education, biology, environmental science, or a related field are preferred.
  • Must be able to be in close proximity to hay and shavings and other possible allergens, such as: dust, mold, and grass.
Wild Adventure Summer Program Internship (Click to Expand)

Number of available positions: 2-4

Direct supervisors: Program Director: Bob Clark; Assistant Program Director: Patrick Sullivan; Program Instructors: Rachel Buckley & Casey Rhodes

Goal/Objective: Education interns play an active role with our Summer Wild Adventure Program and help guide and oversee students through their daily adventures.

Availability: Please note that this internship begins in mid-June, however Summer Program interns are still required to attend orientation in May. Must be available to work at least 3 days each week Monday – Friday. This position does not require weekend availability with the exception of Saturday, August 6, 2022 from 10:00am-5:00pm, for EARTH Awareness Day.

2022 Summer Programs Dates:

  • Oh Behave! Zoo Babies & Animal Behavior (grades 2- 6): June 22-June 24
  • There’s No Such Thing as a… (grades 4-6): June 27-July 1
  • From T-Rex to Turkeys (grades K- 2): July 5-8
  • Teen Zoology (grades 7-10): July 5-8
  • Going, Going, Gone (grades 2 & 3): July 11-15
  • Habitats and Ecosystems (grades 4, 5, 6): July 18-22
  • From T-Rex to Turkeys (grades K, 1, 2): July 25-29
  • Teen Zoology (grades 7, 8, 9, 10): July 25-29
  • Teen Zoology (grades 7, 8, 9, 10): August 1-5
  • Going, Going, Gone (grades 2 & 3): August 8-12

 

Wild Adventure Summer Program interns will:

  • Provide support to program staff and assist with daily tasks including: set-up/clean-up, planning, organization, and running activities such as crafts
  • Enthusiastically engage students in a schedule of crafts, activities, animal encounters, and zoo tours
  • Present animals and exhibits in an interactive format that engages children
  • Design and conduct age-appropriate activities for groups of children
  • Ensure the safety of all students and help maintain a safe environment for students, zoo visitors, and the animals
  • Build and maintain a good rapport with students and parents
  • Encourage the children to develop an interest in and appreciation for science and learning
  • Chaperone students on excursions during the Teen Zoology weeks
  • Develop a project to present on EARTH Awareness Day

Reminder, this is an education position, and it does not involve any animal care.

ANIMAL CARE INTERNSHIPS

Requirements for all Animal Care Interns:

  • Animal care interns will be required to attend an animal training class conducted over Zoom (early June)
  • Summer applicants must be available to work at least 3 days each week, including at least one weekend day, from Mid-May through August. Fall applicants must be available at least 2 days each week.
  • Must be able to safely lift 50lbs.
  • Must be able to stand for long periods of time and work in varying weather conditions including heat and rain.
  • Must be able to crawl, climb, and reach to clean low and “awkward” areas.
  • Must be able to be in close proximity to hay and shavings and other possible allergens including pollen, animal hair, fur, and dander, peanuts and tree nuts. 
Animal Ambassador & Reptile Internship (Click to Expand)

Number of available positions: 4

Direct supervisors: Head Ambassador and Reptile Keeper, Educator: Lauren Culley; Ambassador and Reptile Keepers, Educators: Diana Waterman, Jillian Cook, Brianna Bacon, and Chris Lapointe.

Goal/Objective: Animal Ambassador & Reptile department interns learn proper animal handling techniques and assist staff with daily animal care, educational programs, and upkeep of the EARTH Discovery Center, Reptile & Insect Building, and various exhibits located throughout the zoo. Interns also interact with the zoo’s visitors and assist with other tasks as needed.

Animal Ambassador & Reptile interns will:

  • Assist with animal husbandry for reptiles, small mammals, amphibians, invertebrates, and exotic birds (cleaning, diet preparation, etc.)
    • The EARTH department currently cares for 28 reptile species, 14 mammal species, 10 invertebrate species, 4 amphibian species, and 3 bird species (over 150 individuals)
  • Design and construct animal enrichment
  • Observe and assist with animal training through positive reinforcement
  • Observe veterinary consultations/procedures and assist with medication administration, as needed
  • Keep daily records in Animal Care Software
  • Help with upkeep of the Discovery Center and Reptile & Insect building (raking, sweeping, mopping, dusting, etc.)
  • Transport animals throughout the zoo
  • Work as a conscientious educator interacting with zoo visitors and answering questions
  • Present an animal or biofact at the “Ask a Zoo Crew” stage
  • Assist with preparation of live animal presentations
  • Accompany staff on off-site ZooMobile programs, as needed
  • Complete three projects, including a conservation group project for EARTH Awareness Day.
Bird Keeper & Training Internship (Click to Expand)

Number of available positions: 7

Direct supervisors: Head Bird Trainer: Danielle Poirier; Bird Trainers: Nicole Auger, Emily Begue, Sarah Leonard

Goal/Objective: Interns in the Bird department will learn proper bird handling and training techniques, leaving with a working knowledge of avian behavior and classical and operant conditioning. Interns will learn to apply science based positive reinforcement to train a number of different husbandry, veterinary, and show behaviors. These skills will be developed by providing an exceptional level of care to our show and exhibit birds through relationship building, cleaning, feeding, and enrichment.

Bird interns will:

  • Clean cages of, and prepare diets for, show birds and exhibit birds
    • The Bird department currently cares for 20 different bird species (over 30 individuals, in addition to over 100 parakeets and cockatiels in Parakeet Aviary)
  • Assist with daily husbandry projects
  • Create and distribute enrichment to all birds daily
  • Train and handle a wide variety of parrots during husbandry and shows
  • Assist in training new show and husbandry behaviors
  • Provide a support role in educational presentations
  • Interact with the public before and after each show
  • Keep records of training, enrichment, and daily happenings
  • Complete three projects, including a conservation group project for EARTH Awareness Day.
Primate Keeper Internship (Click to Expand)

Number of available positions: 2

Direct supervisors: Head Primate Zookeeper: Michelle Breen; Primate Keepers: Ruth Mazeika, Britney Brosseau, Jess Lanchansky, Justin Economos, and Allison Ornato

Goal/Objective: Interns in the Primate department will actively participate in animal care and help maintain all primate exhibits as well as additional exhibits throughout the zoo, along with some grounds maintenance.

Primate interns will:

  • Ensure the safety of zoo visitors, primate keepers, and primates
  • Assist with animal husbandry for numerous primates and other animals throughout the zoo (cleaning, food prep, etc.)
    • The Primate department currently cares for 17 primate species, 2 marsupial species, 4 large rodent species, and 2 reptile species (over 150 individuals)
  • Design and construct animal enrichment
  • Help with upkeep of zoo grounds
  • Assist with training of certain animals
  • Assist with veterinary procedures and consultations. Administer medications, as needed
  • Complete three projects, including a conservation group project for EARTH Awareness Day.

 

Hoofstock Keeper Internship (Click to Expand)

Number of available positions: 2

Direct supervisors: Head Zookeeper: Duane Long; Hoofstock Keepers: Jonathon Smith, Jess Lanchansky, Josh Lobisser, Jacqui McKenna, and Gino Forte

Goal/Objective: Interns in the Hoofstock department will actively participate in animal care and help maintain all hoofstock and big cat exhibits as well as additional exhibits throughout the zoo, along with some grounds maintenance.

Hoofstock interns will:

  • Ensure the safety of zoo visitors, hoofstock keepers, and animals
  • Assist with animal husbandry for numerous hoofstock and other animals throughout the zoo (cleaning, food prep, etc.)
    • The Hoofstock department currently cares for over 20 hoofstock species, 20 bird species, and 6 large carnivore species (over 360 individuals)
  • Help with upkeep of zoo grounds
  • Complete three projects, including a conservation group project for EARTH Awareness Day.

Internship Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any additional questions, please email Lauren Culley at lauren@southwickszoo.com.

How long do the internships last?

Most Summer internships generally run from mid-May through August and require 300 hours.  Animal Care interns are required to work at least 3 days each week, including at least one weekend day each week. Each day is about 8 hours long. Wild Adventure Program interns have different start/end dates and work schedules than Animal Care interns. Wild Adventure Program interns must be available to work at least 3 days, Monday-Friday, from mid-June to mid-August.

Fall internships generally run from late August-November and have a similar schedule, but we can be more flexible with dates.

Do you only offer internships during the summer when the zoo is open?

Our summer internships are the most popular, however we do offer internships during the spring, fall, and winter. These internships typically focus more on caring for animals during the off-season and assisting with ZooMobiles. They involve less visitor interaction since the zoo closes for the season after October and remains closed until early April. Spring Internships go from March-May; Summer Internships go from May-August; Fall internships go from August-November. Spring animal care internship positions are limited, so please email lauren@southwickszoo.com if interested.

Who can apply?

Applicants must be currently enrolled in college or recent college graduates. Applicants must also be at least 18 years of age.

Can I get time off for vacation?

All requests for vacation time must be submitted at the start of your internship. The deadline for Spring/Summer interns to request vacation time is June 9. The deadline for Fall interns to request vacation time is two weeks in advance of vacation.

What if the position I apply for is already filled?

Certain departments have fewer openings than others. If your desired position is no longer available, and we feel you are well suited for another, we may offer you an internship in another department.

Are internships paid?

Our internships are unpaid and are completed for college credit only. However, they offer valuable hands on experience in a fun environment.

Is an in-person interview required?

No, all interviews will be conducted over Zoom.

What is EARTH Awareness Day?

EARTH Awareness Day is an annual event at the zoo that takes place on the first Saturday of August. The purpose of the event is to give visitors a fun way to learn about conservation and environmental issues. In addition to local organizations and vendors that will be located throughout the zoo, interns will be presenting their EARTH Awareness Day project. Working in some groups, interns will collaborate on a conservation topic and develop and interactive learning activity to present to the public on EARTH Awareness Day. . Staff in each department will help guide interns in developing and completing their projects.
(Note: EARTH Awareness Day is a requirement for all Spring/Summer interns)