Because You Live Here!

Internships

Internships with
EARTH Ltd & Southwick’s Zoo

We offer a variety of seasonal internships with EARTH Limited and Southwick’s Zoo.

Internships with Southwick’s Zoo are a rewarding experience that provides college students and recent college graduates the chance to learn and develop valuable skills while working in a unique setting. If you have any questions regarding internships, please email dani@southwickszoo.com.

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!

Internship Information

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:

  1. Resume
  2. Cover letter
  3. 2 references

*Documents must uploaded as pdfs.

Please review all internship requirements and position definitionsbefore submitting your application.

 

Requirements for all Internships:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age with a strong interest in the animal sciences.
  • 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 Cindy Wilson, Director of Education.

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 (EARTH) Department Internship (Click to Expand)

**There will be two different internship positions offered through this department* 

EARTH Outreach Internship  

Goal/Objective: EARTH Outreach interns will learn proper animal handling/training techniques for ambassadors housed between the EARTH Discovery Center, the Reptile and Insect Building, and various animal exhibits located throughout the zoo. Interns will use these handling techniques paired with presentation skills to deliver high-quality educational opportunities to both on-site and off-site guests. Interns will also be trained to monitor the zoo’s Junior Zookeeping program, where they will work with animals from every department within the zoo. They will assist in educating children ages six to seventeen on animal care and husbandry, enrichment building, diet preparation, routine veterinary procedures, and public animal feedings and training sessions.  

EARTH Outreach interns will:  

Junior Zookeeping  

  • Assist and facilitate on-site half-day programs for participants aged six to seventeen. 
  • Opportunity to work with species spanning all departments of the park, including carnivores, hoofstock, birds, primates, reptiles, amphibians, and small and large mammals. 
  • Assist participants in animal encounters, public feedings, enrichment build, and diet preparation. 
  • Engage in discussions relating to topics such as wildlife conservation and education, enriching animals in human care, endangered species management, the exotic and illegal pet trades, as well as animal behavior and training 
  • Educate on the daily functions of a zoological facility, including exhibit maintenance, routine medical care, and husbandry. 

ZooMobiles  

  • Assist in off-site education at a variety of local locations (i.e. schools, businesses, libraries, etc.) with audiences of all ages. 
  • Engage in education topics such as animal ecology, adaptations, and wildlife conservation. 
  • Hands-on work with EARTH’s animal ambassador collection, including handling and speaking during public presentations. 
    • The collection includes reptiles, amphibians, primates, and small and large mammals. 
  • Exposure to positive reinforcement training with ambassador animals 
  • Learn and understand how animals become ambassadors and how these animals are transported between various locations. 
  • Complete and present a staff-approved project for EARTH Awareness Day.

 

EARTH Ambassador and Reptile Internship  

Goal/Objective: Animal Ambassador & Reptile department interns learn proper animal handling/training techniques and assist staff with daily animal husbandry, on-site 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.  

EARTH Ambassador and Reptile Interns will:  

  • Assist with animal husbandry for reptiles, small mammals, amphibians, invertebrates, and our two blue and gold macaws (cleaning, diet preparation, etc.). 
  • The EARTH department currently cares for around 60 species and over 100 individual ambassadors 
  • Design and construct complex animal enrichment 
  • Observe and assist with positive reinforcement animal training 
  • 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 with ambassadors at our EARTH stage 
  • Assist with preparation of live animal presentations 
  • Accompany staff on on-site educational programs as needed 
  • Complete and present a staff approved project for EARTH Awareness Day.
Bird Keeper & Training Internship (Click to Expand)

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 Department interns will also develop public speaking skills through participation in Keeper Chats and formal Bird Shows.

Bird interns will:

  • Clean enclosures 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 miscellaneous husbandry projects
    Create and distribute enrichment to all birds daily
  • Learn proper handling for a wide variety of parrots for transportation, husbandry, and educational purposes
  • Assist in training new show and husbandry behaviors
  • Provide a support role in educational presentations both on and off-mic
  • Learn how to properly cue and reinforce behaviors during educational programs
  • Interact with the public before and after each show
  • Facilitate education-based guest experience through pop-up Keeper Chats
  • Learn how to log daily happenings and critical information in Animal Care Software
  • Assist with and observe medical procedures as necessary
  • Complete and present a staff-approved project for EARTH Awareness Day.
Primate Keeper Internship (Click to Expand)

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 the upkeep of zoo grounds
  • Assist with training of certain animals
  • Assist with veterinary procedures and consultations. Administer medications, as needed
  • Complete and present a staff-approved project for EARTH Awareness Day.
Hoofstock Keeper Internship (Click to Expand)

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 the upkeep of zoo grounds
  • Complete and present a staff approved project for EARTH Awareness Day.

We are now accepting applications for Summer 2024 internships. Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

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 education@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)

Located at Southwick’s Zoo

2 Southwick’s Street

Mendon, MA 01756

1-800-258-9182

 

Contact Us!

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