Because You Live Here!


Fall 2018 Internships

We are now accepting applications for Fall 2018 internships. Internship requirements, descriptions, and application instructions can be found below.

If you have any questions, please email or call Samantha Russak at or 1-800-258-9182 ext 214

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.

We offer two internship opportunities each year: Spring/Summer Internships which begin in May and end in August, and Fall internships which begin in August and typically end in November.

Requirements for All Internships

  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Must be a student currently enrolled in college or a recent graduate.
  • Must be able to attend internship training orientation and zoo tour in May 2018. (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.
  • All interns will be required to complete assignments during their internships, dependent on department.
  • All interns are required to create a project for, and attend, EARTH Awareness Day on August 4, 2018. (Summer internships only)
  • Interns are required to assist with EARTH Bash on June 22, 2018. (Summer internships only)

Benefits of All Internships

  • 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!

Application Instructions

To apply, please fill out and submit the online application along with your resume, cover letter, and letter of recommendation. Documents must uploaded as pdfs. Your letter recommendation may be emailed to, however please be aware that your application will not be considered complete until we receive it. Deadline to apply for fall 2018 internships: August 31, 2018

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

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

Animal Care Internships

Requirements for all Animal Care Interns:

  • Must be available to work at least 3 days each week, including at least one weekend day.
  • Must be able to 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, such as: dust, mold, and grass.

Earth Discovery
Center Intern

(Available Summer & Fall)

Number of available positions: 7-8

Direct supervisors: Head Education Coordinator: Lauren Culley; Education Coordinator: Sarah DiCarlo; Assistant Education Coordinators: Diana Waterman and Julie Richer

Goal/Objective: Interns at the EARTH Discovery Center 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.

EARTH interns will:

  • Assist with animal husbandry for reptiles, small mammals, amphibians, invertebrates, and exotic birds (cleaning, food prep, etc.)The EARTH department currently cares for over 30 reptile species, 15 mammal species, 6 invertebrate species, 5 amphibian species, and 3 bird species (over 120 individuals)
  • Design and construct animal enrichment
  • Help with up-keep 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
  • Assist with planning and running educational programs such as Junior ZooKeeping
  • Present an animal or biofact at the “Ask a Zoo Crew” stage
  • Assist with preparation of live animal presentations as needed
  • Accompany staff on ZooMobile programs as needed
  • Assist in other zoo areas, such as the deer forest, as needed
  • Complete two assignments outlined in the EARTH Discovery Center intern manual
  • Select and research a topic to present a visual interactive display for EARTH Awareness Day (Summer internships only)

Bird Department

(Available Summer & Fall)

Number of available positions: 7-8

Direct supervisors: Head Bird Trainer: Danielle Poirier; Bird Trainers: Kristen Gagnon and Anjali Bhardwaj

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 over 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 on a daily basis
  • 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
  • Develop and complete a staff approved enrichment project with a bird of your choice
  • Complete an independent, staff approved enrichment project with a bird of your choice


Common questions regarding our internships are answered below. If you have any additional questions, please email Samantha Russak at:

How long do the internships last?
Most Spring/Summer internships 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 and Business/Operations interns have different start/end dates and work schedules than Animal Care interns. Fall internships have a similar schedule, but we can be flexible with dates.
Do you only offer internships during the summer when the zoo is open?

Our spring/summer internships are the most popular, however we do offer internships during the fall and winter. These internships typically focus more on caring for animals during the winter and assisting with ZooMobiles. They involve less visitor interaction since the zoo closes for the season after October. 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 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.

Can I interview over the phone if I don’t live nearby?

We can perform interviews via Skype if you are unavailable to attend one in person. Please make a note of this when you submit your application.

What is EARTH Ltd. 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 various 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. This project is a chance for interns to pick a topic that they are passionate about and share that passion with zoo visitors. The only “rule” for the project is that it needs to have an interactive component (such as a game, activity sheet, questionnaire, demonstration, etc.) so that visitors can be fully engaged with the presentation without feeling like they are simply getting a lecture. Staff in each department will help guide interns in developing and completing their projects throughout the duration of their internship.

(Note: EARTH Awareness Day is a requirement for all Spring/Summer interns)

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2 Southwick Street, Mendon, MA

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Phone: (800) 258-9182



Monday-Friday: 9:00 – 5:00

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Located at Southwick’s Zoo

2 Southwick’s Street

Mendon, MA 01756