Because You Live Here!


Internships with
EARTH Ltd & Southwick’s Zoo

Thank you for your interest in an internship with EARTH Limited and Southwick’s Zoo. We will begin accepting applications for the 2021 Summer Internship Program on January 4, 2021.

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

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.

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 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.
  • All interns will be required to complete assignments during their internships, dependent on department. (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 EARTH Bash. (2021 EARTH Bash date TBD)

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 (available starting January 4, 2021) along with your resume (including a list of 3 references) and cover letter. Documents must uploaded as pdfs.

The online application for 2021 Summer Internships with Southwick’s Zoo and EARTH Limited will be available Janaury 4, 2021 to March 12, 2021.

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.

Education Internship

(Available Summer Only)

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 EARTH Awareness Day on Saturday, August 7, 2021.
  • 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.

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

Wild Adventure Summer Program Internship

(Summer Only)

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 7, 2021, 10:00am-5:00pm, for EARTH Awareness Day.

2021 Summer Programs Dates:

  • Oh Behave! Zoo Babies & Animal Behavior (grades 2, 3, 4, 5, 6): June 23-June 25
  • There’s No Such Thing as a… (grades 4, 5, 6): June 28-July 2
  • From T-Rex to Turkeys (grades K, 1, 2): July 6-9
  • Teen Zoology: Climate Change (grades 7, 8, 9, 10): July 6-9
  • Going, Going, Gone (grades 2 & 3): July 12-16
  • Habitats and Ecosystems (grades 4, 5, 6): July 19-23
  • From T-Rex to Turkeys (grades K, 1, 2): July 26-30
  • Teen Zoology (grades 7, 8, 9, 10): August 2-6
  • Going, Going, Gone (grades 2 & 3): August 9-13


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
  • 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

Animal Care Internships

Requirements for all Animal Care Interns:

  • 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 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.

Animal Ambassador & Reptile Internship

Number of available positions: 4-5

Direct supervisors: Senior Education Coordinator: Lauren Culley; Education Coordinator: Diana Waterman; Assistant Education Coordinators: Jillian Cook and Emily MacDonald

Goal/Objective: Animal Ambassador & Reptile 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, food prep, etc.)
    • The EARTH Education department currently cares for 30 reptile species, 15 mammal species, 14 invertebrate species, 5 amphibian species, and 2 bird species (over 150 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 Animal Ambassador & Reptile intern manual
  • Select and research a topic to present a visual interactive display for EARTH Awareness Day (Summer internships only)

Bird Keeper & Training Internship

Number of available positions: 5-7

Direct supervisors: Head Bird Trainer: Danielle Poirier; Bird Trainers: Nicole Auger, Emily Begue, and Allison Ornato

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 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 training project with a bird of your choice, to be presented at EARTH Awareness Day. (Summer internships only)

Hoofstock Department Internship

Number of available positions: 2

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

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, including occasional collecting of trash bags at the end of the work day
  • Perform record keeping as needed
  • Develop and complete a staff approved enrichment or conservation project
  • Select and research a topic to present a visual interactive display for EARTH Awareness Day. (Summer internships only)


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 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 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 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 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)

Located at Southwick’s Zoo

2 Southwick’s Street

Mendon, MA 01756



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