Conservation Education Apprentice Intern

Position Description
Brandywine Zoo is seeking a dynamic and engaging person to join our education team! We are searching for a dedicated candidate to fill a 9-12 month internship (in 2021). This person will serve as an Educator and work in the Education Department of the Brandywine Zoo.

This person will lead informal and formal education opportunities both on and off site for school programs, family programs, workshops, informal guest encounters, occasionally assist in off-season Zoo Camps, deliver on-grounds experiences and live animal demonstrations, or assist with special events. While we are not holding our traditional large-audience programs during Covid-19, public speaking and presentation skills are still critical to this position, and the candidate should be comfortable presenting to various age and size audiences, especially for virtual programs. While we are not doing as many programs in person these days, this intern will be critical in the growth and success of our virtual programs, so experience and knowledge with online platforms such as YouTube Live, presenting on microphone, and digital design and editing of video clips will be a common duty this year.

Additionally, this position will support the Zoo’s local conservation efforts, both on-grounds and locally around Delaware. They will work to develop partnerships with local community groups, businesses, and schools in support of the Zoo’s ReThink Plastics campaign, a single-use plastics campaign focusing on plastic drinking straws and cutlery through educational efforts, digital/online efforts, and partnership-building. Additionally, they will work with Conservation and Education staff  in creating community support and awareness for a new effort within our Urban Wild project, focusing on native pollinators and songbirds (in support of AZA’s Monarch and Songbird SAFE program efforts), as well as urban wildlife co-existence and appreciation programs.

This position will require working weekends, with typically scheduled days off occurring mid-week. It will also require working holidays and evenings on occasion. Shifts for this position are usually 8am – 4pm, unless there is a special event.

Snapshot of the Position:

  • Delivery of on and off-site programming, in formal and informal settings, both in person and virtually.
  • Management of databases and records, registering and tracking program participants, and tracking program animal data.
  • Animal handling and presenting of a variety of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and invertebrates. Ability to maintain trained behaviors that have been passed off to the intern after training an approval process.
  • Involvement in coordinating new sustainability initiatives throughout the zoo, including our ReThink Plastics campaign and working with our Green Team’s sustainability goals.
  • Creating community connections to zoo sustainability initiatives and new efforts in pollinator, songbird, and urban wildlife conservation; raising community awareness and support of urban wildlife through wildlife-positive behaviors like backyard gardens and smart consumer choices.

Demonstration of Learning:
All interns will complete a project of the apprentice’s own design, and approved by zoo staff, during the internship period.

Required Qualifications:

  • At least 18 years old with valid driver’s license and reliable transportation
  • Provide proof of negative TB Test within the last 12 months before start date
  • Availability for a 12 month uninterrupted full-time apprenticeship; ability to work weekend days and flexible hours as schedules dictate.<
  • Fluent in the English language (verbal and written communication); willing and able to read and follow verbal and written work instructions<
  • Comfortable with public speaking to large audiences in person or via virtual platform (like YouTube or Facebook Live).
  • Must be comfortable handling a variety of live animals, including reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and mammals, and knowledgeable about their natural history and an interest in working with the general public; especially teaching to children ages 2-13, and mentoring teenage volunteers.
  • Education: Working toward or already have a degree in Education, Theater, Zoology, Wildlife Conservation, or other related degrees and must have a strong interest in pursuing a professional career in education and/or conservation.
  • Physical Condition: ability to stand/walk for extended periods of time, kneel, crouch and climb in all weather conditions on uneven terrain; be able to lift up to 50 pounds with little to no assistance.
  • Exhibit consistent professional characteristics such as a positive attitude, ability to listen to instruction, ability to show initiative, emotional maturity and self-responsibility; work well as part of a team as well as independently; flexible with assignment: willing and able to assist with administrative, customer relations and housekeeping tasks – other duties as assigned; must exhibit consistent professional characteristics such as a positive attitude, ability to show initiative, emotional maturity and self-responsibility.

Preferred Skills:

  • Must have good time management skills, with the ability to complete designated tasks in a punctual manner; able and willing to read and follow verbal and written work instructions and work independently; strong communication skills.
  • Attention to detail is necessary for making observations of animals during animal handling.
  • Flexibility – willing to assist with administrative, customer relations, and housekeeping tasks.
  • Digital media and cloud-computing experience. With so much focus on a digital world currently, candidates for this position should have experience with virtual conferencing platforms and digital media, and ideally experience with digital editing. Ability to use Google Drive, Microsoft Office and online productivity platforms is a must.
  • Interest in community-based conservation, including building partnerships with local organizations and schools, community outreach, and interest in building relationships with community influencer organizations that impact diversity, equity, and equality for Delawareans.

Location: Brandywine Zoo – Wilmington, DE

Supervisor: Curator of Education and Assistant Curator of Education

Term: 9-12 months (depending on when the position starts. It will conclude ~Jan 2022)– Full Time, 37.5 hours per week

A hallmark of the program, interns receive training from the field experts they will be working with. In addition to this formal and informal training to successfully conduct their internship assignment, interns will have the opportunity to build associated skills and share real-time experience with park staff and colleagues. Training will be made available to the interns to further their personal and professional development. Additionally, the position will develop critical skills for those interested in a career in conservation, natural resource management, animal management, or ecological studies. Opportunities for school credit are available.

Limited co-ed housing is available, at no fee, for interns providing full-time hours (30 or more per week). If selected for housing, an intern will share a house, duplex or dorm facility with other interns.

Interns will have the opportunity not only to visit ALL Delaware State Parks at no fee, but also participate in many of the tours, programs, and associated events for free. Delaware State Parks span the length of the state and whether it be canoeing at Trap Pond State Park, surfing at Delaware Seashore State Park, attending a concert at Bellevue State Park, or touring the living history facility at Fort Delaware, there is certainly something for everyone.

Stipend Available
Interns are not employees of the State of Delaware. They are considered volunteers and are not paid for their service. Interns may elect to receive a stipend to help cover expenses incurred during their volunteer intern service. The stipend is a fixed amount of $400/month as a direct deposit into the Intern’s bank account.

The stipend is not a wage, but does count toward the total income on which the intern’s tax obligation is based.  Interns electing to receive the stipend will complete IRS Form W-9 Request for Tax-Payer Identification as self-employed and will receive a Form 1099 at the end of the year that reports the amount of income from the stipend.  No taxes are withheld from the stipend.