Reports to/Department: Under the supervision of the Education Curator

Position Description: The Brandywine Zoo manages two in-situ conservation programs in Delaware. One monitoring endangered Americn Kestrels and the other is an urban wildlife monitoring project. Other additional projects may be added during the 2018 year, as time allows.

Kestrel Project: The American Kestrel is North America’s smallest falcon species. Since the 1960s, kestrels have seen a decline of 88% in their population and in 2013 they were listed as Endangered in Delaware. More research is necessary to determine the cause of decline in this small, insect-eating bird, but evidence suggests that pesticide accumulation, increased predation by more urban-adaptable raptors, as well as habitat loss may be primary factors.

The Brandywine Zoo is a facilitator for the Delaware Kestrel Partnership, an American Kestrel nest box monitoring program that works with various nonprofit and governmental partners to study Kestrels in the state. Research apprentices will be responsible for the maintenance and monitoring of kestrel nest boxes across the state of Delaware, logging data, and creating research parameters. The goals of this research at this point in time is to identify where Kestrels are nesting, presence and absence, impact of habitat and invasive species pressures, and other baseline information for future research.

Urban Wildlife Monitoring Project: The Brandywine Zoo has partnered with Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute to passively monitor terrestrial mammals in an urban setting across northern Delaware. Camera traps are deployed for 4-week increments each season across a 20-30 point transect. Cameras collect images which need to be logged and inventoried.

Other Projects: Other projects may be started in 2018, including anti-lead collaborative to reduce the impacts of lead ammunition contamination in vultures and other scavengers, copperhead snake telemetry, bird-strike awareness campaigns, and more. 

Intern Responsibilities:

  • Delivery of on and off-site programming, in both formal and informal settings.
  • Management of databases and records, registering participants for programs and tracking program and animal husbandry data.
  • Performing daily husbandry for a variety of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and invertebrates.
  • Able to follow protocols to prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases and maintain high levels of animal safety.
  • Time management and ensuring all aspects of the show operation is running efficiently. This includes strong communication with Education staff.
  • Ability to work weekend days and flexible hours as schedules dictate.

Seasonal Breakdown: Winter (Jan-Mar)

  • Trail camera placement in January-February
  • Trail camera (Urban wildlife institute network-UWIN) picture ID in Feb.
  • Kestrel Box preparation for season (cleaning and preparing for Kestrel use)
  • Familiarizing yourself with locations, property owners, and zoo standards
  • Possibly creating another transect for UWIN
  • Meeting with people such as volunteers and trainings
  • Kestrel roadside surveys
  • Zoo animal behavioral data collection (ethograms)
  • Adult kestrel trapping/banding

Seasonal Breakdown: Spring (Apr-Jun) – busiest season

  • Trainings for Kestrel box monitoring
  • Ensuring every box is being monitored by volunteer or yourself
  • Start monitoring boxes (Could be a lot of boxes to monitor this year)
  • Trail cameras in Apr.
  • Possible grant writing
  • Roadside surveys
  • Zoo animal behavioral data collection (as time allows)
  • Adult kestrel trapping/banding
  • Kestrel chick banding
  • Managing volunteer monitors

Seasonal Breakdown: Summer (Jul-Sept.)

  • Finishing up Kestrel box monitoring in July
  • Trail camera in July
  • Report writing for Kestrel box monitoring
  • Possible grant writing
  • Possible Raptor hacking of Zoo kestrels
  • Installation of new kestrel boxes
  • Roadside surveys
  • Zoo animal behavioral data collection

Seasonal Breakdown: Fall (Oct-Dec)

  • Fall maintenance of Kestrel boxes (cleaning them out) and installation of new boxes
  • Trail cameras in Oct.
  • Report writing for UWIN project
  • Expanding conservation projects (UWIN and DKP projects)
  • Possible presentations on projects
  • Roadside surveys
  • End of season reports for projects
  • Zoo animal behavioral data collection


  • Research techniques; research methodology
  • Native bird and mammal identification; Plant identification
  • American Kestrel and mid-atlantic mammal natural history knowledge
  • GIS/Google Earth applications
  • Use of appropriate equipment including but not limited to GPS, motion-sensored cameras, etc.
  • Grant writing
  • Educational program delivery experience;
  • Data recording, analysis, and presentation.
  • The position is physically demanding at times, requiring outdoor work in a variety of temperatures and sometimes challenging conditions. Candidates must be able to climb a ladder.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license and at times provide own transportation to field sites.
  • Must be able to lift at least 50 lbs.

This Opportunity is GOOD for People Who:

  • Interested in wildlife field research
  • Able to follow guidelines for safety and sanitation
  • Comfortable with public speaking
  • Able to professionally display program animals to the public

Intern Requirements:

  • 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
  • Good physical condition: able to stand/walk for extended periods of time, kneel, crouch, and able to work in all weather conditions.
  • Be able to lift up to 25 pounds
  • Must be fluent in the English language (verbal and written communication)
  • Overall GPA must be 2.5 or higher
  • Good organizational skills
  • Able and willing to read and follow verbal and written work instructions and work independently
  • Willing to assist with administrative, customer relations, and housekeeping tasks and possibly animal care
  • Able to commit to upholding all Zoo safety and personnel policies, and support the overall mission
  • Able to professionally represent the Brandywine Zoo in all interactions with visitors, staff, and other members of the community
  • Complete a project of the intern’s own design, and approved by zoo staff, during the internship period

Training: Training will include field introduction & protocols, plus various online modules in the San Diego Zoo Global Academy.

Required Time Commitment: 12 months

Shift Times: variable shift times, this position is largely independent and responsible for managing monitoring work when most appropriate

Scheduling: 37.5 hours/week

Stipend – A stipend of $100/week will be provided for the duration of the internship. 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 $100 per week for service of 30 – 35 hours per week or $50.00 per week for service of between 20 – 29 hours/ week paid biweekly as a direct deposit into the Intern’s bank account.

Housing – Some 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.


  •  Full access to the San Diego Zoo Global Academy course-list for the duration of the internship; certificate upon completion.
  •  Networking opportunity and access to 180+ years of professional experience and knowledge via current zoo staff.
  • Potential training in numerous animal husbandry and zoo facility skills such as exhibit design and maintenance, animal nutrition, landscaping, small tool use, veterinary care, operant conditioning and public speaking.
  • Free access to all Delaware State Parks during internship or volunteer duration including Delaware Seashore and Fort Delaware.
  •  Job shadow opportunities at nearby AZA zoos when scheduling permits.

To Apply: All volunteers must complete the DE State Parks Intern Application. Interns must also complete and pass a background check administered by DE State Parks. For more information, please visit

Questions: Email