Internship Opportunities

The Utica Zoo offers a variety of internships for anyone interested in how a zoo operates. These internships range from animal care to education to business. Look below for more information!

Animal Care Internships

*Summer 2021 internships filled. If interested, please reapply in the Spring of 2022 for Summer 2022 internships.*

Animal care interns assist with routine animal husbandry of over 200+ animals. This is a hands-on experience working alongside the animal care staff and involves a wide variety of duties. We are looking for responsible, hard-working individuals that desire to learn about the role of a zookeeper and their day to day activities.

Utica Zoo Animal Care Internships are 40 hrs/week for approximately 9 weeks. Interns will work under the direct supervision of the animal care staff and assist in all aspects of their daily activities.

This is a hands-on internship. Duties include but are not limited to cleaning, feeding, record keeping, enrichment, diet preparation, exhibit maintenance/construction, as well as assisting during veterinary procedures and education programming as instructed. This work is physically demanding.  Interns must be able to lift and carry a minimum of 50lbs as well as be prepared to work in various weather and environmental conditions. Interns will be required to do some public speaking and will have direct contact with visitors. Receipt of certificate is contingent upon completion of an intern project.

Intern positions are available in all animal areas and the animal commissary. Interns will be assigned to only one area for the duration of their internship but may have brief opportunities to experience different aspects of all areas through veterinary procedures or as other zoo-wide projects arise.

All interns are required to attend onsite classes conducted by Zoo Staff on various aspects of animal care including animal and keeper health, capture and restraint, enrichment and animal training, and other topics.

Animal Area Concentrations

(Animal Areas Are Subject to Change Based on the Needs of the Facility)

This area includes a variety of exotic and domestic species including barn owls, beavers, Patagonian cavies, alpaca, chickens, red fox, Pallas’ cat, pot-bellied pigs, domestic donkey, Jacob sheep, Nigerian dwarf goats and zebu.

This area includes Bactrian camels, Trans-Caspian urial, Visayan warty pigs, Chinese muntjac, Bennett’s wallaby, white-napped crane,  emu, and a variety of reptiles including prehensile-tailed skink, pine snake, carpet python, Mexican beaded lizards, leaf-tailed geckos, and wood turtles. Interns will not handle venomous animals.

This area includes arctic fox, Canada lynx, Mexican wolves, red panda, painted dogs, African lion, striped hyena, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, ostrich, and bald eagles.

Interns in this area assist with the  daily care of ambassador animals. This is a diverse collection including several species of invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and small mammals. Besides assisting husbandry, interns will learn handling for social acclimation and short public presentations.

Interns in this area will learn about diet preparation, maintaining stock and inventory, nutrition review, some general recordkeeping, and data entry. Students assigned in this area will also assist in the care for any quarantine (new) animals in the collection.

This area includes Mexican spider monkeys, white-handed gibbons, golden lion tamarins, cotton-top tamarins, and California sea lions. Also includes a variety of large reptiles including Chinese alligators, Burmese pythons, rhinoceros iguanas, and Sulcata tortoises.

Specialty Areas

The following areas of concentration are available as Specialty Internships. These areas are available to individuals who can demonstrate special skills in these disciplines. Individuals chosen for these assignments will also have opportunities to participate in other animal projects throughout the zoo as assigned. Not all of these positions may be filled.

This position works with the Staff Vet Technician and Registrar. With this opportunity, an intern will help with minor veterinary services (lab tests, routine preventative care, medical rounds, etc.) and assist – if requested – when the Veterinarian is onsite. The ideal candidate will be enrolled in a vet technician program and/or will have some previous experience working as a vet assistant or technician (including as a volunteer).

This position works with the Staff Vet Technician and Registrar. With this opportunity, an intern will learn general and medical recordkeeping and data entry of the zoo’s current and archival animal records. The role of registrar is essential to the organization with meticulous daily and archival recordings of what occurs in animals’ lives. The ideal candidate will have a proficiency for data entry, careful attention to detail and some understanding of the animal recordkeeping.

This position works collaboratively with all of the keepers as well as the Staff Vet Technician and Registrar. With this opportunity, an intern will be given several projects involving behavioral observations and a detailed report thereof. Examples include observing for potential breeding behavior, use of exhibit space, or varying responses to crowd level, each with a summary of findings. The ideal candidate will have prior zoo internship experience, excellent observation skills, and patience, as well as be very self-motivated.

This position works with the Animal Projects Manager learning to create and maintain essential animal needs or exhibit improvements. Examples include creating exhibit furniture, setting up and maintaining misting systems or any number of projects that enhance animals’ lives, helping keepers apply the best welfare standards. The ideal candidate will have a proficiency for working with hand tools in small carpentry, masonry and fence work projects.

Experience Required

Must be enrolled in or have graduated from college-level zoology, wildlife, environmental science, ecology, biology, or related field. Must be able to work in any weather conditions. Must be able to lift 50lbs. Proof of a negative tuberculin test required (must be within 6 months of start date). Tetanus vaccination recommended.

Further Comments

All internships are unpaid. Interns are expected to provide their own housing and transportation (public transportation is limited in the area immediately around the zoo). However, some housing is available through Mohawk Valley Community College at special rates for the summer program. Please indicate if you are interested at the time of application. Note: Access to the staff veterinarian is limited; therefore, if your goal is to work with a veterinarian, this may not be the internship for you.

How to Apply

Application to the program requires both a resume and an appropriate cover letter. These documents should be sent via email to Jessica.Lindsay@uticazoo.org. The cover letter should include your areas of interest, goals and what you can offer the zoo. Statement of area interest does not guarantee placement in that area. Interns will be placed in accordance with the needs of the zoo’s animal collection. The deadline for application is April 15th, however, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. No phone calls.

Business Interns

The Utica Zoo is a non-profit organization and – as such – requires a lot of administrative work to keep it going. If you want to learn the ins and outs of what makes the Utica Zoo tick, definitely look into applying for one of our Business Internships. 

Assists with the daily operations of Zoo business. The ideal candidate will be a highly motivated, self-starter looking to gain experience in Business, Non-Profit Administration, Human Resources, or related field.

Duties/Responsibilities include, but not limited to:

  • Assist in managing and coordinating administrative functions for the Executive Director
  • Assist with word processing, collating, database entry, general office work/projects
  • Assist with writing grants for short and long-term fund-raising.
  • Support with monitoring the budget, analyzing variances to budget, and making recommendations for adjustments as needed.
  • Help with researching, developing, writing, and updating policies, procedures, methods, and guidelines; communicating and enforcing organization values.
  • Provide exceptional and engaging customer service in all interactions
  • Other projects as assigned

Skills/Qualifications:

  • Requires a minimum of 1 year of completed undergraduate study
  • Interest in the fields of business and non-profit administration
  • A commitment to strict confidentiality
  • Self-motivated and detail-oriented; strong analytical, critical thinking, problem-solving abilities; ability to work independently as well as on a team; flexibility
  • Strong interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Customer service experience strongly preferred
  • Proficiency with MS Word and Excel

Assists with the daily operations of the Communications/Public Relations department. The ideal candidate will be a highly motivated, self-starter looking to gain experience in Public Relations, Graphic Design, or related field.

Duties/Responsibilities include, but not limited to:

  • Assist in managing information on Zoo Website, and social media pages
  • Assist with writing and distributing press releases, PSAs, and other media contact
  • Assist with maintaining all databases pertaining to donor management.
  • Assist with graphic design for signage on grounds, maps, brochures, event posters, newsletter, advertising, and program books, ads for web and print and other promotional materials
  • Help produce and collect photography necessary for use in zoo materials.
  • Provide exceptional and engaging customer service in all interactions
  • Other projects as assigned

Skills/Qualifications:

  • Detail-oriented and the ability to meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to communicate clearly verbally and in writing, and edit work for spelling and grammar
  • Highly skilled with Microsoft Office and graphic design software
  • Knowledge of social media and web design
  • Ability to accomplish goals with energy and drive
  • Positive attitude and strong work ethic with the desire to work as a team member

Assists with the planning, execution and follow through of events held at the Utica Zoo. Also, assist with any visitor experience needs and services.The ideal candidate will be a highly motivated, self-starter looking to gain experience in hosting non-profit fundraisers, special events, securing donations, or related fields.

Duties/Responsibilities include, but not limited to:

  • Assists with recruitment efforts of donations for events, including silent auction items, supplies, and services
  • Administrative duties such as filing, making and returning phone calls, and organizing donations
  • Assists with securing food vendors, wineries, farmers market vendors, and volunteers
  • Assists in creating accurate and complete databases compiling a master list of all parts of each event
  • Assists with creation and distribution of thank you letters for volunteers, donors, and vendors
  • Reconciling ticket sales on site and at other locations
  • Providing exceptional and engaging customer service in all interactions
  • Attends event meetings regarding planning and implementing the events; the night of the event being on call for duties as needed
  • Assists in breaking down the event
  • Conduct and assess face-to-face surveys with visitors as they enter/exit Zoo
  • Other projects as assigned

Skills/Qualifications:

  • Requires minimum of 1 years of completed undergraduate study
  • Interest in the fields of Special Events, fundraiser planning and coordination
  • Self-motivated and detail-oriented; strong analytical, critical thinking, problem-solving abilities; ability to work independently as well as on a team; flexibility; creativeness
  • Strong interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Customer service experience strongly preferred
  • Proficiency with MS Word, Excel and Publisher

How to Apply

Interns are accepted on a rolling basis. Resumes with appropriate cover letters should be sent to Kyla Jacobs. Email: info@uticazoo.org.  Mail:  Utica Zoo, One Utica Zoo Way, Utica, NY, 13501.  Fax: 315-738-0475.  Preferred contact is through email.  The cover letter should include your areas of interest, goals, and what you can offer the zoo.

Education Interns

Are you a college student interested in pursuing a career in environmental or formal education? Gain experience this summer at the Utica Zoo! Our hands on education internship offers students the opportunity to teach people of all ages about the importance of the natural world and promote positive conservation practices.

Summer education internships are full-time (32-40 hr/wk). These positions are unpaid and interns are expected to have their own housing and transportation; Housing is also available through our local community college if needed. Proof of a negative Tuberculin test is required (must be within 6 months of the start of the internship).

Interns are required to participate in daily education presentations and will also be assisting with ZooMobile programs, zoo camps, and birthday parties. Preference is given to students with public speaking experience and/or students enrolled in environmental science, ecology, outdoor/environmental education, elementary education, or any science education program.

How to Apply

Send your resume along with a cover letter to Kathleen.McGill@uticazoo.org. If you have any questions or want more information about the internship position, feel free to contact the Utica Zoo Education Department at 315-738-0472 ext. 36.