NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Being an intern at the Nashville Zoo is a great opportunity for young college-aged men and women interested in animal care and zoo operations to get hands-on experience. Applications will be taken for internships soon.
“We’re very excited because we are actually opening up our internship applications for our summer 2023 semester on February 1st,” exclaimed Collin Howell, Nashville Zoo volunteer manager. “It’s a really cool program that lets college-aged individuals come into our zoo and learn all about what it means to take care of our animals and what our keepers do here at the zoo.”
The “keepers” he refers to are the ones who actually take care of the animals. And they want you to learn every aspect of what they do.
“One really big thing that we try to focus on is the education of our interns,” Howell pointed out. “Making sure that they know what it takes to be a keeper day in and day out. That’s things like Animal Husbandry: How do we feed and clean our animals? Training: How do we train our animals to participate in their own health care? And also things like guest engagement. We want them to leave the program here with us at the zoo getting a good grasp of what it means to be an animal care professional in the zoo field.”
And as part of their internships, the students will complete special projects.
“They usually complete two projects with us here at the zoo,” Howell said. “And those projects are specialized in an area, say like training, or an area like guest engagement. So, they really get to jump in to those keeper talks to learn how to do those, or say if they are building an enrichment piece, they really get to learn hands-on about the different things that it takes to be a keeper.”
So, after their internships, where do they go from there?
“We have a lot of interns that go on to work in many of the zoos around the country,” Howell explained. “But we also have interns that live right here in Nashville who don’t want to leave Nashville, and they work at places like local rehab organizations and local non-profits that focus on wildlife and environmental conservation.”
WHEN AND HOW TO APPLY:
Applications will be open from February 1st to March 1st for the 2023 summer semester. The internship at the zoo will be for twelve weeks or three months, as they actually have three internship periods: spring, summer, and fall. The applications for those other semesters open up throughout the year.
And guess what? These are paid internships, and housing is even provided.
“A lot of people can’t do unpaid work and still get that experience,” Howell said. “So, we pay an hourly wage. On top of that, we also provide free housing, which we are providing this semester for the first time. So, our interns don’t have to focus on anything else while they’re here besides learning and actually stepping into the field that they are learning about.”
Applications can be found on the Nashville Zoo website, under their “Jobs and internships” page (located under the “Support” tab).
News 2 has partnered with Nashville Zoo to bring you weekly segments of Zoopalooza. You can watch them on News 2 on Good Morning Nashville on Saturday and right here on WKRN.com.