Volunteers :: College Internship Program

College Internship Program

The Dallas Zoo’s College Internship Program provides an interesting and rewarding learning opportunity for currently enrolled undergraduate or post-graduate students at an accredited college/university in the United States. Interns become actively involved in the Zoo’s animal care departments, conservation/research efforts, operations, and administrative positions.

Interns work 20-40 hours per week for a minimum of 12 consecutive weeks during one of the sessions listed below. The purpose of the placements is to help the intern gain experience related to their education, and most are unpaid positions. The Dallas Zoo will work with students to document necessary time or projects needed to gain university credit for the internship. Unfortunately, we cannot provide transportation, housing, or a stipend.

Qualifications:

Must be able to perform the physical challenges involved in the daily duties of the department including talking for long periods, walking throughout the park, lifting/carrying equipment weighing approximately 50 lbs., sitting, kneeling, stooping, crawling, twisting, reaching above head, pulling, bending, and climbing stairs and ladders. Candidate must be able and willing to perform all above duties outdoors and in all weather conditions.

Internships are limited to US nationals.

Please contact the Volunteer Department for additional information or an application:

Volunteers@DallasZoo.com
650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway
Dallas, TX 75203-3013
469.554.7452

Internship Application Deadlines:
Summer Session (May-August): March 10
Fall Session (September-December): July 10
Winter/Spring Session (January-April): Nov. 10

Candidates are encouraged to apply early. Due to the high volume of applications received, you will be contacted only if you are considered for an interview. Late applications will not be considered. Successful completion of a background check is required.

 

Available Internship Opportunities

 

Administrative Internships
(click to view descriptions)

 

Communications/Marketing Internship

This intern position will work closely with Dallas Zoo’s communications and marketing team, creating content for the ZooHoo! Blog, social media, advertising/marketing channels, website, press releases and advisories, newsletters, and other related communications.

The following areas include:

  • Public Relations
    • Writing press releases and media advisories
    • Assisting in setting up media events
    • Assisting with on-air appearances at local TV and radio stations
    • Compiling print and TV media coverage
    • Pitching story ideas for ZooHoo! blog
    • Perform interviews and write content for ZooHoo! blog
    • Participating in social media efforts (including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram)
    • Attending and participating in internal planning meetings
    • Proofreading publications and other materials
    • Coordinating video requests
  • Marketing
    • Assisting with marketing and advertising events
    • Researching new trade opportunities with publications and organizations
    • Writing editorial content for local blogs and publications that promote Zoo programs and events
    • Writing website content to promote programs and events at the Zoo
    • Brainstorming promotional ideas and fulfilling promotional partnership obligations
    • Adding Zoo events to online event calendars

 

Development/Event Planning Internship

This is a great opportunity to work in the Development field as a fundraising professional. Be a part of the Dallas Zoo’s Advancement Team working on projects with our advancement services department, sponsorship fulfillment, grant writing, research and fundraising events. Learn the ins-and-outs of a successful fundraising development team by assisting with event details and donor fulfillment activities.

 

Guest Experience Internship

The Guest Experience Department oversees the hospitality function of the Zoo. Interns are exposed to a wide variety of tasks that enable them to gain experience in customer service and public relations, as well as the business and economic side of the hospitality and zoo industry. This position offers an opportunity to work one on one with zoo staff that specialize in various facets of hospitality and customer service. The internship program affords individuals a behind the scenes look of what it takes to manage a successful, internationally recognized zoo.

 

Volunteer Management Internship

The Volunteer Management intern will work with staff implementing the Zoo’s volunteer programs. The intern will gain a greater knowledge and understanding of the needs required for managing and maintaining an efficient volunteer program. Duties will include assisting with the management of 1,000+ volunteers. Intern will take part in volunteer recruitment, screening, orientation, training, motivation, retention and recognition.

 

 

Animal Care Internships
(click to view descriptions)

 

African Hoofstock Internship

African Hoofstock Intern will be trained to work on all 4 routes in the section, assisting the keepers with daily animal care, enrichment and animal observations. The intern will observe training sessions and assist the keepers with protected contact training as requested.

The intern will complete the Keeper Training course, Enrichment 101, and Animal Training 101. They may also have the opportunity to spend a half-day in the Animal Nutrition Center, with the Research Department on a data collection day, and a half-day in another mammal section, and a half day with the Registrar.

 

Aquarist Internship: SUMMER ONLY

Aquarium Internship at Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park

Two (2) applicants will be selected to work in animal husbandry at the aquarium, located off zoo grounds at Fair Park. They will work under the supervision of the Aquarists, Senior Aquarists and Aquarium Supervisor.

The aquarium husbandry interns must be responsible, hard-working, and ideally having a strong interest in aquatic/marine life. Under the supervision of staff the selected candidates will be involved in all facets of husbandry including the following areas: Water chemistry analysis, feeding and care of animals, diet preparation, Life support system maintenance and operation, culture of live foods, observation of animal behaviors, administration of medical treatments, and housekeeping and proper sanitation of equipment

There may also be opportunities to participate in the aquarium’s conservation programs; including aiding in the propagation of imperiled species at the aquarium and possibly surveys of animals in the field.

About the Aquarium
The Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park (formerly the Dallas Aquarium) is the third-oldest aquarium in North America and has been displaying aquatic and marine life for nearly 80 years. The aquarium holds 235,000 gallons of fresh and salt water and is home to over 5,000 animals representing nearly 400 species. The animals kept include invertebrates, numerous bony fishes, sharks, rays, amphibians, reptiles, and sea turtles.

 

Carnivore Internship

Interns will work on a rotation schedule throughout the section, which includes a variety of large felids species. Interns will learn the natural history of the animals in the area, all aspects of the daily animal husbandry – including cleaning, diet preparation, training and enrichment opportunities, behavioral observations, animal introductions, and animal breeding. They will also assist with the daily training demonstrations and other keeper talks performed in the area and will learn to interact with the public in an educational and professional manner.

 

Lacerte Family Children's Zoo Animal Program Internship

Animal Program Interns will work alongside staff in all aspects of animal husbandry, enrichment, training, and interpretation in the farmyard area of the Children’s Zoo. They will observe and have the opportunity to participate in operant conditioning training sessions. Interns will have the opportunity to develop interpretive skills interacting with guests of all ages in the various animal contact areas and through animal encounters.  Animal Program Interns may also work on assigned projects including behavioral observations, data collection, enrichment initiatives, and animal presentation development.

The intern will complete the Animal Training Class 101 and 201, as available.

 

North - Savanna / Registrar Internship

This is a split position. The intern will spend mornings (7 a.m. to noon) working in the North Savanna assisting the keepers with animal care duties. Species in the North Savanna include giraffe, greater kudu, zebra, ostrich, guinea fowl, warthogs, and red river hogs. The intern will assist the keeper with cleaning, exhibit maintenance, enrichment, operant conditioning, and animal behavior observation 4-5 mornings a week. Unique opportunities include: monitoring elephant mixes with giraffe, impala, zebra, ostrich and guinea fowl, and observing animal transfers, training, and veterinary procedures.

In the afternoons (1-4 p.m.), the intern will assist the zoo’s registrar by entering North Savanna animal records into ZIMS – an international zoological record keeping system. The intern will have the opportunity to learn the use of this software program. Most AZA zoos will eventually be using ZIMS, so learning the system will be very useful to those seeking a career in zoos.

 

Nutrition Internship

Prepare daily diets for all zoo animals under the direction of supervising personnel. Assist with inventory and quality control of all perishable foods. Assist with cleanliness of food preparation area and dishes. The Animal Nutrition Center is a centralized food preparation operation that provides for all dietary needs of the animal collection at the Dallas Zoo. The Animal Nutrition Center operates 7 days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This internship provides work experience within a comprehensive nutrition program and includes animal food production, as well as animal nutrition research components.

No direct animal contact takes place in this role.

Responsibilities:
Work alongside nutrition keepers to prepare and deliver balanced and enriching diets for the 2,000+ animals living at Dallas Zoo and the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park. Assist in nutrition research projects such as food nutrient analysis (sample processing, data collection and entry) and quality control (forages, feeds, browses, etc.). Track, organize and present data on animals in our collection to the Animal staff as part of a brown bag lecture series. Work in a team environment to accomplish area tasks.

 

Savanna Internship

Savanna Intern will work primarily in the Giraffe, Savanna Hoofed Stock and Donga Barns. Species in the North Savanna include giraffe, greater kudu, zebra, ostrich, guinea fowl, warthogs, and red river hogs. The intern will assist the keeper with cleaning, exhibit maintenance, enrichment, operant conditioning, and animal behavior observation. The intern will observe training sessions and assist the keepers with protected contact training as requested. The intern will assist with public feeding on the Giraffe Feed Platform and will assist with daily Keeper Talks/training demonstrations at the Donga.

Other opportunities include: monitoring elephant mixes with giraffe, kudu, zebra, ostrich and guinea fowl, and observing animal transfers, training, and veterinary procedures.

Interns also may have the opportunity to spend one day in the Animal Nutrition Center, a day in the Wilds of Africa, and a half day with the Registrar.

 

Wilds of Africa Birds Internship

Interns will work all routes of section assisting keepers in all aspects of keeper job description in all weather conditions including preparing diets, cleaning and maintaining enclosures and exhibits, husbandry, medical procedures and enrichment. Interns may also work on assigned projects including behavioral observations, data collection, and data entry/analysis.

Educational benefit – obtaining experience working with approximately 75 species of African birds from many taxa and in all aspects of their husbandry and care.

 

ZooNorth - Bird Department Internship

Interns will work all routes of section assisting keepers in all aspects of keeper job description. Interns will work in all weather conditions. Tasks include preparing diets, cleaning and maintaining enclosures and exhibits, husbandry, medical procedures and enrichment. Educational benefit – obtaining experience working with many species of birds from many taxa and in all aspects of their husbandry and care. Interns will also receive experience working with the public in such areas as Bird’s Landing and Lorikeet Landing.

 

ZooNorth - Mammal Internship

The Zoo North Mammal intern will have an opportunity to work with a diverse collection of animals.  The area consists of five routines which the intern will work on a rotational schedule. Species in the area include primates (lemurs, monkeys, and gibbons), small carnivores (meerkats and ASC otters) and Australian animals (emu, wallaby, and kangaroo). They will learn the natural history of the animals in the area and all aspects of husbandry-including diet preparation, training and enrichment, behavioral observation, veterinary procedures, exhibit renovations and record keeping. They will also have the opportunity to gain public speaking experience by assisting with area keeper talks, tours and demonstrations.

The intern will complete the Animal Training Class 101 and 201, as available.

 

 

Animal Operations Internships
(click to view descriptions)

 

Registrar Internship

The intern will be given an overview of records and permits required for Zoological operations. Additionally, a project will be assigned for data collection, most likely from historic animal records. Depending upon scope of the data retrieved, the data may be organized into spreadsheet, Word document or directly into the animal record database. The project may be one designated of high immediate need for husbandry reasons at the time of the internship, or be of general husbandry importance to mine historic data for trends and information. Interests and background of the individual intern will be taken into consideration.

Educational value:

  • Zoological Record keeping overview (beneficial for multiple career choices)
  • Federal and State permit overview
  • Introduction to basic animal husbandry data.
  • Potential species specific components: Rearing/neonatal development progression
  • Several historic events to be researched and entered to add to the collective knowledge base.
  • Animal introductions

 

 

Education Internships
(click to view descriptions)

 

Conservation Engagement Internship

The Dallas Zoo’s College Internship Program provides an interesting and rewarding learning opportunity for currently enrolled undergraduate or post-graduate students at an accredited college/university in the United States. Interns become actively involved in the Zoo’s animal care departments, conservation/research efforts and administrative positions.

The Dallas Zoo seeks an intern to assist with the planning and implementation of conservation engagement initiatives.

This internship will primarily involve working with the Dean of the Wild Earth Academy along with volunteers and key community partners, to organize, coordinate, and execute educational and relationship-building events focused on engaging people in conservation action. The intern will play an integral role in helping to plan and implement a series of events, including; Animal Awareness Weekends, Conservation Action Days, and a Conservation Lecture Series.

Core functions involve assisting with the planning, logistics, and execution of conservation themed events. The intern will represent the Dallas Zoo in a wide variety of public activities while gaining experience in:  non-profit community engagement, event planning, building relationships and coordinating with community partners, database management, and communications. Some evening and weekend work will be required.

 

Education Internship

Dallas Zoo’s Education Department is focused on providing high quality education programming for four key audiences: early childhood, youth, families, and educators. Our summer season is filled with summer camp programs for PreK-12th grade, youth volunteer programs, and overnight programs for families and other groups.

Working alongside education staff, interns in education will receive training and experience in effective instructional techniques for informal learning, conservation and science-oriented curriculum writing, outcomes-based program evaluation, business and marketing aspects of informal education, and customer service in a team-based professional environment. There are many different roles in the education department; in the beginning of the internship, interns will have the opportunity to choose specific staff to shadow based on personal interest. Interns will also be responsible for completing a demonstration project on one of the topics outlined above.

 

Visitor Studies and Program Evaluation Internship

Understanding the connections between people, animals, and conservation

The intern will participate in research projects focused on better understanding Zoo audiences and how the Zoo can encourage them to participate in conservation and adopt behaviors that benefit animals and wildlife. Together we will develop research protocols that allow us to gain insights into our audiences, and test ways to cultivate visitors to become conservation stewards.

You will:

  • Develop familiarity with social science research methods
  • Refine ability to develop and implement research projects
  • Conduct critical research and analysis related to conservation efforts

Requirements

  • Minimum two years’ relevant college coursework towards a Bachelor’s degree in psychology or other social science or directly relevant field/coursework required. Other possible subject areas include education (especially biology and environmental education), communications, marketing or audience research, and museum studies. Graduate level courses are a plus, but not required.
  • Strong social skills and the ability to interact effectively with strangers essential; excellent verbal and written communication skills are required.
  • Experience conducting interviews and/or interacting with the public is desirable, including both adults and children.
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail and accuracy required.
  • Strong computer skills required, with experience in Microsoft Excel. Some basic understanding of program evaluation or statistics preferred.
  • Experience and/or ability to work and interact effectively with a diverse, multicultural audience. Multilingual ability and Spanish fluency a plus.
  • Must have strong interest in conservation and social science.
  • Must be a self-starter with an ability to work independently.

 

Lacerte Family Children's Zoo Interpretation Internship

Interpretation Interns will work alongside staff in preparing and presenting unique and engaging visitor experiences within the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo. Opportunities will include work with both animal and non-animal related programs with a heavy focus on creating an environment that helps foster an empathy for nature in children. Work areas will primarily include the Discovery House, which focuses on working with a 0-5 age range, and the Nature Exchange, which focuses on working with a family audience.

 

Lacerte Family Children's Zoo Evaluation Internship

Evaluation Interns will support internal evaluation projects by assisting staff with instrument development, data collection, data management, data analysis, literature searches/reviews, and reporting. Interns will have the opportunity to work on elements of a variety of different projects, depending both on the project need and on the intern’s interest. Examples include exhibit use, exhibit graphics, guest demographics, guest encounter experiences, action-oriented conservation messages, and outcome-aligned program evaluation. Ability to converse fluently in Spanish is preferred.

 

 

Park Operation Internships
(click to view descriptions)

 

IT Internship

The Intern will assist with onsite IT services and support to employees of the company. Work will be primarily focused on the support of desktop and audio visual technology. The Internship will also include a project detailing inventory of IT equipment throughout zoo and recording of information in the inventory database, assisting staff with the technical set up of special events and conferences, and other equipment concerns.

 

Dallas Zoo Group Sales & Catering Internship

Intern will work in all business aspects of the Group Sales & Catering Department from prospecting through the billing process.

Intern will work with other departments within the Zoo to ensure event requirements are met in a safe and efficient manner.

Intern will interact with different operational aspects of sales, catering, food service and park services by managing an event from set up through tear down.

 

Construction Management Internship

An internship with the Dallas Zoo’s Construction department allows students to explore the fundamentals of construction management. The intern will find themselves performing a variety of project and construction management tasks. Interns will gain a basic understanding of coordinating between owner, architect and contractor. Intern will have the opportunity to attend periodic construction progress meetings.

Intern will receive job site experience of how buildings come together from the ground up. Learn how to work together with the architect and contractor to resolve unforeseen conditions in the field. Work alongside the construction manager to learn about the day-to-day and long term business and financial management associated with construction projects, including: budget tracking, cost and schedule control. Be part of an in progress, $10 million dollar expansion at the Zoo and learn about the special construction requirements that a zoo requires.

 

Horticulture Internship

The Intern will assist the Zoo’s professional horticulture staff with managing the Zoo grounds and gardens. The horticulture team is dedicated to the daily operation and maintenance of the facilities garden displays which include a wide variety of native plants.

The intern will gain experience through participation in daily horticultural tasks which may include plant species identification, landscape design, planting, watering, weeding, pruning, mulching of beds, including annual displays and perennial gardens, tree care, plant propagation, maintenance of browse gardens with the help of Zoo volunteers and the care and maintenance of equipment and tools used in performance of the job. The Intern will develop knowledge of toxic plants and those suitable for consumption by animals in the Zoo’s collection.  Intern will work in a team environment to accomplish area tasks. Must be able to perform physical tasks and work actively in inclement weather.

 

Zoo Environmental Internship

The intern will assist the Zoo’s Environmental Manager with management of the Zoo’s Environmental Management System and compliance records. The intern will gain experience through participation in daily tasks which may include on-site maintenance activities, administrative duties to include management of documentation related to chemical inventory and Safety Data Sheet updates, storm water protection and spill prevention, waste management, and environmental training/presentation.

To qualify for this internship, you must demonstrate the ability to work as part of a team, display strong communication skills (verbal and written), and have proficient computer skills (Microsoft Office applications). Intern must be able to perform physical tasks and work actively in inclement weather.

 

Sustainability/Green Team Internship

The Dallas Zoo’s College Internship Program provides an interesting and rewarding learning opportunity for currently enrolled undergraduate or post-graduate students at an accredited college/university in the United States. Interns become actively involved in the Zoo’s animal care departments, conservation/research efforts and administrative positions.

This internship position will support the sustainability efforts of the Dallas Zoo by assisting the Green Team.  The intern will perform a range of tasks including:

  • Recycling: assist in managing our internal sustainability efforts
  • Community: locate vendors for various hard-to-recycle items
  • Garden: work in our Educational Garden which provides organically grown food for our animals
  • Habitat Restoration: assist with bi-yearly cleanups with the Green Team at suitable locations in/around the Zoo
  • Media: improve the website, create blog articles, and manage the online photography collection
  • Staff Education: assist in volunteer recruitment and educational efforts for the Dallas Zoo staff

Candidates should have a passion for sustainability issues and a desire to gain practical knowledge of sustainability efforts within a conservation organization.

 

Research Internships
(click to view descriptions)

 

Behavior Science Internship

The goal of the Behavioral Science internship at the Dallas Zoo is to provide practical opportunities for students interested in pursuing a career in science to learn about animal behavior and appropriate research methods in a zoo setting. Interns have the opportunity to learn skills related to zoological research including study design, and behavioral data collection/analysis methods. Applicants must have completed at least one year of college biology, introductory statistics, and be comfortable using MS Office to qualify.