About Turtle Back Zoo
Essex County Turtle Back Zoo (TBZ) is committed to providing an enriching recreational experience that fosters excellence in wildlife education and wildlife conservation, so that present and future generations are inspired to understand, appreciate, and protect the fragile interdependence of all living things. We do this by adhering to 5 core principles that guide our goals and priorities: safety, animal welfare, communication, inspiration, and collaboration. Our team is passionate, positive, and persistent; we strive each day to protect our planet’s most precious species and the ecosystems they depend on.
The Turtle Back Zoo Internship program is an opportunity for those looking to gain work experience and make important professional connections at a medium-sized, but growing, regional zoo located in northern New Jersey. Interns will receive training under the supervision of our Animal Care Team in animal husbandry and management. Interns will gain first-hand experience working safely around rare and endangered species. Interns will leave with a basic knowledge of animal natural history, behavior, reproduction, nutrition, and veterinary care. Interns will learn how to apply this knowledge alongside husbandry techniques to improve the quality of life for animals under our care.
Currently, all internships are unpaid; interns are responsible for housing and transportation. All applicants must be current students at an accredited college or university following a course of study that is related to the internship and should have at least 60 college credits before applying. All interns will be required to pass a criminal background check prior to being accepted.
Summer internships will require a commitment of 12 weeks between May 22 and August 31. The intern’s working schedule will be a mutual decision between the intern and Turtle Back Zoo and will be considered final once agreed upon. The number of hours required weekly will not exceed 20. Adjustments to the schedule may be made if agreed upon by both intern and Turtle Back Zoo. If the intern is applying the experience to a college or university requirement, the intern is responsible for obtaining all necessary approvals from their university. Interns are required to provide proof of a negative TB test and a completed COVID-19 vaccination series including booster prior to their start date. No exceptions will be granted.
Animal Care Internship, Aquarium (Husbandry)
Turtle Back Zoo’s Aquarium department is responsible for the daily husbandry of our marine fish collection as well as the maintenance of the habitats they live in under our care. Interns will become familiar with the daily operations of fishkeeping in a public display setting. Daily duties will include routine cleaning of habitats, food preparation for the animals, filtration maintenance, enrichment, training, record-keeping of husbandry activities, and many other additional tasks. This position will be responsible for adhering to all zoo safety protocols, standard operating procedures, and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accreditation standards and offers a unique opportunity for undergraduates, graduate students, and recent college graduates interested in obtaining practical experience in the animal care and training field.
Responsibilities and Learning Objectives:
- By the end of the internship, applicants will:
- Be familiar with the overall work of an aquarist in a public display setting.
- Be familiar with the water chemistry associated with fishkeeping.
- Be familiar with diet preparations for a variety of marine fish.
- Be able to troubleshoot issues with tank filtration.
- 18 years of age or older
- Enrolled in or a recent graduate of a four-year college program in biological sciences.
- Applicants should consider themselves hard-working, dedicated, and reliable.
- Applicants should have excellent observation and communication skills.
- Applicants should be able to perform physically demanding tasks daily (lifting 50-pound salt boxes, for example).
- Applicants should be able to work on weekends, holidays, and in inclement weather.
How to apply
- Prepare a cover letter that includes the following elements:
- What is your status as a student (name of school, academic level, GPA)?
- Why do you want to intern with Turtle Back Zoo, how you would be a good fit, and any other special skills or qualities you will bring to TBZ?
- Submit directly to TBZ via email. Put your “name” and “internship application” in the subject line of your email. Email your cover letter, resume, 2 letters of recommendation, and a copy of your most recent transcript to:
- Marguerite Hunt
- Curator of Education
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