American Trail Internship

Organization: Smithsonian National Zoo (AZA Member)
Location: Washington , DC, United States
Job or Internship: Internship

The National Zoo provides the opportunity for interns to gain experience in the zookeeping field by participating in daily animal keeper activities, which include husbandry, nutrition, enrichment, training, and visitor education. American Trail is seeking applicants for the Spring 2014 semester internship. This area houses a diverse pinniped collection, wolves, river otters, beavers and birds.


• Assist animal keepers with feeding animals, cleaning animal and non-animal areas, diet preparation, behavioral observations and other various tasks under supervision.

• Provide formal and informal interpretive educational programs for visitors.

• Help design and implement animal enrichment programs.

• Learn and follow animal/keeper safety guidelines, operations, and polices.

• Develop an educational or research project to complete during the internship.


• Must have or currently be pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in a related field.

• Must have strong communication skills.

• Must be able to work in a team environment with staff, other interns, and a variety of volunteers.

• Must be willing to work outdoors in all weather conditions.

• Must be flexible and have a good sense of humor.

• Must be in good physical condition, able to stand, stoop, and climb, and lift at least 50 pounds.

• Must be comfortable with public speaking on and off microphone.

• Must be fingerprinted and pass a background check.

• Must have a negative TB test.

• Strong preference will be given to candidates with direct animal experience, a sincere interest in the field of zookeeping, and who are comfortable snorkeling in a wetsuit (not provided) to clean pools.


A three and a half month internship is available for the Spring of 2014 (January 15-April 30). Reasonable exceptions may be made in order to coordinate with university schedules. Applications must be submitted by October 18, 2013.


This is an unpaid internship. College credit is offered when/if desired appropriate.


The intern must make his or her own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C. area. Free parking is NOT provided to National Zoo interns. Public transportation is strongly suggested and readily available in the D.C. area.


Go to and select “Apply” from the list on the left. Click the link “Smithsonian On Line Academic Appointment System (SOLAA)

” and then “New to SOLAA? Create an Account.”

Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit” and when your references have been received (your SOLAA submitted application and references must be received by the deadline as noted above). Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

• Basic personal information

• Professional resume

• College or university and current academic status

• Degrees held or expected

• Transcripts (unofficial or official)

• Two letters of reference (One must be from a current or a former supervisor)

• An essay stating:

 Why you are interested in an internship in American Trail at the National Zoo, and any prior animal experience

 What you hope to get out of this internship (learning and skill objectives)


Send an email to Chelsea Grubb at with American Trail internship in the subject line.

Phone calls will NOT be accepted.