Bear Mountain State Park receives over a million visitors annually and roughly one in ten of these visitors, or 100,000, explore Trailside Museums & Zoo’s nature trail, animal exhibits, and museums. As an affordable destination within an hour drive of the New York metro region, Trailside serves a diverse audience, including many patrons from underserved communities.
This position spans both our education and zookeeping programs. The Trailside Education Program seeks to bring visitors into meaningful contact with the plants, animals, geology, and history of the Hudson Highlands, specifically what can be found along the trails of Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks. It is our goal to foster in all visitors a greater understanding, appreciation, and respect for the natural world. We achieve this goal through informal education for individuals and families; guided tours for schools and other groups; special events open to the public; a summer day camp for children entering grades 1-8; and topical presentations in spring, summer, and fall. The Trailside Zookeeping Program, which is integral to education and the visitor experience, provides husbandry for our local injured and non-releasable wildlife housed along Trailside’s nature trail, as well as live fish, reptiles, and amphibians (most non-releasable) in one of the museums. The zookeepers feed, maintain, and care for the live animal collection. Given that many of the animals have permanent injuries, this care includes careful observation and monitoring of animal health. It is a shared goal of the Zookeeping and Education Programs for the live animals at Trailside to serve as ambassadors for their kind in our effort to educate our visitors about the natural world and our role as responsible stewards.
Through our orientation and training, the ZI will learn important tools and skills for both zookeeping and environmental interpretation. The ZI will work with the Zookeepers, Educator, and other staff to enhance the interpretive experience for patrons of Trailside. The ZI will directly interact with the public through small impromptu “teaching moments” at the exhibits and more formal live animal presentations. The ZI will receive hands-on experience in animal care and husbandry combined with ongoing training in education and interpretation. The ZI will also collaborate with the Education staff to conduct the Trailside Discovery summer camp, seasonal public programs, special events and guided tours. Additionally, the ZI will also assist Trailside staff and other interns with multimedia education, ongoing volunteer projects, restoration of the Trailside grounds to a native plant community and upkeep of the facilities.
Work will vary throughout the term: January through March & July it will be Sunday – Thursday. April through June & August through November it will be Tuesday – Saturday. Hours are 8:15 AM – 4:45 PM. Schedule may vary due to program needs. In a typical week, two full workdays will be spent working with the education department, and two with the zookeeping department. The other day will consist of morning zookeeping and afternoon education. The term of this 10-month position is January 13, 2022 through November 10, 2022.
Housing is provided in a stone cottage shared with up to 2 other interns. Each intern has a private bedroom. Electric, heat & water utilities included. The cottage is a short walk from Trailside Museums & Zoo.
This position is administered through the Student Conservation Association (www.thesca.org). In addition to your daily duties at Trailside Museums and Zoo, you will be required to participate in SCA events, such as orientation, training, meetings, and service projects.
Must be a citizen of the United States of America. Must have a driver’s license valid for 3 years. Must have own vehicle. Must be comfortable working with animals. Prior experience at a zoo, animal hospital, or similar facility is desired, though not a pre-requisite. Must be detail oriented, flexible, self-motivated, dependable, tolerant and have excellent communication skills. Must be comfortable and enjoy interacting with people of all ages, especially children. Bachelor’s degree in natural sciences or education preferred. Experience working with children is preferred. General knowledge of local flora and fauna is desired. Weekend and holiday work is required.