Our Intern Program is Unique
A core power behind ECWR, our interns receive exponentially more hands-on experience due to our non-profit status, small staff, and big mission. Join our team today and gain experience you'd never thought possible!
Applications are currently being accepted for the Spring 2024 intern session. To apply, you must meet the following requirements:
18 years or older
Must be pursuing a relevant degree or have a strong passion to work in this field
Ability to control the urge to play with and/or pet the wildlife
Ability to lift, push, or pull 30 pounds
Ability to stand, walk, kneel, bend, etc. for extended periods of time
Ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions, especially high heat and humidity
→ Exposure to mosquitoes and other small insects is likely
Ability to cope with the preparation of meat-based diets for animals in our care
Ability to perform basic math calculations
Ability to understand basic medical terminology
Ability to understand decision-making concerning quality of life issues and euthanasia for wildlife patients
Once trained, must be able to work with minimal supervision, yet must recognize limitations in knowledge and abilities and ask for help when needed
Ability to work independently for long periods of time, as well as work in a professional manner within a team atmosphere with other interns/volunteers/staff
→ Understand the need to perform your assigned tasks, but also recognize when others need extra help and be able to step in to provide assistance in order for everyone to accomplish their goals/tasks for the day
The internship duration is 5 days (minimum 40 hours) per week for a minimum of 15 weeks (extensions are available if desired) and interns will be scheduled to meet the needs of the refuge. The facility's medical center is open 7 days a week from 8 am - 4 pm. Staff and interns work until all tasks are finished for the day, which can lead to extended hours during busy seasons. Interns, just like staff and volunteers, are expected to work in all weather conditions. Interns should also be able to follow instructions from ECWR staff, work well with others, and be able to physically perform the tasks required for the position (such as cleaning, feeding, and animal handling).
Why Intern at ECWR?
The experience gained from the immersion into the world of wildlife rehabilitation and animal husbandry is extremely beneficial to those who are contemplating careers in the fields of veterinary medicine, wildlife management, wildlife rehabilitation, biology, or zoology.
Our internship program is designed to provide rehabilitation training that focuses on native Florida wildlife. With this training, interns will be able to participate in actual patient care and practice hands-on wildlife
rehabilitation skills. Upon successful completion of the internship, interns will receive a certificate and documentation of the hours of service performed.
Participation in the ECWR internship program may also meet the requirements
of your college or university and you may be able to receive school credit from your institution for your internship with ECWR. ECWR completes this requested paperwork on an individual basis since we provide intern-specific experience and species summaries at the conclusion of the internship.
Interns participate in at least six lectures specially designed by our Wildlife Rehabilitator to advance skills and knowledge levels.
Learn about basic animal handling techniques, safety equipment, and acceptable protocols and procedures in the industry.
Answering the Wildlife Hotline
Improve your communication skills to coach citizens or tourists who find wildlife in distress and coordinate rescue efforts.
Learn how to accurately complete patient intake and record keeping forms using the correct terminology for an animal science setting.
Learn about diseases ECWR has treated in past rehabilitation patients, those we are currently monitoring, and those we are prepared to potentially treat in the future.
Learn how to conduct physical exams on wild animals, locate and potentially diagnose injuries and determine the appropriate treatment for each scenario is.
Learn about what medications ECWR uses to treat various diagnoses, how to calculate dosages, and how medications are used in real-life scenarios
Intern responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
Animal Husbandry (About 37.5% of the Internship)
Cleaning indoor and outdoor animal habitats to USDA standards, which involves the daily removal of fecal material, old food, prior enrichment, stagnant water, soiled linen and other items.
Habitat building and maintenance, such as raking leaves/sand from habitats, removing weeds, sweeping concrete areas, shoveling/moving sand to fill habitats, and more
Sanitizing soiled items in habitats, such as tires, branches, exercise wheels, crates/dens, etc
Daily diet preparation, which involves handling raw fish and meat food items
General facility maintenance - sweeping, mopping, laundry, dishwashing, organizing, etc
Safely capturing wildlife patients that have been successfully rehabilitated and are ready for release per state and federal regulations
Wildlife Nursing (About 37.5% of the Internship)
Cleaning indoor enclosures of orphaned mammals and birds to USDA standards, which involves the daily removal of fecal material, old food/water, soiled linens, and other items
Understanding species-specific formulas and their applications, as well as specific rations and feeding styles for the most commonly encountered orphaned species
Handling, weighing, and accurately recording patient health data
Cleaning and sanitizing assortment of feeding supplies, such as bottles, nipples, syringes, and tubes
Performing neonatal feeding techniques for litters of orphaned mammals ever 1-2 hours
Performing hatchling/fledging feeding techniques for nests of orphaned songbirds every 30-60 minutes
Taking home neonatal mammals and hatchling songbirds for after-hours feeding and general care
Veterinary Medicine (About 25% of the Internship)
Cleaning cages of injured or sick patients in the ICU, Intake Room, and Isolation Ward
Safely handling [aggressive] wildlife patients for examinations and various medical treatments
Administering oral and injectable (subcutaneous & intramuscular) medications
Performing medical treatments such as wound cleaning, bandaging, and splinting
Conducting initial assessments and creating suggested treatment plans for new patients
Cleaning and sanitizing medical instruments, such as syringes, forceps, hemostats, feeding tubes, etc
Organizing and restocking medical supplies in exam/surgical room
Assisting staff with digital radiography & monitoring patients while under anesthesia for procedures
Managing the facility’s wildlife hotline to coordinate wildlife rescues and answer the public’s inquiries
Apply Now for Spring 2024!
Submit your application below! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out to Michelle, ECWR's Director of Animal Care and Volunteer & Intern Coordinator. She can be reached at Michelle@EmeraldCoastWildlifeRefuge.org.
Some of ECWR's Past Interns
Retired Navy Medical Personnel
Always an animal lover, Karen was drawn to ECWR to learn new wildlife rehabilitation skills that were similar to those she learned in human medicine.
A.S. Natural Resource Conservation
B.S. Marine Biology, University of West Florida
A Navarre native, Brenna saw the connection between what we do and the animals we see in the community, like helping Pelicans she always sees at the pier.
B.S. Biology, Appalachian State University
An extensive world traveler and France native, Audrey delved into the Emerald Coast biome and discovered the world of wildlife rehabilitation. "My ultimate goal is to attain coexistence between humans and animals around the world."
B.S. Animal Science
Bio coming soon!
Skillbridge Intern, United States Air Force
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!