Interns/Externs

 

Click here to email our internship coordinator!

Interns are required to submit an application for consideration. This includes the following document, plus support materials.
(Download PDF Internship Application)

Internship Program
Externship Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Annual Activity Schedule

Internship Program

Length of stay: 2-3 months – preference given to those available for three months.

Who Can Apply: Anyone can apply, however accepted applicants are typically current undergraduate students in any degree, or those who have completed their Bachelor’s degrees in the past 24 months.

Accepting Applications: Year round.

Program Details: Interns have an opportunity to gain experience in fields related to captive animal management and wildlife biology, while supporting the daily operations of a non-profit organization. You will gain experience in the following areas:

  • Behavioral Training- practical skills and application of positive reinforcement, clicker training, mark and capture.
  • Animal Husbandry- feeding, medicating, health observation, maintenance of enclosures, and environmental enrichment.
  • Safe Handling Practices- Ethology and identifying behavioral cues.
  • Teamwork and Independence- Interns will have a variety of tasks over the course of their stay that may require them to work as a team as well as other tasks that will require them to work independently.
  • Interpersonal Skills- Interns will gain experience within their duties to learn skills such as prioritizing, decision making, multitasking, as well as learning your limits and pushing beyond them.
  • Non-profit Business Management- includes areas in marketing, grant writing, fundraising, networking, outreach, and membership coordination.
  • Public Relations- Interns will interact and work with the public by working customer service in our gift shop, giving tours, and answering visitor questions.
  • Research Experience- Interns may have the opportunity to observe research that is currently being conducted by visiting researchers, with the direct permission of each researcher. During the months of January and February interns will participate in our in house observational research. Interns are trained and prepared to conduct our breeding season watch behavioral research.
  • Daily Operations of a Non Profit- Interns will be asked to assist in the following areas: office/clerical, maintenance of grounds, manual labor, retail and admissions.

Typical activities include:

  • Observing Veterinary Care- this may include surgeries, vaccinations, daily hospice care to our older animals.
  • Assisting with Large Scale Projects- this may include building of new enclosures and fences.
  • Grounds and Maintenance Work- Interns help us do everything that keeps the park up and running, including cleaning out animal enclosures, cutting grass and shoveling snow. It may not always be glamorous, but we wouldn’t be open without these things!
  • Attending Educational Lectures- weekly educational sessions are given by staff members on topics such as: animal husbandry, nonprofit management, classical and operant conditioning, training techniques, updates on wild wolf populations and state management. Interns may have the opportunity to sit in on portions of our seminars.
  • Visiting Other Facilities- past trips include: Indianapolis Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, Exotic Feline Rescue Center, and Columbian Park Zoo.
  • Make Friends for Life- experience other cultures from around the world, as some of our Interns and Externs are from other countries such as: Germany, Japan, Australia, Norway, Ireland, etc.
  • Meeting Wolves and Foxes- all of our animals with the exception of the Bison are hand raised and socialized to humans from a very young age. This allows us to work with our animals throughout their life time as well as give a once in a lifetime experience for those that participate in our programs. All Interns get limited opportunities to meet our animals in person.
  • Create your own fundraiser- Interns in the past have assisted with our yearly events by creating small fundraising activities in conjunction to our themed parties. For example, this has included selling pumpkin pie made from the pumpkins from our annual Pumpkin Party. Interns help with all of our fundraisers, including the Walk For Wolves.
  • Seasonal Activities- during the time pups are here at Wolf Park, interns can assist in the socialization process of the pups. Interns participate in observational research during the breeding season. Interns can also shadow the park’s veterinarian.
  • Butchering- At Wolf Park we feed our wolves predominantly road kill deer. In order to keep our wolves healthy and happy, all interns are trained and are required to properly prepare food for the wolves. This involves learning how to butcher the carcasses and dispense the food in accordance to our feeding protocols.

Costs: $495 for the entire program. A $200 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of acceptance to hold your space, with the balance due in full one month before your arrival. Housing is included. Food, transportation to and from our facility, groceries, souvenirs, visas and other expenses are not included in the program price.

Application Process: Interns are required to submit an application for consideration.

Applications can be emailed, mailed or faxed to our facility. Once the application is received, it is reviewed by the Intern Coordinator. If you appear to be a good match for our program, the next step is an interview. This can be conducted over the phone or by Skype. Interviews are prearranged by the Intern Coordinator and applicant between the hours of 10am to 5pm EST Monday thru Friday and generally take about an hour.

After the interview, if you are accepted, your acceptance will be contingent on a background check, which we conduct after receipt of your $200 non-refundable deposit to hold your space. In the event that you are denied entry into the program based on your background check, $175 of your deposit will be returned to you. Full payment for the program is due one month before your arrival.

Foreign nationals: don’t forget to apply for the appropriate visa after you are accepted!

Application Deadlines: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Priority is given to those applicants with relevant experience or studying towards fields that are most relevant to Wolf Park. We typically have fewer applicants for the winter season, so if you are applying for in Internship or Externship, we may be more lenient about accepting you based on area of study at that time. Submit your application as soon as possible to have the best chances of securing a space. Summer is our busiest season, and often fills up by the end of February. We often receive summer applications the summer before.

Externship Program

Length of Stay: Approximately 1 month

Who Can Apply: Anyone can apply; however accepted applicants are typically undergraduates and recent graduates in Animal Science, Veterinary Medicine, Psychology or other relevant degrees.

Accepting Applications: Year round

Program Details: This program provides a short practical experience in the management of captive animals. Externs will have the opportunity to observe the daily operations of a non-profit animal care facility. Due to the short time period of this program, Externs will not be cleared on all activities, such as tours or giving medications to animals, which Interns are able to participate in. The main focus will be on shadowing Staff, Interns and longer standing Volunteers to learn about the Park’s daily operations. Participants will gain similar experiences to that of the internship program and can voluntarily choose similar activities to that of Interns. However, this program is not as strictly structured as an Internship. Externs have the freedom to choose their activities and are generally independent, working on specific goals that they would like to accomplish during their time here. The Extern experience will only be as in depth and involved as the Extern participant makes an effort for it to be.

Typical Activities Include:

  • Job Shadowing of Wolf Park Staff- Externs may follow the staff in the following areas of: animal husbandry, park management, non-profit marketing, and business. Including interviewing the staff in more detail on specific subjects.
  • Extended Animal Observation- Externs will be allowed observe our animals at times that are convenient to them.
  • Educational Sessions- Externs are allowed to view our seminars in their entirety as well as any offsite lectures during their stay here. Of course, Externs will also be invited to attend our weekly educational sessions that are given.

Costs: $595 for the one month with an additional cost of $395 for extra months. A $200 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of acceptance to hold your space, with the balance due in full one month before your arrival. Housing is included. Food, transportation to and from our facility, as well as for groceries, souvenirs, visas and other expenses are not included in the program price.

Application Process: Externs are required to submit an application for consideration.

Applications can be emailed, mailed or faxed to our facility. Once the application is received, it is reviewed by the Intern Coordinator. If you appear to be a good match for our program, the next step is an interview. This can be conducted over the phone or by Skype. Interviews are prearranged by the Intern Coordinator and applicant between the hours of 10am to 5pm EST Monday thru Friday and generally take about an hour.

After the interview, if you are accepted, your acceptance will be contingent on a background check, which we conduct after receipt of your $200 non-refundable deposit to hold your space. In the event that you are denied entry into the program based on your background check, $175 of your deposit will be returned to you. Full payment for the program is due one month before your arrival.

Application Deadlines: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Priority is given to those applicants with relevant experience or studying towards fields that are most relevant to Wolf Park. We typically have fewer applicants for the winter season, so if you are applying for in Internship or Externship, we may be more lenient about accepting you based on area of study at that time. Submit your application as soon as possible to have the best chances of securing a space. Summer is our busiest season, and often fills up by the end of February. We often receive summer applications the summer before.

Internship/Externship FAQs

What is the difference between an Internship and an Externship? Since Externships are shorter than Internships, Externs do more shadowing than hands-on work. Externs may not have time to be cleared to give tours or give medication to the animals. The Externship program is less structured that the Internship program.

What is a typical day like for an Intern? There is no “typical day” since Interns help wherever they are needed most. This might include setting up and helping out with a special event like Brew on the Bridge, building a fence or mowing grass, attending a weekly lecture, preparing our newsletter and other mailings, watching research, stuffing watermelons for the animals, or observing a veterinary procedure.

Days at Wolf Park often start early. In the morning, Interns give medications to our animals, and then start on daily chores such as butchering and feeding. Daily routines vary from season to season. During our high season, Interns spend the afternoons staffing the Visitor’s Center (gift shop) and giving tours to visitors. During breeding season, Interns take shifts during the 24 hour observation period. Days end late, especially during Howl Night and After Hours programs. We cannot guarantee that you will be able to observe research or vet procedures – it all depends what we happen to have going on during your stay.

What is a typical day like for an Extern? Externs also don’t have a “typical day” since they spend their time observing whatever is happening at the time. This might be watching the veterinarian give vaccines, shadowing our Animal Care staff during their daily routines, or watching research. Externs are invited to participate in as many Intern activities as possible. We also ask our Externs to help out wherever they are needed. This might mean checking in visitors for a special event or fence building.  Externs may not have much opportunity for contact with the animals.

What is the housing like? Interns are provided with onsite housing. The five bedrooms are basic, and Interns and Externs share rooms (same gender only). The house is older, however air conditioning and heating is available. There is only one shower, a communal kitchen, and a second half bathroom. There is a shared washer and dryer. Sharing a house with up to ten people can be challenging, especially during the summer when you come in from chores like butchering and only have a short period of time to grab lunch and change into your tour clothes. Free wi-fi internet is provided, however we ask that Interns do not download large files, so bring your movies with you.

What other costs are there for the program? Keep in mind that you will need money for food, transportation and money for going out. Wolf Park is in a rural setting, but is only about 15 minutes from Lafayette, where Purdue University is located. Interns that can bring their own vehicle are encouraged to do so. Lafayette has lots of restaurants and local festivals during the summer. We hold “Ethnic Night” once a week at a local ethnic restaurant, which have included Thai, Indian, Mediterranean, Mexican, etc. Interns, staff and volunteers are all invited to join these nights out. Interns also tend to spend more than expected in our gift shop!

When should I apply? You can apply any time – earlier is better! We typically turn people away for our summer session due to a high volume of applications. Some people that apply for summer and don’t make it in end up requesting to come the following summer. For winter months, two or three months out is usually sufficient. That being said, plans change and life happens – so we do accept last-minute applications.

Annual Activity Schedule

The following is a general monthly schedule to help prospective Interns and Externs decide when they may want to stay at Wolf Park.

January Closed to the public except on Howl Nights. The wolves are becoming more active and we prepare for the breeding season. January, February, and March are a good time for observing behavior. Quite cold weather. July Open to the public six days a week. Puppies are still being raised by human parents. Hot weather.
February Closed to the public except for Howl Night. The wolves are at their most active, and breeding season is in full swing. Quite cold still. August Open to the public six days a week. Puppies are reintroduced to the pack. Hot weather.
March Closed to the public except for Howl Night. Breeding season is over, and we wait for the puppies to be born. The wolves are still active. Not as cold, but snow still possible. September Open to the public six days a week. Can be hot, but starting to cool off.
April Closed to the public except for Howl Night. The puppies are born and raised by human parents. The activity level of the wolves is dropping. Rainy and still chilly outside. October Open to the public six days a week. Getting nicer out, but rain can begin.
May Open to the public six days a week. Puppies are being raised by human parents. Getting warmer, still may be wet. November Open to the public six days a week, but visitation is dropping way off. Getting cold and wet outside.
June Open to the public six days a week. Puppies are still being raised by human parents. Getting hot weather now. December Closed to the public except for Howl Night. Wolf activity level is increasing. Winter arrives.
NOTE: We may or may not have puppies in any particular year, and they may or may not stay living at Wolf Park as described here. Inquire for details when you arrange your Internship or Externship.