As part of its quest to find better ways to engage the diverse communities of Los Angeles, the LA Zoo will be hosting several 10-week paid internships in for college students from specific groups that are currently underrepresented in the zoo and conservation fields, including Black, Indigenous, other people of color, people with varying abilities, and/or the LGBTQIA+ communities.
According to the Zoo’s announcement of the positions, it will hire 15 interns for its summer 2022 internship cohort, running from June 12 –
August 20. The positions will be available in several Zoo divisions, including Conservation, Learning & Engagement, and Animal Health (Nutrition). The interns “will work directly with industry professionals on real world projects, then summarize their practical knowledge and present on their experience at the conclusion of their internship.”
Candidates should be at least 18 years old and have:
● Interest in animals, zoos, conservation, and/or the communities of Los Angeles;
● Commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and accessibility;
● Internet access for telecommunications with Zoo staff;
Locations for the work vary with the position, and may include the LA Zoo, Griffith Park, other City Departments, and virtual assignments. Also, all internships have a virtual professional development component for which a reliable internet connection and compatible device are required. More specific information about each type of information includes:
Conservation Interns will work directly with the Zoo’s Conservation team, gaining real world application of science, research, and conservation skills. In July 2021, the Zoo released its first Conservation Strategic Plan (CSP), which guides its conservation efforts and expands its positive impact over the next five years. Key to this CSP is an increasing focus on local conservation projects that engage our community members, improve native biodiversity, and help meet the goals of local stakeholders in Los Angeles. This internship will provide the opportunity to:
● Gain career experience in zoo and conservation fields
● Develop technical skills to conduct background research, data collection, and analysis through project-based learning.
● Interns will choose a scientific study related to the native wildlife nearby or on the Zoo campus with peers, enact it, and present on their findings.
● Gain understanding of conservation, the role of the LA Zoo in it, and the importance of building accessibility and intergenerational stewardship capacity.
● Additional opportunities would include conservation engagement opportunities with the Zoo’s Conservation Committee and work with communities and partners to build a networking base to introduce students to conservation related careers and opportunities.
● Travel over uneven terrain up to 4 miles per day, sometimes transporting up to 15 pounds of supplies
● Work outside and in varied weather conditions
● Position self to observe plants and wildlife, including at ground level
● Inspection of natural sites to complete habitat assessments
Nutrition Center Internship
Nutrition Center Interns will work directly with the Zoo’s Nutritionist, gaining real world application of science, research, and animal health. This internship will provide the opportunity to:
● Gain knowledge and career experience in zoo and animal health fields.
● Develop technical skills to prepare animal diets, including washing, cleaning, peeling, dicing, grinding, and measuring as required.
● Learn how to identify and collect edible plant species to distribute browse to keepers throughout the Zoo.
● Expand office and record keeping skills by completing accurate data logs and orders.
● Under the supervision of the Zoo Nutritionist and Animal Care teams, evaluate animal health through understanding of balanced diets, body conditioning, and taste preferences.
● Some tasks will require operations of machines or equipment, including grinders, food processors, computers, etc.
● Some activities will require interns to move equipment or items weighing up to 50 pounds
Learning & Engagement Internship
The Los Angeles Zoo’s Learning & Engagement (L&E) Division fosters lasting relationships between our communities, nature, and animals. L&E team members facilitate conversations about wildlife conservation, nature, and animal welfare with LA Zoo visitors and program participants. Additionally, the L&E team connects with the diverse communities across LA through outreach events and formal programs. This internship will provide the opportunity to:
● Gain knowledge and career experience in zoo and environmental education fields.
● Develop public communication skills while engaging with the public in dialogue about habitats, wildlife, conservation, and animal welfare.
● Participate in community outreach opportunities to gain experience working with diverse audiences.
● Willing to develop public communication skills
● Able to move over uneven terrain and be stationed on Zoo grounds or in our communities for extended periods of time
How to Apply
This internship program is specifically available to applicants who identify as Black, Indigenous, people of color, people with varying abilities, and/or LGBTQIA+.
Applications should include:
● A resume or list of personal or professional experiences in written format.
● A brief letter, voice memo, or video explaining which internship(s) you would like to be considered for, and what excites you about the position(s) or working at the L.A. Zoo.
To apply, submit application materials to the Curator of Equity Initiatives, Rachel Helfing (she/her), by email: [email protected].
The deadline for applications is Friday, March 18th by 5:00 pm PST.
For more information, see https://www.lazoo.org/join-our-community/
Finally, please note that, in accordance with Los Angeles City Ordinance 187134, information regarding COVID-19 vaccination requirements as conditions of employment may be found at: https://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2021/21-0921_ord_187134_8-24-21.pdf
About Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.
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