2023 Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary Internship

Summer 2023 Internship
The Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary (RWS) internship program is an eight-week, paid position. These
internships provide an incredible introduction to animal care and nonprofit work: our interns are key
members of our summer team, participating in critical elements of the Sanctuary’s mission. We seek
dedicated individuals who are passionate about wildlife, comfortable with animals, and ready to work
hard for a good cause.
There are three internships available for Summer 2023. Internships are typically 8 hours per day, 5 days
per week (including weekends) for 8 weeks. Compensation is $10/hour, with maximum pay of $3,200 for
the 8-week time period. Housing is provided at no cost. Approximate internship dates for Summer 2023
will be May 15 – July 10, May 29 – July 24, and June 12 – August 7. Please let us know in your application if
any of these internship periods would not work for you.
Applicant Requirements:
● Applicants must be 18 years or older.
● Applicants must be up to date on their tetanus vaccination.
● Applicants must complete the rabies vaccination sequence prior to the start of the position.
Funding is available for this important vaccination if your health insurance will not cover it.
● Applicants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including a booster shot, and be willing to
wear a mask when required. We mask and wear PPE when handling all patients.
● Applicants must have access to a car for transporting animals (and yourself) to the Sanctuary.
What does an internship at a wildlife rehabilitation facility entail?
Animal Care
● Provide excellent rehabilitative care to all animals at the facility.
● Daily cleaning and feeding of all animals housed at the facility, including our rehabilitation
patients and our education ambassador animals.
● Monitor patient health, attitude, weight, appetite, etc., and maintain written records of each
animal’s progress.
● Assist with restraint, examination, diagnostic procedures and treatment of animals, as needed.
● Admit patients and complete associated records. Examine and initiate first aid to patients or new
● Arrange transport of incoming animals to the Sanctuary and transport of severely injured
animals to the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
● Clean and prep outdoor enclosures in a variety of conditions, including designing fresh
enrichment for different species in care.
● Maintain high standards of cleanliness in nurseries, kitchen, laundry room, and animal housing
● Prepare specialized meals for a variety of species.
Other Duties
● Answer the phone and respond to rehabilitation related questions from the public when needed.
● Assist in collecting photographs of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds for our website,
social media accounts, newsletter, and presentations.
● Help with fundraising and/or outreach events, when necessary.
● Other duties, responsibilities, and special projects, as requested.
What should I expect to gain from my internship at RWS?
● Hands-on learning and experience with wildlife, with species ranging from field mice to foxes
and songbirds to large raptors (and don’t forget reptiles!).
● A greater appreciation for the natural history of Virginian wildlife and their role in the
● Time management and multitasking skills. You will learn how to efficiently approach a large
workload that is time-sensitive in a fun and interesting environment.
● Experience with humans! You will be working with a small team of rehabilitators as well as
working frequently with the public by intaking animals and answering phone calls throughout
your internship.
● How to handle hard situations, like the death of a patient or difficult public relations.
● Appreciation for the value of teamwork and the importance of curiosity.
● An opportunity to learn whether or not you want to pursue wildlife rehabilitation or any other
animal care/conservation field.
What shouldn’t I expect from my internship at RWS?
● Making copies, filing paperwork, or other administrative tasks.
● A sedentary job. Our rehabbers, volunteers, and interns average 20K steps daily!
● Staying clean. We work largely outdoors in hot, humid conditions, and a lot of the most
important tasks (like cleaning outdoor enclosures) can get pretty messy. We leave work every
day pretty seriously ready for a shower!
Compensation: In an attempt to broaden the scope of individuals who may participate in our internships,
we are happy to offer a paid internship program thanks to grant funding. Compensation is $10/hour with
no overtime pay available, although interns do need to work some overtime occasionally.
Housing: We provide housing, but the housing is not on the property of the sanctuary. Thus, it will be
necessary for you to have access to a car for the duration of your internship.
Please let us know in your application if you have an up-to-date rabies vaccination. If not, we pay for our
summer interns to receive rabies vaccinations prior to their internship.
To Apply:
If you’re interested in joining the RWS team this summer, please send your resume and a cover letter
(focusing on your experience and/or passion for wildlife or nature) to [email protected]
by February 17th, 2023. We can’t wait to hear from you!
What Past RWS Interns Have to Say:
“Being an intern at RWS was exactly what I wanted for an entry into wildlife rehab. At no point did I feel
like just ‘the intern.’ This staff is amazing at making everyone feel equal and part of the team. My
experience was very hands-on, and I am forever thankful for my time spent there. “ – Kris, 2022 intern
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time working at Rockfish. It was a perfect amount of time for an internship
right out of college to figure out what I am interested in for my career. I learned so much about wildlife
rehab. I also acquired communication skills as well as lots of problem solving skills. This is a really
hands-on position, and the staff wants you to learn as much as possible during this time. They are always
willing to let you get your hands in on a project. This job is really fulfilling, and you can feel good about
the work you are doing everyday! A huge plus for me was the accepting and fun work environment
fostered by the staff there! Overall, such a great learning experience for my future career.” – Maddie,
2022 intern
“Rockfish is amazing. This organization, and the wonderful staff, have taught me so much about wildlife
care and the functions of a non-profit organization. RWS has ultimately shaped my educational and
professional life into what it is today, and for that, I am forever grateful.” – Jamie, 2018 and 2019 intern,
staff in 2021