Naturalist – Internship

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center Published: December 8, 2021
Second Location
PORTAGE, AK 99587, United States of America
Skill Level
Internship / Volunteer
Job Type
Full-time Internship

When you apply for this position, please say you saw this job on Green Dream Jobs!!


~ The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) is a sanctuary dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, research, education and quality animal care. ~

AWCC takes in injured and orphaned animals year-round and provides them with spacious enclosures and quality animal care. Most of the animals that arrive at the AWCC become permanent residents and will always have a home here.

The Center maintains over 200 acres of spacious habitats for animals to feel at home and display their natural “wild” behavior. Visitors may see brown bears cooling off in the water, a bull moose strutting, wood bison roaming on pastures and more.

Position Overview

A Naturalist Intern’s primary responsibility is assisting and supporting the year-round education team in all interpretation, educational programming, and tours both on and off site.  This position is designed for the college student or recent graduate interested in working in this field whether or not their current degree path is directly related.  In this position interns will have the opportunity to learn and gain skills relative to position duties.  This position will also be trained on animal care duties and procedures. This position is eligible as a credit earning opportunity in the UA system along with several other universities. If you are interested in earning credit for this opportunity, please inquire in your application packet.

  • Title:                                   Naturalist Intern
  • FLSA Status:                     Non-Exempt
  • Minimum Length:             16 Weeks
  • Reports to:                        Lily Grbavach, Director of Education
  • Category:                          Full time, Seasonal, Paid
  • Start Date:                        March - May 2022
  • End Date:                         September – November 2022

Position Duties

  • Interpretation and Education
    • Perform daily talks about AWCC and Alaska wildlife to a
      diverse audience of guests
    • Conduct daily walking tours
    • Be a step on guide for coaches driving through AWCC
    • Provide opportunistic informal interpretation to guests
    • Give animal presentations to school groups and private groups
    • Provide interpretation and facilitate positive guest experience at information stations
    • Write interpretive program outlines to be presented to the public and AWCC staff
    • Facilitate animal interactions with porcupine, Sitka black-tailed deer, reindeer, moose, and other animals
    • Facilitate positive guest experience by maintaining a positive attitude, smiling, and enforcing guest viewing and animal safety expectations
  • Sanctuary Presentability and Safety
    • Planting, weeding and harvesting in garden beds
    • Ensure trash does not find its way into animal habitats
    • Pull invasive plant species & alders
    • Facilitate service-learning groups
    • Clean interpretive signs and buildings
  • Assist Animal Care
    • Cleaning enclosures
    • Collect browse, prepare diets, and wash dishes
    • Husbandry and feeding duties as assigned
  • Research: Opportunities for early arrival in March or extension into November to participate in Alaska Beluga Monitoring Partnership as an observer.
  • Workdays and hours assigned by Director of Education will vary by week; full 40 hours and 5 days per week, maximum 8 hours per day
  • Other duties as assigned


Required Skills and Abilities:

  • Public speaking to large and small audiences while professionally representing AWCC
  • Work in a team environment to help achieve AWCC’s goals and objectives
  • Exemplify a positive and respectful attitude and strong work ethic
  • Open to participating in fun sometimes silly group and team building activities
  • Ability to walk for long hours over uneven terrain providing interpretive talks and information
  • Ability to work outside in drastically changing weather environments; it will snow, pour rain, and be hot
  • Ability to work front line directly with the public providing information and assistance as needed
  • Willingness to learn areas of interest to visitors including local history, geography, geology, and more
  • Must be able to work a flexible schedule as needed, including all weekends, early mornings and nights
  • Strong time and task management skills
  • Current driver’s license
  • Must have received or be willing to receive tetanus and covid-19 vaccinations by date of hire to be considered. Proof of both vaccinations required.

These additional qualifications will be considered but are not required for this position:

  • Some college or graduate coursework in a related field. Some examples may include: Education, Interpretation, Wildlife Biology, Environmental studies, Natural Resources, Zoological Sciences, Ecology, Animal Science, or other related topics of interest
  • Rabies vaccine: depending on the animals in our care at the time of the internship having this vaccination may lead to more animal care opportunities

Area Specifics and Housing

  • Housing is available.
  • Onsite staff have access to AWCC vehicle for grocery trips to staff with valid driver’s license and good driving record. Food is not provided throughout the summer
  • Portage, Alaska is located 45 miles southeast of Anchorage, and 10 miles past Girdwood, a small ski-town. There is one small grocery store in Girdwood, Anchorage has typical city amenities.
  • This position does have uniform requirements, and there is specific clothing/gear you will need to have to be comfortable working outside in highly variable weather, such as rain gear.
  • AWCC is surrounded by beautiful scenic mountains, as well as the ocean, rivers, and glaciers

To Apply

Please click "Apply" below to email a resume, cover letter, and phone and email contact information to Lily Grbavach, Director of Education. 

When you apply for this position, please say you saw this job on Green Dream Jobs!!

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