Serval using a fishing stumpArt & Enrichment Workshop

This dynamic and exciting program offers interns an opportunity to work in a department that is truly unique to Brookfield Zoo. Interns will receive hands-on experience creating naturalistic enrichment devices for a wide variety of animals throughout the zoo. Enrichment devices include puzzles feeders with food rewards or other features that encourage play, molds of natural looking rocks and logs, timed feeders that encourage foraging and exercise, and more. 

Interns in the Enrichment Workshop will experience our enrichment process starting with goal setting and brainstorming to production and reevaluating designs. Candidates will work alongside mentors to fabricate enrichment items and will gain experience working with various materials including PVC and HDPE plastics, wood, metal, urethanes, silicones, epoxies, acrylic and spray paints.  Mentors will teach and demonstrate a variety of construction and art techniques including carving, sculpting, and painting to create enrichment that balance safety, function, and design. 

In addition to this hands on experience, interns will have the opportunity to learn about the many aspects of captive animal management and health care, including training techniques, behavioral enrichment, exhibit design, animal behavior, and more.

Each intern will be required to complete an independent study project incorporating what they have learned about animal enrichment. During this project, interns may have the opportunity to collaborate with other departments in the zoo such as the nutrition department, animal behavior research team, or animal care specialists. Should they desire, interns may also complete additional projects as approved or assigned by their mentor.

Essential Tasks

Tiger plays with a naturalistic "rock"Interns will work in a fast paced, team setting learning the daily ins and outs of being an artist. Each day offers a wide variety of learning experiences. Working side by side with their mentors, interns will:

✔ Learn to carve and shape PVC plastics to create puzzle feeders and other enrichment devices that draw out species specific natural behaviors
✔ Assist in the creation silicone molds and urethane production casts of natural looking logs and rocks. These devices will be used as puzzle feeders with food rewards or to encourage play.
✔ Assist in the creation of custom made timed feeders. These feeders when used together will encourage animals to forage food from their habitats in a more natural way and the unpredictable nature of the feeders will encourage activity and exercise throughout the day.
✔ Experience working with a variety of construction materials and fasteners including industrial fabrics to create floating kelp, soft resting places, vines, and other items.
✔ Learn a variety of art techniques including scenic mural painting and camouflaging faux finishes that help enrichment items blend into the animal habitats.
✔ Work alongside mentor to complete an individual project.

Position Requirements and Specifications

Internship Requirements:

Polar bear examines naturalistic "log"✔ Comfort with basic hand tools and weights and measures.
✔ Ability to problem solve and provide alternate perspective.
✔ Comfortable in art/studio environment.
✔ Excellent interpersonal communication skills and ability to follow direction.
✔ Must enjoy wildlife and want to contribute to the care and welfare of animals in our care.
✔ Experience and/or ability to work and interact effectively with a diverse, multicultural audience.
✔ Valid driver’s license required. Valid out-of-state license required for out-of-state residents.

Physical Requirements:

Interns will be working in a shop environment, which can be physically demanding. To give applicants a clear idea of the physical nature of the position, we have listed the following physical requirements:

✔ Must possess the ability to stand, kneel, or squat for long periods. A majority of the day will be spent standing on a concrete floor.
✔ Applicants must be comfortable working in a loud, dusty, dirty environment.
✔ Applicants must be comfortable using loud, vibrating grinding tools for long periods of time.
✔ Applicants should be able to work in varying weather conditions, including working outside in inclement weather and working in very warm and cold temperatures.
✔ Applicants must be willing to wear the personal protection equipment provided including safety glasses, work gloves, and hearing protection.

Scheduling Requirements:

The unique nature of the work in the Enrichment Workshop combined with the fast pace working environment has created a considerable learning curve for new interns. We try to balance teaching and providing a valuable learning experience with our demanding production pace. In order for interns to get the most out of their experience, and for the Enrichment Workshop to continue to provide quality service for the animals and their caretakers, we ask that applicants meet the following scheduling requirements:

✔ Applicants should be able to work a minimum of two days a week, Monday through Friday, 7:15 a.m. - 3 p.m., and preferably two consecutive days.
✔ Applicants should be available to work the entire term of the internship, a minimum of 12 weeks, although longer is possible and most beneficial.
✔ Applicants should be prepared at the time of the interview to communicate any anticipated scheduling needs including school and job schedules.

Desirable/Preferred Qualifications

Giraffes find a snack in a puzzle feeder "log"Experience or interest in one or more of the following areas:

✔ Art production background: set construction, prop fabrication.
✔ Engineering or technical capabilities: mechanical design skills, material science.
✔ Industrial production: mold making and casting, knowledge of materials.
✔ Animal behavior science: animal welfare and enrichment.
✔ Multilingual ability, Spanish fluency a plus.
✔ Construction Fabrication: carpentry, metal working, industrial painting and coatings.

Application Submissions

Completed application packets must arrive no later than the final deadline. Applications that are incomplete or arrive after the final deadline will not be considered.

✔ Current Resume
✔ Professional Cover Letter
✔ College transcript(s) - Official or unofficial copies are accepted.
✔ Two professional letters of recommendation