Summer Internships at the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary

If you are interested in conservation education, working closely with people, putting in long hours of hard work in all weather conditions, and living in rustic accommodations with no electricity, running water, or telephone, then this internship is definitely for you. At the end of the day, you will be dirty, you will be exhausted, and you will smile knowing that you have seen things most wildlife enthusiasts only dream about.

Environmental Interns at The American Bear Association

The American Bear Association is looking for qualified, energetic interns for the Summer 2014 season at the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary in the North Woods of Minnesota. The Sanctuary offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the public to view and learn about wild black bears.

Eco-Volunteer Application

Intern Duties at the Bear Sanctuary

Interns will help to educate the public during open hours, 5.00pm to dusk every day except Monday. This includes, but is not limited to, greeting visitors, pointing out and explaining bear activity, giving interpretive talks on bear ecology and behavior, and answering visitors' questions about bears. Other tasks during the day will include preparing bear food mixes, helping to put out food, assisting with general cleanup chores, including scooping of bear scat, participating in habitat improvement projects, and maintaining records on bear activity. Heavy lifting will be required: truckloads of supplies such as 50 pound bags of seed, and boxes of fruit and nuts weighing 30-35 pounds are delivered regularly. The intern's day will average 9-10 hours, comprised of a day shift of 4-5 hours and the evening visitors' time, which is 5 hours. In addition to the above, some interns will be responsible for planning and implementing specific educational programs (to be determined) during the summer. Those interns, with the guidance of our Staff, will develop programs that can be presented to small groups of visitors on a regular basis.

Benefits of Environmental Internship at the VSWS

Interning at the Sanctuary provides a great opportunity to gain valuable experience in working with wildlife, natural resources, and environmental education. You will have virtually no living expenses as your food and housing are provided by the ABA. Accommodations are rustic dormitory living with no running water, electricity, or telephone. There is a Laundromat in town and showers are available at a nearby campground. Unfortunately, daily showers are not possible -- so please be prepared. You will be able to wash up between showers, using a plastic basin and your own soap, washcloth, and towel. You will be expected to be clean and neat when it is time to meet the public. Days off (usually 1 per week) will be arranged, depending on volunteer availability to take your place. Please remember that the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary is located in a remote area with limited transportation available. Bike riding on the Sanctuary is prohibited due to heavy bear activity.

Area Description - Orr Minnesota

The Sanctuary is located in the beautiful North Woods of Minnesota. The nearest town (13 miles) is Orr, population 249. Restaurants, grocery store, gas station, churches, motels, and other services are available. A small hospital is within a 30-minute drive. Major medical services are offered in Duluth, 2 hours away. Numerous campgrounds and resorts are located on nearby Pelican Lake. Recreational opportunities include fishing and boating on area lakes and canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The International Wolf Center, Superior National Forest, and Voyageurs National Park are popular nearby destinations.

American Bear Association Intern Requirements

The primary requirement is a sincere desire to help promote the welfare of bears and other natural resources through a personal contribution of long hours and hard work. Preference will be given to candidates who are enrolled in or have recently completed post-secondary education in programs such as wildlife management, wildlife biology, environmental education, natural resources, and business administration. However, other applicants with a sincere desire to intern with us will be given serious consideration, as well. All interns must read the ABA Volunteer Manual and be willing to complete a liability waiver form. An applicant must be conscientious, have a good work ethic, and be a team player and self-starter. In addition he or she must be able to follow directions and have good social skills in dealing with the public. We are looking for applicants who are:
  • Flexible regarding changes in schedule and work tasks
  • Comfortable being in close proximity to large wild animals such as bears
  • Able to work closely and cooperatively with other interns, staff, and volunteers
  • Able to work outside in temperatures ranging from the 30s to the 90s and in all weather conditions
  • Willing to endure the many biting insects that inhabit Northern Minnesota during the summer
  • Comfortable talking with the public about the untraditional nature of the VSWS. As a supplemental feeding site, with a 50-year history of feeding wild black bears, we often are controversial
  • A research project must be completed by every intern on their free time to complete the intern requirements.

How do I apply?

Fill in an Intern application form and email it to us. Alternatively call The American Bear Association office between the hours of 8:00am and 4:00pm CST, weekdays, at 218-757-0172

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