Summer Internships

If you are interested in bears, conservation education, educating others, putting in long hours of hard work in all weather conditions and living in the woods with wildlife, this internship is for you!   At the end of the day, you will be dirty, you will be tired, and you will smile knowing that you have made a difference in the lives of bears and have seen things most wildlife enthusiasts only dream about.

We are looking for qualified, passionate interns for the upcoming 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.We are the only open classroom in the world that has wild american black bears visiting, exhibiting wild bear behaviors.


Intern Duties:

Morning/afternoon jobs

  • Picking up and/or unloading supplies, including 50-pound bags of seed and 35-pound bags of fruit and nuts. Heavy lifting is often a part of the job and is therefore required.
  • Daily cleanup of feeding areas and scat removal
  • Planting, mulching, weed-eating and other landscape improvement projects
  • Preparing and distributing bear food mixtures
  • Maintain records on bear activity and behavior
  • Photograph individual bears for records
  • Bird count survey via
  •  MN annual berry study via MN Department of Natural Resources
  • Research projects with a presentation are required. You will work in small groups and will choose from a pre-approved list of potential behavior studies
  • Write articles for our newsletter, Bear in Mind
  • Prepare educational material for our followers on Facebook and Instagram and our email subscribers
  • Weekly in the field programs & field trips will be taken May-July

Jobs during evening/visitors’ hours include:

  • Educating the public about black bears, ecology, behavior, practical environmental conservation and land stewardship
  • Preparing formal 3-8 minute deck talks that interpret bear behavior and debunk any myths and misconceptions our visitors may have regarding bears
  • Execute a prepared 5 minute introductory bus talk on the history of the bears and Vince Shute
  • Sale of souvenirs and educational materials in the gift shop and at our visitor center
  • Promoting membership to the American Bear Association
  • Assisting with admission and parking cars

Living Conditions and Amenities

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 for you. Accommodations are rustic dormitory living with no water in the cabins and limited electricity. We do have running water for hand washing and all drinking water is brought in. There is a laundromat in town, which is about a 20 minute drive. We do have showers available one mile from all cabins. Unfortunately, daily showers are not always possible — so please be prepared. You will be expected to be clean and neat when it is time to meet the public. Your work day will typically average 7-9 hours, although it may be shorter or longer depending on the time of year. Days off (usually 1-2 per week May-July) will be arranged, depending on availability, staffing and bear behavior. Please remember that we are located in a remote area with limited transportation available. Bike riding on the sanctuary is prohibited due to heavy bear activity. A stipend of $50-75/week will be given to interns committing to 10 weeks or more. You must complete the internship to receive the full stipend.

Area Description – Orr Minnesota

We are located in the beautiful North Woods of Minnesota in a resort town that surrounds the beautiful Pelican Lake. The nearest town (13 miles) is Orr, population 211. Two restaurants, a small grocery store, gas station, post office, churches, motels, and other services are available. A small hospital is within a 30-minute drive. Major medical services are offered in Virginia, 1 hour 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, North American Bear Center, Sax Zim Bog and Hawkridge Bird Observatory (both birding meccas), Superior National Forest, and Voyageurs National Park are popular nearby destinations.

 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 Handbook 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 working with the public. We are looking for individuals that can stay for at LEAST one month between May 1st and October 15th. Since space is limited, those able to stay longer will be given preference. The start date for the internship is ideally between May 10th-24th. We can sometimes be flexible with dates. We are ALWAYS looking for people to stay August-October 1st as we become short staffed as interns go back to school. 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 sanctuary. As a supplemental feeding site, with a 50-year history of feeding wild black bears, we often are controversial

How do I apply?

Fill in an Internship Application and email it to us. Applicants must also send; a resume, a letter of recommendation and one reference. We have begun accepting applications for the 2024 season. The application deadline for interns seeking to intern for May-July is April 15th, 2024. For those seeking to intern in August-October, the deadline is July 1st, 2024. Space is limited so APPLY EARLY!