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Learning by helping

Hands-on training through IBRRC's international internship program

Suzanne Pluskat photo

See: Intern profiles

Our involvement with international oil spill response has allowed us to venture further out into the world. In doing this we have come across countries, organizations and individuals who are eager to learn more about aquatic bird rehabilitation, but have limited resources available to them on a local level. In response to so many people wanting to learn more about what we do, we created an international internship program.

IBRRC is pleased to offer internships to individuals interested in aquatic bird rehabilitation and oil spill response. Any person can apply for an international internship with IBRRC - including people from North America.

The program's most valuable component is the hands-on training gained at our oiled bird rehabilitation centers in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. These centers are home to IBRRC's rehabilitation program for aquatic birds. Combined, the centers receive over 4,500 birds each year. Working within our rehabilitation program with experienced staff and volunteers enables interns to gain valuable skills and knowledge about aquatic birds not offered in universities.

Interns learn all aspects of rehabilitation - from initial assessment, nutrition and husbandry, basic medical treatments, bird washing, case management, and volunteer management. Aquatic birds are challenging and labor intensive to rehabilitate. Interns learn first hand the intricacies of waterproofing, housing for each species, problem solving and also learn about herd health management (caring for many birds at one time). All of these points are important aspects of oil spill response and oiled bird rehabilitation.

Interns gain valuable practical experience, while helping wildlife patients and working with staff and highly trained volunteers. Some of the skills learned include individual species identification and natural history, proper husbandry and enrichment techniques, animal handling, tube-feeding, medication administration, lab work, and various other procedures. Interns will receive daily one-on-one training, and will be asked to work on an individual or group project. The internship is intense, physically demanding, fast-paced and repetitive, giving interns the opportunity to learn about many aspects of aquatic bird rehabilitation.

Abilities and Experience Required:

• Be interested in a career in wild bird rehabilitation or closely related fields (veterinary medicine, etc.)
• Must be 18 years or older
• Have current passport and visa (if needed)
• Commit to at least 3 consecutive months of work
• Expect to work a 5-day week, usually 10-12 hours/day
• Provide resume with references and letter explaining their interest in this program and field of work
• Ability to work independently and as a team member
• Ability to perform tedious tasks for long periods of time
• Ability to do rigorous outdoor work in all types of weather
• Ability to perform physically demanding tasks, such as cleaning, lifting, climbing stairs, etc.
• Ability to work quickly and efficiently while precisely following directions and procedures
• Ability to get along with others in a group housing situation
• Be responsible for their round-trip airfare

Intern Benefits:

• Supervision by IBRRC staff
• Involvement with oil spills as they occur locally
• Attendance at IBRRC trainings as they are available
• Access to IBRRC literature and staff

Note: Please read our Disclaimer about training and interns

Questions about the internship or the application process: E-mail

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