A Wild Internship at the Zoo

September 29 2017
Category: Academics

This week’s #SoaringToSuccess feature story heads to the zoo with Nathan Edwards ’18. As a biology major with a passion for wildlife, Nathan experienced a variety of animals in action during his internship at the Utica Zoo.

Let’s learn more from Nathan…

Nathan Edwards  Nathan Edwards

This summer I interned at the Utica Zoo as a zookeeper. The Utica Zoo is the local zoo near my home and is on its way to AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accreditation, hopefully later this year. 

As a Zookeeper intern, I was placed in the Children’s Zoo working with our farm animals and other awesome animals such as the California Sea Lions, Bennett’s Wallaby, emus and alpacas. My main responsibilities as an intern at the Utica Zoo were cleaning up after the animals, feeding them and making sure they were being enriched daily. Having to clean up after them turned out to be a lot dirtier than I had first anticipated. By the end of the day I would have stains all over my shirt and pants and have hay all in my hair and hidden in my boots. Every once and awhile I had the opportunity to work with other animals. My favorite to work with were the lions, red pandas and spider monkeys (because they would give you hugs with their tails).

Before interning at the Utica Zoo, I had some idea that I wanted to work with zoo animals, but after completing the internship I know 100% that I belong in the zoo! Gaining close to 400 hours of experience really helped me finalize my career path because I never once had second thoughts of why I was there. I loved my experience and recommend it to anyone and everyone who wants to work with animals.

My summer at the Utica Zoo was an amazing one that I would not trade for anything. I hope to spend my winter break doing more intern work for the zoo because I am already itching to get back into the field. I am so excited for what my future with animals entails!