North American Bear Center Internship Program

Our internship programs are like no other!

We offer two unique experiences: Bear Intern and Ecology Intern.

Our internship program is ideal for undergraduate students exploring careers in wildlife biology, zoology, environmental sciences, ecology, wildlife management, animal behavior, or related fields. We are happy to work with a college advisor so interns can receive credit for this program.

Bear Internship

Bear internships are available in both summer and fall. Bear interns will educate our guests about bears by leading programs and answering questions. They are also responsible for all aspects of bear care and enclosure maintenance.

Bear Intern Position Description

Ecology Internship

Ecology internships are only available in the summer. Ecology interns will educate our guests about native small animals and northwoods ecology by leading programs and answering questions. They are also responsible for all aspects of small animal care and terrarium/aquarium maintenance.

Ecology Intern Position Description

Goal of the Internship Program: The goal of the North American Bear Center’s internship program is to give pre-professionals a strong background in black bear biology, ecology, behavior, and animal husbandry. We also strive to help you gain confidence in public speaking and communication.

Who can apply: This internship is ideal for undergraduate and recent graduate students exploring careers in wildlife biology, zoology, environmental sciences, ecology, wildlife management, natural resources, animal behavior, or related fields. These fields of study will be given preference in the selection process. NOTE: Unfortunately at this time, positions are available to U.S. citizens only.

Benefits: Summer and Fall internships include free housing and a stipend!

Not only will you learn about our center and work with some amazing animals, but you will also build new friendships, meet people from around the country, and work in a fun environment.

The center is located in Ely, Minnesota right on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and Superior National Forest. The BWCAW encompasses over one million acres of pristine wilderness and is one of the most visited wilderness areas in the entire nation. This area is not only rich in flora and fauna, but also supports endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. There is no shortage of hiking, camping, biking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, climbing, boating, fishing, and much more.

Application Deadlines

Position Dates Application Deadline
Bear Intern- Summer
May 2024 through August 2024
January 31st, 2024 or until filled
Ecology Intern
May 2024 through August 2024
January 31st, 2024 or until filled
Bear Intern- Fall
August 2024 through October 2023
February 29th, 2024 or until filled

Application Requirements

If you would like to apply to our internship program, please submit the following:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • 3 professional references
  • Copy of your school transcript
  • Application form- signed
  • Position agreement form- signed

Your application is not complete until all items are received. Please click the button below if you would like to apply:

Apply Now

Send all required materials via email to:

Natasha Nemmers
Biologist and Internship Coordinator
[email protected]

Please make sure all application materials are up to date before submitting. Updated information is usually posted in November for the following season.

Here is what some of our interns had to say about their experiences at the North American Bear Center:

“The NABC is such a great facility and getting the opportunity to work so closely with the bears and staff was something unforgettable. I gained tons of knowledge and skills, when it came to caring for the bears but also educating the public. The facility is amazing but the staff is even better. They were willing to help me with anything, and enjoyed sharing their knowledge with all of the interns. Places like this are hard to find, especially when it comes to working in biological fields. I got to meet people from around the country, and we all were able to connect over our love for animals. So in the end, I walked away with more than just animal care experience, I walked away with friends and endless amounts of good stories and skills.”

-Tiffany from Minnesota, 2023 Intern.

“My time as an Ecology Educator at the North American Bear Center was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Working one-on-one with the public and being able to teach people of all ages something new about black bears and all of the critters as well as their home in the Minnesota Northwoods was a very rewarding experience and I’m very grateful to have been able to do so. I learned so much about a place I had never been before while surrounded by such kind and supportive staff and interns who were able to make my internship an invaluable tool for my future career in ecology by allowing me to ask questions and get as much out of the experience as possible.”

– Jennifer from New Mexico, 2023 Intern

“Getting the chance to intern at the North American Bear Center for the summer was an experience that I will never forget. Anyone in the animal/wildlife field will benefit from what you learn during your time working. It is unforgettable and a wonderful experience to gain hands-on learning and to observe the bears behavior. What you gain from this internship cannot truly be captured in the classroom and will prepare you for any future position in the animal science field. Outside of working with the bears hands on, you will learn so much about the species as a whole and provide education to the public. The message of the NABC is truly valued with the work they provide, and everyone you will meet is passionate about what they do. The NABC team will provide you with the guidance and care you need to flourish. Overall, the experience you have at the Bear Center is truly irreplaceable.”

– Emma from New Jersey, 2023 Intern

“Going to work as an intern at the North American Bear Center was an absolute pleasure. Learning about bears and ecology first hand was an invaluable experience that I certainly will never forget. I learned so much about animal behavior, ecology, animal care, public speaking, and education from some incredible staff, and of course from the bears themselves. Everyday was a new opportunity not only to learn, but to allow visitors to learn and spread the mission of the bear center. Beyond this, I made some incredible friends and memories, and I will always look back on this valuable experience with so much appreciation.”

– Carly from Minnesota, 2022 Intern

“Working at the North American Bear Center was the first step I took towards accomplishing my academic and career goals, and it exceeded every one of my expectations. My responsibilities as a Bear Educator Intern were more comprehensive than I anticipated. Not only did I gain hundreds of hours of hands-on experience with animal care and maintenance, but I also greatly improved my skills in public-speaking, teamwork, and adaptability, which are transferable to any career choice. Furthermore, the staff at the NABC had a huge impact on me and my overall experience working there. The staff members at the NABC were always supportive, patient, and willing to answer my endless questions. Interning at the NABC was challenging in the best kind of way, and I feel as though it has prepared me for a career in my field, or even other internships, in a way that former schooling could not.”

 – Lydia from Rhode Island, 2020 Intern

Help support the North American Bear Center

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit that relies entirely on the support of visitors, merchandise sales and people like you. We do not receive any state or federal funding.

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