26 March 2017

Internships Explore the Human-Animal Bond and Nature-Based Therapies

The Sam and Myra Ross Institute at Green Chimneys offers internships that explore nature-based therapies and the human-animal bond while working with children with special needs.

International applicants are welcome in the program.

The hands-on internships take place in Green Chimneys’ enriched and supportive environment on one of two campuses.

Participants commit to a four to eight month stint at the Brewster Campus in Brewster NY which serves over 200 children in residential care or day treatment, or the Clearpool Campus in Carmel, NY which has a beautiful forest setting where 32 children work with a smaller group of professionals.

A professional treatment team of medical staff, social workers, teachers and child care professionals are supported by experts in animal-assisted activities, horticulture education, outdoor education and nature based vocational life skills training.

The Institute offers a variety of program areas for interns to choose from.
  • Farm Animal Education and Interaction - Teaching Barn
  • Horticulture - Educational and Vocational Gardens
  • Equine Education and Interaction - Horse Barn
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation, Education and Interaction - Wildlife Center
  • Dog Interaction (requires direct experience with dogs and animal care with Animals for Adoption or another reputable shelter/training program, including a reference)

The internship offers an introduction to the theoretical and practical principles of Green Care, incorporating animals, plants and the natural world in the re-education, socialization and treatment of children experiencing significant social, emotional and behavioral challenges in their lives.

According to their website, interns gain:
  • An overview of the field of Animal Assisted Interventions, including Animal Assisted Activities, Education and Therapy, and Horticulture Activities, Education and Therapy, including ways to work in and apply Nature Based Programs, the Human-Animal Bond, Humane Education, and Green Care within a professional setting.
  • An understanding of how a non-profit organization operates and provides its services.
  • Knowledge of the therapeutic milieu of a working treatment center through observations, including participation in staff and team meetings.
  • Experience in managing individuals and groups of students in a special education environment including working with students with learning disabilities, Asperger’s Syndrome and emotional disturbances.
  • An ability to develop activity ideas based on student’s behavioral, emotional, physical, and educational needs through chores, animal and plant care, to enhance their learning goals.
  • Knowledge in the application of Animal Assisted Activities and/or Horticultural Activities for children who have psycho-social disabilities, as a part of a total treatment plan.
  • Gain knowledge of Nature Based Program Activities and/or Horticultural Activities.
  • Insight, through observation, into the field of social services and the pursuit of a career utilizing animal and/or horticulture-assisted activities.
  • Valuable practical skills that can be applied to other programs and environments as part of a future career plan.

Applications are accepted throughout the year, but need to be submitted three months prior to the desired session - four months for applicants outside the US.

There is no academic prerequisite but the Institute Internship can be used as a supplementary practicum when training for a career in social work, psychology, education, veterinary science, animal care and program administration.

Applicants must be at least 3 years post-high school and able to commit to the full length of the internship.

All applicants will be subject to a criminal background check, fingerprinting and a medical screening that includes a test for tuberculosis.

Green Chimneys is recognized as a worldwide leader in animal-assisted therapy and educational activities for children with special needs, learn more and apply on their website.

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