(application closed for 2021)

The Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary internship program is an eight-week, paid position. These internships provide an incredible introduction to animal care and nonprofit work: our interns are key members of our summer team, participating in critical elements of the Sanctuary’s mission. We seek dedicated individuals who are passionate about wildlife, comfortable with animals, and ready to work hard for a good cause.
There are three internships available for summer 2021. Internships are 8 hours per day, 5 days per week for 8 weeks. Compensation is $10/hour, with maximum pay of $3,200 for the 8 week time period. Our internship dates for summer 2021 will be May 17th to July 12th, June 7th to August 2nd, and June 21st to August 16th. Please let us know in your application if any of these internship periods would not work for you. There is a chance we would add a fourth internship this summer with dates starting late April/early May or dates starting early July through the end of August.
Applicant Requirements: 
Applicants must be 18 years or older.
Applicants must be up-to-date on the tetanus vaccination.
Applicants must complete the rabies vaccination sequence prior to the start of the internship. Scholarships are available to cover the cost of this critical vaccination.
Must have access to a car for transporting animals (and yourself) to the sanctuary.
If you're interested in joining the RWS team this summer, please send your resume and a cover letter (focusing your experience and/or passion for wildlife or nature) to by February 19th, 2021. We can't wait to hear from you! 

What does an internship at a wildlife rehabilitation facility entail?
Animal Care
Provide excellent rehabilitative care to all animals at the facility
Daily cleaning and feeding of all animals housed at the facility, including our rehabilitation patients and our education ambassador animals
Monitor animal’s health, attitude, weight, appetite, etc., and maintain written records of each animal’s progress
Assist with restraint, examination, diagnostic procedures and treatment of animals, as needed
Admit patients and complete associated records. Examine and initiate first aid to patients or new arrivals
Arrange transport of incoming animals to the Sanctuary, and transport of severely injured animals to The Wildlife Center of Virginia
Maintain high standards of cleanliness in nurseries, kitchen, laundry room, and animal housing areas
Prepare specialized meals for a variety of species, including making “bird batter” for feeding baby birds

Other Duties
Answer the phone and respond to rehabilitation related questions from the public when needed
Assist in collecting photographs of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds for our website, social media accounts, newsletter, and presentations
Help with fundraising and/or outreach events, when possible, such as Wild About Art
Other duties, responsibilities, and special projects, as requested

What should I expect from my internship at RWS?
Hands-on learning and experience with wildlife, with species ranging from field mice to foxes and songbirds to large raptors (and don’t forget reptiles!)
A greater appreciation for the natural history of Virginian wildlife and their role in the environment
Time management and multi-tasking skills. You will learn how to efficiently approach a large workload that is time-sensitive in a fun and interesting environment.
Experience with humans! You will be working with a small team of rehabilitators as well as working frequently with the public by intaking animals and answering phone calls throughout your internship
How to handle hard situations, like death of animals or difficult public relations.
You’ll appreciate the value of team work and the importance of curiosity.
You will learn whether or not you want to pursue wildlife rehabilitation or any other animal care/conservation field.

What shouldn't I expect from my internship at RWS? 
Making copies, filing paperwork, or other administrative tasks.
A sedentary job. Our rehabbers, volunteers, and interns average 25K steps daily!
Staying clean. We work largely outdoors in hot, humid conditions, and a lot of the most important tasks (like cleaning outdoor enclosures) can get pretty messy. We leave work every day pretty seriously ready for a shower!

Compensation: In an attempt to broaden the scope of individuals who may participate in our internships, we are happy to offer a paid internship program thanks to grant funding. Compensation is $10/hour with no overtime available, although interns do need to work some overtime occasionally.
Housing: We provide housing, but the housing is not on the property of the sanctuary. Thus, it will be necessary for you to have access to a car for the duration of your internship.
Please let us know in your application if you have an up-to-date rabies vaccination. If not, we pay for our summer interns to receive rabies vaccinations prior to their internship. We also expect all summer interns to get Covid-19 vaccinated (if possible) before their start date.

A PhD Candidate in literature. A photographer. A landscaper. What do these diverse people have in common? All of them volunteer their time and expertise for Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary. Without their incredible generosity–and that of dozens of others–Rockfish would be unable to function.

Here are some of the things that volunteers do at the Sanctuary:

• Build enclosures
• Feed baby animals
• Transport animals to and from the Sanctuary
• Go shopping for the Sanctuary’s food needs
• Fund raise
• Design educational presentations
• Provide marketing expertise
• And so much more!

Our volunteers are the reason we can offer quality educational programming and animal care in our area. If you choose to join us, we can promise a deeply rewarding experience. We’d love to find out how we can make the most of your skills and contributions, and how you would best fit with Rockfish’s needs. Please call (434-263-4954) or e-mail ( to find out how you can help!
Note: animal care volunteers are required to obtain a state permit to rehabilitate wildlife. Our rehabbers will be happy to guide you through this process, but no non-permitted person will be able to handle wildlife.

There are lots of ways that you can help the Sanctuary’s work, even if you don’t have the money to donate today, or the time to be a volunteer or an intern. Here are a few things that keep us going!

Serve as a Board Member
Interested in guiding RWS further by being on our board?
Email your resume to

Donate Supplies
Our animals always need supplies to keep them healthy, fed, and warm. We need:
• LOTS of paper towels & plain Kleenex
• Animal transporters
• Bales of hay
• Blue pads (aka, “pee pee” pads, available at pet stores and other retailers)
• Dawn Dish Soap
• Gas cards for transporters
• Handwarmers to provide warmth to animals in transport
• Gift cards to grocery stores for fresh veggies and fruits for RWS patients
• Gift cards to area pet stores and wild bird seed suppliers
• Gift cards to Southern States

Shop or Donate an Item at the Greene House Antique Shops
The Sanctuary’s super volunteer, Candace Goodyear, has created a special space at the Greene House Antique Shops in Ruckersville to help support the sanctuary. You can help the Sanctuary by buying an item or donating one to the Rockfish shop. All proceeds benefit the Sanctuary!
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