Internship Program

Explore a world of possibilities, discover new skills, and meet new people through a truly rewarding experience at one of the most innovative facilities for the education and treatment of children with special needs.

The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Global Internship Program

Part of The Sam and Myra Ross Institute at Green Chimneys

The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Global Internship Program offers a unique immersion experience for individuals interested in exploring the human-animal bond and nature-based activities to benefit children with special needs. This hands-on internship takes place in Green Chimneys’ enriched and supportive environment.

The Brewster Campus in Brewster NY serves over 220 children in residential care or day treatment where a professional treatment team of medical staff, social workers, teachers and childcare professionals are supported by experts in animal-assisted activities, horticulture education, outdoor education and nature-based vocational life skills training. The Farm & Wildlife Center is home to over 300 farm animals, horses, and permanently injured wildlife. Institute Interns also interact with children and families through public programs and special events open to all community members.


The Leadership and Legacy of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir

The Leir Foundation has supported Green Chimneys for decades. Furthering the legacies of its founders, Henry J. and Erna D. Leir, the foundation has been and continues to be, integral in the success of Green Chimneys and this internship program. The leadership of the Leirs and the support of The Leir Foundation is reinforcing the future of human-animal interaction.

What Our Interns Say

Program Schedule

The Leir Internship is a full-time, 4- or 8-month commitment. Interns work five days a week and also participate in occasional weekend activities and events. Exact dates vary depending on the Green Chimneys calendar.

Farm Animal, Equine, Wildlife, and Dog* program tracks

Vocational Farming at Boni-Bel

  • Spring/Summer: January – August (Interview in October)
  • Fall: September – December (Interview in June)

Vocational and Garden Education programs

  • Grow season: April – November (Interview in February)

Internationals stay from January to December (Interview in May)

*The internship focused on dog interaction requires an individual who works well independently while also collaborating with staff from multiple departments. Competency in working with children and dogs is required.

Cows at Green Chimneys

Cow

Blossom is a 1-year-old Holstein cow, and she was born a freemartin. A freemartin calf is a common result of twin calves; the female twin absorbs genetic material from a male twin in utero, and after birth develops male traits and subsequently becomes sterile. Since Blossom can’t produce milk, the dairy farm where she was born asked Green Chimneys if we’d like to have her, and of course, we agreed! Blossom came to us around the same time as another calf named Alfie, and the two have grown up together while being cared for by staff and students alike.