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.

Institute Internships Explore the Human-Animal Bond and Nature-Based Programs

The Sam and Myra Ross Institute Internship 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 200 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

For decades, The Leir Foundation has supported Green Chimneys. 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 our 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 Institute 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.

Dixie the Pony

Dixie is only 40 inches tall but she has a big heart! This 21-year-old Shetland pony is very popular with Green Chimneys students and staff. Her sweet and affectionate disposition is easy to see – she’ll come over to the fence just to say hello and get rubbed. Dixie loves playing with our miniature horses Ari and Dinky and enjoys doing pony rides for our smaller riders, especially the Nature’s Nursery preschoolers.