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.

Internship Guide


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.

Profile image of llama Alexa

Llama

Llamas, like Alexa, are intelligent, inquisitive, and can learn simple tasks after just a few repetitions. The wool produced by a llama is very soft, versatile, and lanolin-free and, each Spring, Green Chimneys students help sheer our sheep and llamas and the wool is made into yarn which is for sale at our country store! Llamas eat grass, hay, corn silage, alfalfa, and grass roots, and adults can drink 3 gallons of water a day. Your Sponsor-an-Animal gift will help keep Alexa and all the Green Chimneys Farm & Wildlife Center animals happy & healthy.