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 Institute Internship Program is established in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir.

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.

Gracie & Reba

Donkeys Gracie and Reba have been residents of the farm since 1996 and are particularly valuable partners for the children because they offer immediate feedback on behavior. They are patient, shy and headstrong but because donkeys only acknowledge humans who appear calm, this pair helps children learn the skills necessary to approach them gently and quietly. Gracie and Reba also have an extraordinary bond and have difficulty being apart so students must keep this in mind, even for basic tasks such as walking them. If the donkeys lose sight of each other they will start calling to one another so students work together to make sure the pair can see each other for their entire journey outside.