New Batch of Keepers

Welcoming TCWR’s Newest Interns

August 27, 2020

Turpentine Creek has a world-renowned internship program. Every six months, we offer individuals with at least a Bachelor’s degree in an animal-related field to come get hands-on experience helping care for and rescue big cats and other animals in need. These individuals dedicate at least six months of their lives to helping Turpentine Creek care for survivors of the Big Cat Trade, in addition to bears and other exotics in need.

On August 15, our newest batch of interns began their six-month adventure. Some of these interns have already been with us for a previous internship(s). Others are new arrivals, but no matter what, they are in for a lot of hard work. 

We want to welcome our new interns: Brooke Barnett, Delaney Dicus, Arpan Paul, Katline Ronsse, Molly Seeburger and Lauren Teeling.

We would also like to welcome back our second round intern:  Shelby Boyle, Nathan Sanchez and Jadranka Wevgoldt, who despite the crazy COVID adjustments, are sticking it out for another round!

We also appreciate our third round interns, Yarelis Nazario Santana and Jade Schleicher.

And, we want to say a special “thank-you” to Jason LaVarnway, who is staying for his fifth internship with us! (that is over 2 ½ years!)

This internship looks different from previous years. Due to COVID-19, we had three interns back out shortly before the internship began, so we had to adapt and adjust having only 12 animal care interns this round instead of the typical 15-16. Luckily, we have a great team that is quick to adapt to any challenge.

We are very fortunate to have these 12 interns on our team and take on quite a bit more each day.  Nevertheless, we were able to make sure that this didn’t affect the daily lives of the animals.  They are getting everything they are used to with diets, enrichment, training, medications, maintaining their exhibits, and the list goes on and on!  Welcome to the team and we thank you so much for your dedication!  Regardless of a pandemic, the animals in captivity must be given the absolute best care,” stated Emily McCormack, Animal Curator. 

In addition to our animal care internship, our education internship began on August 15th as well. A past animal care intern, Jessica Vineyard, applied and was accepted to our education internship program. She will spend the next six months helping us educate kids and adults alike about big cats. We are focusing heavily on utilizing virtual platforms such as  Zoom, Skype In The Classroom, and our new education website to adapt to the challenges COVID has presented.

We are excited to have our new education intern Jessica join our department, she has hit the ground running. TCWR is dedicated to educating visitors from around the world both at the refuge and globally through our virtual lessons on the abuse that exotic animals face day to day and how they can make a change,” said Beckie Moore, Education Coordinator.

We are looking forward to seeing just what amazing things this group of interns accomplishes over their six months with us. Your support makes it possible for us to not only care for the animals that call our Refuge home but also to educate the next generation of animal care professionals. Please donate today to help us, help them.