Job Type: Paid Internship
Salary Details: $1,500 per month, plus housing

The International Crane Foundation (ICF) is seeking to fill three Aviculture Apprenticeship positions for Winter 2023.

Background: Since our inception in 1973, The International Crane Foundation’s (ICF) Conservation Leadership program has focused on developing future leaders in their field.  At ICF, apprentices learn through hands on experience mentored by seasoned professionals.  Many of our staff started their careers in our Conservation leadership program and most current apprentices accept full-time positions at other zoos, conservation organizations, and graduate programs at the completion of their apprenticeship with us.  

ICF is a leader in the conservation of the world’s 15 crane species and is dedicated to providing experience, knowledge, and inspiration to involve people in resolving threats to cranes and the ecosystems vital to their long-term survival. ICF’s global headquarters is located just outside Baraboo, WI (one hour north of Madison, WI). ICF exhibits the only collection in the world of all 15 species of crane.  ICF is open to the public every day from May 1st to October 31st each year. The Crane Conservation Department (CCD) is responsible for the care and management of approximately 120 birds year-round.  For more information, please visit our website at

Duration and Salary: 6-months starting in September and October 2023; $1500/month plus communal housing at our International Guest House.

Learning Goals: Aviculture Apprentices will receive training and assist in the care, management, and breeding of the captive flock through hands-on experience working with the ICF Crane Conservation Department and will:

  • Learn husbandry skills related to the health, daily feeding and cleaning of the flock
  • Learn by participating in the management of birds in captivity specifically for zoological institutions or reintroduction programs
  • Acquire an understanding of captive propagation including participation in artificial insemination, egg incubation, and chick rearing
  • Assist with routine crane facility maintenance activities and plant invasive species management
  • Learn and practice safe crane defense, handling and restraint techniques
  • Learn how to conduct behavioral observations associated with new pair socializations or animal welfare assessments
  • Learn by participating in planning, designing, implementing, and evaluating a behavioral modification program (enrichment or training based)
  • Learn about ICF project initiatives related to crane ecology, behavior and husbandry, field conservation and ecology; and ecosystem restoration techniques and processes
  • One of our goals is for interns to participate in project(s) related to the goals, work plan, and objectives of the ICF Crane Conservation Department. These projects are shared through a formal presentation and paper.   

Additional opportunities may include:

  • Have the opportunity to meet and work with a variety of professional staff at ICF.
  • Participate in conservation field-related experiences such as prescribed burns, Sandhill roost count and visiting other zoological institutions.
  • Assist the Conservation Education Department with on-site visitor outreach through scheduled keeper chats or special events.
  • Learn veterinary medicine for crane species by observing medical procedures and treatments.

A taxable $1500/month stipend including on-site housing is provided. A typical work week is 5 days (40-50 hours) with two consecutive days off. Apprentices are required to work weekends and holidays.  Some responsibilities require non-traditional work hours which may include early mornings, evenings, or night checks. 


  • Ability to work both independently and in a team environment with minimal supervision.
  • Well-developed communication skills including speaking to large visitor groups.
  • Reliability, sound judgement, and ability to master tasks and comprehend concepts quickly and correctly.
  • This position is physically demanding. Applicants must be able to carry 50 pounds and be able to lift, bend, or stoop for extended lengths of time. 
  • Ability to work outdoors every day in all weather conditions found in Wisconsin, but also indoors in an office environment.
  • Ability to work a varied schedule; 40-50 hours per week.
  • Two years of college or equivalent practical experience required.
  • Demonstrated animal care experience with a focus in avian biology or zoo-keeping preferred.
  • Must be able to commit to the 6-month duration.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license.
  • All applicants must be eligible to work in the United States at the time they apply.

Application Procedure:  Application materials should include the following: 

  • a one-page personal statement that addresses why you are interested in being a part of the ICF flock, what you hope to gain from our aviculture internship, and what contribution you hope to make in this position
  • a resume (no longer than 2 pages); include start date availability
  • contact information for three references

Send application materials to  Please use the subject line “CCD Aviculture Apprenticeship.”  Applications will be reviewed as they are received.