Audubon Society seeks summer camp interns

Jan. 18—The Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society is looking for summer interns.

According to a DOAS media release, internship applications are being accepted for a new 10-week program that will run from June 3 through August 9.

The DOAS Youth Outreach Environmental Education Internship Program "immerses the interns in hands-on outdoor and environmental education activities for the full ten weeks of the program," the release said. After a training program and a variety of outdoor and team building group activities, interns will "use new and existing resources to develop detailed outlines for three 4-day camp sessions" — one each for children entering grades 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6, respectively — as well as a series of family programs to conduct throughout the summer (three per week when camp sessions are not taking place).

In addition to those responsibilities, interns are expected to perform administrative tasks, including following safety procedures, camper drop-off and pick-up, daily administrative tasks, and general reporting responsibilities. The program will be overseen by DOAS directors Susan O'Handley and Chris DeCesare.

The DOAS Summer camp program was originally established by DOAS board member, the late Dr. John New, in 1972. The program, which paused operations in 2020 with the onset of COVID-19, "has faced challenges in becoming fully operational since then," the release said.

O'Handley has administered the program since 2013. "Since the program runs for only 2 to 3 weeks each summer, finding leaders can be a real challenge," she said. "It's not a typical summer job and finding the right people who have that kind of flexibility in their schedule can be difficult. We have been fortunate in the past, but felt we needed to change things up in order to give the program a real chance to continue and to grow."

DOAS Co-President Andy Mason said, "The camp program has provided an excellent hands-on outdoor experience for hundreds of children over the past three decades. It also has been a learning opportunity for camp assistants, several of whom came from the ranks of former campers. Expanding this synergy to interns with a future in environmental education would be a positive step for all involved."

DeCesare worked with DOAS as a camp director for several years and joined the DOAS board in 2023, according to the release. "I'm excited about the opportunity to work with interns this summer.," she said. "I think we are providing a great experience for them. They will have the chance to work with student and adult audiences, gain valuable education experience, and help with projects on the Sanctuary grounds. They'll learn a lot and feel like they are making a difference."

The deadline to apply for an internship position is Feb. 23. Full details are available online at https://doas.us/summer-2024-internships/.

DOAS camp information and registration is expected to be available starting on April 1. DOAS maintains a scholarship fund for camp attendees who seek to offset some of the registration costs. To make a donation to the scholarship fund, visit https://doas.us/donate/ and indicate Camp Scholarship in the "designation" section, or mail a check with memo to DOAS Camp Scholarship, DOAS, PO Box 544, Oneonta, NY, 13820.