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The Internship

What to expect:

This is a unique position that will leave you well-trained and qualified to work in a variety of jobs. This position requires flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to learn and grow. You will learn how to address, teach, entertain, and capture the attention of both small and large groups. You will be trained to facilitate our high ropes course, low ropes elements, group initiatives,  and team building. Another exciting aspect is learning to handle and care for non-releasable raptors. You will teach a variety of classes and encourage students to foster relationships with the natural world. Every day will be a new adventure, as you interact with different classes and new students throughout the seasons.

The Internship begins with a three-week training period to learn high ropes set-up & belaying, local flora & fauna, science & cultural history classes for 4th-6th graders, class management, crisis response protocol, and other basics. Once students are on campus, interns will continue learning through our progressive training program. First interns will shadow classes. Then they will team-teach with one of our permanent Naturalists. Lastly, when they are ready, interns will teach classes on their own.

Interns have the opportunity to leave their mark at SOS by conceptualizing, organizing, and implementing an intern project. These projects help the school for many years to come while giving interns the unique opportunity to create and design their own projects. To see examples of past projects, see our  Blog.

What should you bring?

Bring with you anything you would bring when you move into a new house:

  • Bedding (sheets, blanket, pillow)

  • Towels

  • Toiletries

  • Clothes (You will want lots of layers to be prepared for any weather -  from hot summer days to cold and wet or snowy winters)

  • Recreational equipment

  • Your favorite kitchen items (reusable thermos/mug?)

Off the Clock

Our campus may be remote, but that does not mean there is a lack of things to do. The local area offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and more! The nearby towns of Sonora, Twain Harte, and Columbia offer coffee shops, restaurants, museums, farmers markets, live music, movie theater, shopping, and more. Past interns have brought a variety of recreational items such as instruments, soccer balls, slacklines, craft supplies, movies, board games, books, and more to use during their free time. You can use most of our school's facilities when not in use by our guests, such as the gym, weight room, climbing wall, mountain bikes, and basketball courts.



Staff Housing

While working as a Naturalist Intern you will live in modern, on-site housing. There are two Intern houses which were built in 2013. They are lovingly called The Bat Cave and The Ant Hill. Each has eight bedrooms, four full bathrooms, a living room, large kitchen with modern amenities (two refrigerators, dishwasher, and garbage disposal), and a washer and dryer. This living arrangement provides you with your own personal space, the convenience of living on-site, and the fun experience of sharing a house with fellow interns.

What is provided?

The houses are fully furnished homes with all the basics you will need. Each bedroom comes equipped with a twin bed, lamp, desk, closet, dresser, mounted bulletin board, and garbage can. Your kitchen has silverware, plates, cups, pots, pans, a blender, coffee maker, dishwasher, dining room table, and two refrigerators. The living room has a couch, coffee tables, and a TV/DVD player.


While there are students on site and/or during training days, most meals are provided.  Diets that are accommodated are: Vegan, Vegetarian, and Omnivore.  Other needs will be the responsibility of the staff member. The Food Services team will also provide basic staples for the interns for weekend use, such as: flour, sugar, lentils, eggs, milk, cereal, rice, pasta, butter, onions, garlic, dry beans, vegetable oil, chocolate chips, salt, pepper, (and quinoa for those that are gluten-free).

What is the area like?

On campus, we have trails used for running, biking, and hiking. The main trail follows along a human-made stream built during the Gold Rush (“The Ditch”) which circumnavigates the mountain.

Driving time to local attractions:

We are about...

30 minutes from the town of Sonora, and 20 minutes from Twain Harte or Columbia. There are many places to eat, hike, climb, shop, and explore in and around these towns.

1 hour from Murphys, Angels Camp, and Pinecrest Lake/Dodge Ridge ski resort. A little over an hour from Calaveras Big Trees State Park and Emigrant Wilderness Area.

2 hours from Sacramento, Bear Valley ski resort, and Yosemite National Park.

3 hours from South Lake Tahoe, Fresno, and the San Francisco Bay Area (always allow a little more time to account for city traffic).

For more information about applying, click here.

To learn more about what's happening at SOS, check out our Blog and our Facebook page!

Weather Forecast

Other Useful Information

Naturalist Internship Description

Where are they now?

Current Naturalist Interns


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