The program is primarily for individuals who are already experienced in working with captive wildlife in general or birds specifically. It is designed to provide a broad range of instruction in waterfowl aviculture, as well as specific techniques that may or may not be used at other institutions, such as zoos.
In order to accomplish this goal, we use an immersion instruction method (considered by numerous educators to be the most successful) that occurs on the grounds of the Avian Breeding Preserve. The method includes directive instruction, interactive questioning, repetition through practical application, and additional Q&A in the evening after completion of the day's activities. The only form of passive instruction is from the highly acclaimed Avian Husbandry Manual, written by Sylvan Heights' founder, Mike Lubbock, which is given to interns when they arrive at Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Center. The program offers interns the opportunity to work side by side with Mike Lubbock, considered by many to be the world's foremost authority on waterfowl husbandry. There is also time available to work with Sylvan Heights' Curator of Aviculture, Nick Hill, who has earned a highly respected reputation internationally for his knowledge in egg hatching techniques.
18 years of age
Capable of lifting 50 lbs.
Able to work outdoors in a rustic environment
Assist staff with the morning care and maintenance routine at the Avian Breeding Center
Must have your own health insurance
Must provide your own transportation to and from the Center
One and two-week stays available
Sylvan Heights will provide housing and meals for those who have been accepted in the program and continue to meet the program requirements.
Avian Husbandry Manual and Waterfowl ID Handbook
Upon successful completion of the program, participants will receive a Certificate of Proficiency in Avian Husbandry & Management from Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Center. Participants also receive a copy of the Avian Husbandry & Management Manual, which is exclusive to those attending the Avian Program. The Avian Manual contains information attained during Mike Lubbock's 45 years of avicultural experience. Combined with the Program's hands-on training, the Avian Manual unveils the secrets for successful waterfowl breeding and care.
Past Participant Institutions
During recent years, interns at Sylvan Heights have come from many of the finest biological institutions in the nation, including:
Brevard Zoo, Florida
Brookfield Zoo, Chicago
Busch Gardens Tampa
Central Park Zoo
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Georgia Southern University, Center for Wildlife Education
Fort Worth Zoo
Front Royal Conservation Research Center, Virginia
Jurong BirdPark, Singapore
Milwaukee County Zoo
New England Aquarium
North Carolina Aquariums
North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine
North Carolina Zoological Park
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Tacoma, Washington
Prospect Park Zoo, New York
Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Syracuse, New York
Palm Beach Zoo
Saint Louis Zoo
SeaWorld San Antonio
SeaWorld San Diego
Smithsonian National Zoo