Dolphin Internship 2022
in Panama City Beach, FL.
One-month Dolphin Internship Program designed for college students or professionals and even for high school graduates in search of a field placement, practicum or orientation to a possible career in marine biology, marine mammal conservation, ecotourism, animal behavior, animal assisted therapy or recreational therapy.
We offer applicants the opportunity to play an active role in Water Planet’s educational Eco tours and in our therapeutic programs for children with disabilities.
Interns will assume limited responsibilities in the implementation of both programs after receiving a basic training.
We also provide a research platform for students who are working on their own project for a Master’s Degree or PhD. in marine biology, dolphin behavior, ecotourism management or in recreational therapy and other related fields. Interns will learn about the importance of a respectful and educated approach to wild dolphins and about safety on board our boats. Ecotourism management will be discussed as interns will be briefed in educational strategies to raise the public’s environmental awareness as means of promoting the conservation and protection of our pristine marine ecosystem and of wild dolphins in particular.
Interns will learn about the different approaches to dolphin assisted therapy and recreational therapy. They will learn why these disciplines cannot be sustainable or justified without a marine and nature conservation dimension. Interns will be directly involved with children with developmental delays, PDD and other disabilities as well as with wild dolphins.
Our approach puts in perspective the impact human activities have on wild dolphin behavior and social life and also the influence dolphins can have on human behavior, emotions and self-development.
We have also had students ask us to provide a platform for projects in field data collection for their Masters degree or PhD. in marine biology, Therapeutic Recreation, Occupational Therapy, Child Life and other fields. In 2003 and 2004, we had two marine biology students from two different Belgium Universities for a research project on a dolphin population. The other interns, who were interested in this field were given the opportunity to be involved in the project by helping in data collection.
In 2006, we had selected a student of the University of Montreal and hosted her 2-month research project on “The impact of the Water Planet Harmony program on the adaptative behaviors of children with pervasive developmental disorders”.
The 2005 June and July Interns had the chance to assist the Canadian student with various tasks like observing the children and take note of certain behaviors or shooting video during and after the dolphin encounters. The interns participation to the project not only improved the diversity of angles in the data collection but it also helped the interns get a feel for what it is like to prepare and to implement a research project. We will offer our interns the opportunity to assist with data collection since we will continue with the project June through August. Different methods will be used for data collection.
In 2018, Water Planet hosted another research project by a Ph.D. student from Oakland University. Whitney Dominick conducted a case study as part of her dissertation research on the impact of swimming with wild dolphins on children with a variety of developmental disorders. Because the empirical benefits of AAT were not well-documented, Whitney decided to pursue AAT with a focus on research. Her goal is to continue gathering empirical data regarding the efficacy of wild dolphin therapy on children’s emotion regulation skills, stress, and self-esteem.
We will share with you our experience helping children with disabilities by introducing applicants to their role and responsibilities, and by offering basic training sessions on case management, children profiles review and the Water Planet philosophy and intervention style. We will share with you our experience in ecotourism management and in educational strategies to raise the public’s environmental awareness as a means of promoting the conservation and protection of our pristine marine ecosystem. You will be observing and assisting our staff both on land with the briefings and on board the boats with the dolphin encounter trips with participants from North America, South America, Europe and Asia.
You will be observing and assisting our staff during the therapeutic land sessions. You will be on board the boats with the families and their children, assisting with their dolphin encounters and helping with photo or video documentation.
You will learn about the importance of a respectful and educated approach to wild dolphins and about safety on board our boats. We will show you the basic skills you will need to take care of yourself in the water and to be of help to others in an aquatic environment. Interns will also be trained in the art of free diving and communication with wild dolphins through body language. See our home page for details about the programs you will be involved in.
A great way for you to have a better idea of what our internship entails is to visit our Facebook page where we introduce our interns and where we post videos of the programs our interns help facilitating.