The University of Michigan

summer internships 2014

General Information

Summer internships at UM-MBGNA offer students the opportunity to develop professional skills and experience. Project planning and development, extended learning opportunities and a field trip are all part of the Summer Internship program. These are temporary, hourly paid positions (generally 40 hrs per wk) and run from the beginning of May through the end of August each summer. Many of the work schedules will typically include a rotation of weekends and holidays and include possible evening duty. Most positions require interns willing to work outside in summer conditions. Interns must be able to provide their own transportation to the work-sites (Nichols Arboretum and Matthaei Botanical Gardens) or participate in carpooling with other interns to work-sites.

To Apply

Listed below are general descriptions for expected internship openings.

Please apply with a resume, cover letter and 2 references and specify which position(s) you are interested in to:
Jan Stearns jand@umich.edu.

Alternatively you can mail your materials to Jan Stearns, UM MBGNA, 1800 N. Dixboro Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.

If applying for more than one position please rank your interest. Applicants are encouraged to visit our sites and to review our website for more information.

If you would like to view other job opportunities at the University of Michigan or create an online profile to expedite applications for future opportunities at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, please visit the University of Michigan's Careers Website.

  • Available internship position(s):
  • Filled positions:
Exhibit Development/Interpretation (all positions filled)

Description: As a living museum a key to our operation is providing informative, engaging and understandable interpretation of our collections, spaces and resources. This position will develop educationally based exhibits, displays and posters focused on our plant collections, natural areas, gardens and environmental mission. Under the supervision of the Education Manager, this position works as part of a team and will take a lead role on aspects of the development of these materials. Interns will participate in creating several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Educational value: Intern will develop materials that can be used in a professional portfolio of work. Job skills in team work, leadership, work flow and project management will be learned. Intern will learn development of educational interpretative media.

Requirements: Ability to quickly conduct research necessary to gain background knowledge; ability to produce clear and concise communications; experience working with InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator software. Desired skills: Knowledge in biology, natural or environmental science and education. This is an ideal position for a students interested in Informal Education, Museum Education, or Environmental Communications.

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Children's Educational Programs (all positions filled)

Description: Develop and provide activities for regular drop-in through the summer with both daytime and early evening hours, including weekends. Engage children in comprehensive gardening programs in helping to plant and maintain vegetable and herb beds. Develop a series of nature-based art and musical activities. Extend programs from the Gaffield Children’s Garden to include organized adventure hikes along the Sue Reichert Discovery Trail and Sam Graham Trees and Trail at the Botanical Gardens and excursions to Nichols Arboretum as well. Provide guided programs to school and camp groups. Interns will participate in creating several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Educational value: Youth education program assistant interns will gain experience working in professional, informal environmental education. Interns gain experience with independent project development; creating program from conception to completion and will deliver the program to a group of elementary age children. Interns will also gain valuable experience as part of the Education team, working on programs and educational materials that convey the mission and vision of MBGNA.

Requirements: Excellent organization skills and attention to detail. Must be able to work independently and as a team member. Must have an interest in plants, the environment and leading others in environmental education activities. Must have a demonstrated ability to work with children and peers. Be reliable, flexible, enthusiastic, outgoing, and able to remain calm and level-headed in stressful situations. Previous experience is essential.

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Cultivating Community (all positions filled)

Description: The Cultivating Community program provides hands-on education for UM student volunteers at our demonstration gardens, which practice small-scale organic growing methods including composting, ecological pest management, and space saving techniques. The program offers workshops for student volunteers about preparing and preserving local fresh foods, composting, container gardening, and other topics of interest. Internship positions coordinate the program, work with student volunteers to plant and maintain demonstration gardens for Cultivating Community, and recruit and coordinate student volunteers. Interns will participate in creating several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Educational value: Intern will develop leadership, communication, program management, work planning, volunteer recruitment and retention skills. Intern will develop deeper knowledge of small scale organic gardening. Interns will lead a small garden program for children; Interns will lead work days with peers.

Requirements: Experience with volunteer recruitment and supervision, ability to work with diverse groups, experience with and knowledge of community gardens, organic gardening, or composting, excellent communication skills (email included), reliability, and ability to work independently. Ability to work outdoors in various weather conditions is necessary.

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Horticulture Assistants (Up to 5 positions)

Description: Assist in the maintenance of gardens, and indoor greenhouses, and the conservatory of Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. Work will include caring for many types of plants in indoor and outdoor plant collections as well as general garden maintenance including mulching, weeding, watering, and planting. Indoor collections include orchids and bromeliads. Outdoor gardens have various foci including herbs, vegetables, annuals, and perennials, with an overall theme of using native plants throughout all garden areas. Interns will be working across departments with other interns but primarily with the Natural Areas team. Interns will participate in creating several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Educational value: Student will learn plant identification skills for all types of plants, native as well as exotic. In addition, horticulture and garden management techniques will be learned. The students will gain supervisory and teamwork skills when working with volunteers and other staff members.

Requirements: Previous plant identification and record keeping skills are helpful. Self-motivation, dependability and a desire to work outdoors are essential.

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Peony Garden Intern (all positions filled)

Description: Assist with the care of the Peony Garden at Nichols Arboretum. This 90 year old garden contains the largest collection of heirloom peonies in North America. Work will include staking plants, mulching, edging, deadheading, weeding, and interacting with visitors.
The Peony Garden Intern will also assist in other maintenance of gardens, greenhouses, and the conservatory of Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. Work will include caring for many types of plants in indoor and outdoor plant collections as well as general garden maintenance including mulching, weeding, watering, and planting. Work will be concentrated at Nichols Arboretum with occasional days at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Interns will participate in creating several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Educational value: Student will learn specific techniques to care for peonies as well as plant identification skills for all types of plants, native as well as exotic. Student will also learn horticulture and garden management techniques and gain supervisory and teamwork skills when working with volunteers and other staff members.

Requirements: Self-motivation, dependability, attention to detail, and a willingness to work outdoors in various weather conditions. Previous gardening experience is preferred. Some weekend work required.

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Natural Areas Stewardship Internship (5 positions)

Description: Assist Natural Areas and Native Plants Specialists as part of a team with a variety of natural areas stewardship projects and tasks at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Nichols Arboretum, Horner Woods and Mud Lake Bog properties. These will include exotic invasive plant ID, monitoring and control methods, native plant ID, monitoring and propagation, prescribed burning, using brush cutters, chainsaws, herbicide sprayers, driving utility vehicles and tractors, etc. It will require collecting, organizing and presenting data related to this work. Interns will be working across departments with other interns but primarily with the Horticulture team. Interns will participate in creating several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Educational value: Learn concepts and gain field experience in natural areas stewardship, conservation of native species, ecological restoration and native plant propagation. This includes learning to ID Michigan natural communities and many native species and exotic plants. Learning control techniques for a variety of exotic invasive plants, experience with many hand tools, power tools, and power equipment necessary for this work.

Requirements: An understanding of basic ecology and of Michigan natural communities, native plants and experience with exotic invasive plants and their control is desired. Willingness to work outdoors, hike several miles in natural areas and work while exposed to variable weather conditions, insects, and other outdoor hazards is necessary. Ability to use a variety of hand tools, power tools and power equipment is preferred. A love of the outdoors is essential.

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Great Lakes Gardens Internship (all positions filled)

Description: The Great Lakes Gardens are a newly constructed set of gardens at Matthaei Botanical Gardens to showcase the unique ecosystems and flora of the Great Lakes region. Ecosystems represented in the garden include alvar, dunes, prairie, oak openings, oak woodland, and floodplain woods. The intern for these gardens will assist our Natural Areas Native Plants Specialist with the variety of horticultural and botanical tasks in establishing these new gardens. Tasks will include planting, weeding, collecting seed and propagating plants for the garden, maintaining interpretation and labels, watering newly planted plugs, developing plant records and recording the progress of establishing the gardens. Duties may also include time at the Nichols Arboretum, Horner/McLaughlin Woods and Mud Lake Bog properties. Use of a dichotomous floral key and camera for floral inventories and photo-monitoring will be used as well as hand tools and power brush cutter, herbicide applicator and driving utility vehicles and tractors with and without trailers for the various tasks. Additionally the GLG intern will be expected to lead volunteers and occasionally other interns. Interns will participate in creating several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Educational value: This internship exposes the candidate to basic horticultural, botanical and ecological concepts, particularly in working with native plant gardens. Because the GLG is a showcase of rare and endangered plant communities, ecosystems, and endemic plants, the intern will gain an appreciation of these unique ecosystem and flora and the conservation issues that surround them. Additionally this internship offers an opportunity to learn concepts and field experience of conservation of native species, plant identification, native seed collection, effective weeding and invasive removal techniques, photo-monitoring techniques, planting techniques and irrigation determination for effective plant establishment, successful volunteer leadership, as well as gain experience with hand tools, power tools and power equipment.

Requirements: An understanding of basic ecology and of Michigan natural communities, native plants and experience with exotic invasive plants and their control is desired. Some experience with Michigan native plants and using a floral key preferred. Experience with volunteers or previous leadership role is desired. Ability to use a variety of hand tools, power tools and power equipment is desired. The intern will also be expected to take the Michigan Pesticide Certification if not already certified. Experience with Excel preferred and ability to exhibit good organizational skills and accurate record keeping. Skills with digital camera desired. Willingness to work outdoors while exposed to variable weather conditions, insects, and other outdoor hazards is necessary. A love of the outdoors is essential.

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Centennial Shrub Garden Internship (1 position)

Description: Intern will work with staff to evaluate and care for the Centennial Shrub Garden at Nichols Arboretum while developing an overall plan for improving the garden’s beds, plantings, and pathways by the end of the summer. While major emphasis will be on the Centennial Shrub Garden, the intern will also work as a team member with other interns and staff to care for several other garden spaces at Nichols Arboretum as well. Interns will participate in creating several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Educational value: Gain deeper knowledge about plants, particularly shrubs, and their use in the landscape. Build skills in inventorying site characteristics and preparing garden designs. Learn skills in repairing trails, correcting site drainage, and other aspects of garden management. Gain practical experience in garden design for botanical gardens and arboreta with a product potentially useful in your design portfolio.

Requirements: Knowledge of plants, especially shrubs and groundcovers; background in trail design/construction; skills/background in landscape design; ability to supervise small teams of volunteers or other interns and the ability to operate maintenance vehicles and some power tools is desired.

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Woody Plants Internship (2 positions)

Description: Assist in the care of woody plant collections at the Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. Work includes planting new material, mulching, watering, feeding and pruning of new and existing trees and shrubs as needed. Assist with plant removals and felling of larger trees as needed. Interns will participate in creating several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Educational value: Student will learn tree and shrub ID skills, methods for tree and shrub establishment and care and techniques for removal.

Requirements: Native and invasive plant ID skills helpful, experience in plant installation helpful, experience with pruning tools such as loppers and pole saw helpful, experience with power tools such as brush cutters and chain saws is also desirable.

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Heathdale/Laurel Ridge Internship (1 position)

Description: Assist with and oversee care of Arboretum’s collection of Rhododendrons and Azaleas. This work includes mulching and pruning as needed and monitoring for individual plant health, soil pH and pests. Additional work in this garden space includes, mulching and repairing trails as needed, removal of woody and herbaceous invasives, installing new plants, assisting with prescribed burns. Interns will participate in creating several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Educational value: Student will learn plant ID skills, techniques for tree and shrub care, garden and landscape maintenance and natural areas management.

Requirements: Native and invasive plant ID skills helpful, experience in basic plant care and garden/landscape maintenance desired, experience with invasive plant control techniques desired.

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Trails Specialist Internship (all positions filled)

Description: Assist Woody Plants and Trails Manager with monitoring, maintenance and installation of trails at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Nichols Arboretum, Horner Woods and Mud Lake Bog properties. Lead the team in a variety of projects and tasks including building and/or installing surface material, steps, rails, waterbars, grade dips, etc. to appropriate specifications. Clear exotic invasive plant species, native plant species, and fallen trees and branches. Work with Natural Areas Stewardship interns to ID exotic invasive plants and use appropriate methods to control them. Assist with native plant ID and monitoring, prescribed burning, using brush cutters, chainsaws, herbicide sprayers, driving utility vehicles and tractors, etc. It will require collecting, organizing and presenting data related to this work. Interns will participate in creating several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Educational value: Learn concepts and gain field experience in trail system maintenance and building. Gain experience with many hand tools, power tools, materials and power equipment necessary for this work. Also learn about natural areas stewardship and ecological restoration which includes ID of Michigan natural communities and many native and exotic plants, and control techniques for invasive plants. Work as a leader and/or member of a team.

Requirements: Willingness to work outdoors, performing physically demanding labor while exposed to variable weather conditions, insects, and other outdoor hazards is necessary. Ability to use a variety of hand tools, power tools and power equipment is preferred. Ability work alone or as part of a team or in a leadership role is necessary. An understanding of basic ecology and of Michigan natural communities, native plants and experience with exotic invasive plants and their control is preferred. A love of the outdoors is essential.

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Visitor Services (3 positions)

Description: This position involves staffing our Front Desk, creating sales in our Garden Store and helping with events at the Botanical Gardens and Arboretum. Intern will also contribute regularly to the Matthaei-Nichols blog and to other social media as directed.

Educational value: Students will develop interpersonal skills and gain experience in the performance of customer service to a diverse cross-section of public visitors and users of an educationally valuable public attraction.

Requirements: Ability to handle multiple tasks (and people) at one time, as well as communicate clearly and effectively. Excellent customer service skills and event or retail experience preferred. If you have a positive attitude, great customer service skills and a flexible schedule please contact us. This job will include weekends, and some evening hours.

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Sustainable Food Program and Campus Farm Summer Internship (all positions filled)

Description: The responsibilities of this position are divided into three categories: campus farm care and planning, student engagement, and administrative support for achieving GAP certification and managing the farm. This candidate will gain experience in small farm and volunteer management. The candidate will report to the Matthaei-Nichols staff and the Sustainable Food Program Manager. Interns will participate in creating several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Campus Farm care involves planting seeds and seedlings in accordance with planting schedule and layout design, adjusting planting plan as needed through the season, tending greenhouse beds, supporting physical improvements in the farm space (e.g., fencing), weeding, watering, and harvesting as needed, preparing produce for distribution according to Good Handling Practices.

Facilitation of communication, student engagement and events involves facilitation of workdays and special events (in greenhouse and outside), marketing of events and initiatives (blog posts, newsletters, etc.) and management of UMSFP member group relations.

Administrative support involves documentation of growing and harvest records, volunteer hours, expenses, and revenue and documentation necessary for GAP Certification.

Educational value: The student will gain practical experience in small scale market farm as well as communication and organizational skills.

Requirements: The student should have familiarity with the work of the UMSFP and Campus Farm, experience growing food crops, excellent written and verbal communication skills and must be self-motivated to complete the work. Prior experience working with volunteers and with event planning is a plus.

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Grounds & Facilities Maintenance (1 position)

Description: We are looking for someone to assist with both the grounds maintenance activities and several summer projects at both locations. The position will provide time to work alone and also work as part of a larger group. Basic mechanical skills are required, as well as the willingness to work outdoors in various weather conditions. Having your own transportation is a must, unless carpooling arrangements can be made. The intern will create several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Educational value: This position will help develop the skills necessary for running a small scale project, from start to finish. It will give insight to the importance of coordination and scheduling. It will provide the basic needs for maintaining the grounds at a public institution. It will give the opportunity to work with and share knowledge, while working in a group setting.

Requirements: Familiarity with grounds maintenance equipment and basic hand power tools, have a mechanical aptitude, good interpersonal skills, a willingness to work in varied environments, must provide own transportation or carpool, and have a willingness to be part of the team.

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Betty Graham Internship-Sam Graham Trees and Trail (all positions filled)

Description: Assist Woody Plants and Trails Manager and Education Program Coordinator with monitoring, maintenance and interpretation of the Sam Graham Trees and Trail at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Clear tall weeds and brush, planting shrubs, creating and editing interpretive materials. Assist with native plant ID and monitoring, prescribed burning, using brush cutters, chainsaws, herbicide sprayers, driving utility vehicles and tractors, etc. It will require collecting, organizing and presenting data related to this work. Interns will participate in creating several blog posts for the Matthaei-Nichols blog.

Educational value: Learn concepts about environmental education and gain skills in developing interpretive materials for children and families. Will also gain field experience with many tools, power tools, materials and power equipment and software necessary for caring for this collection of trees and the natural and restored communities where they’re found. Also learn about natural areas stewardship and ecological restoration including ID of Michigan natural communities, native and exotic plants, and control techniques for invasive plants. Work as a leader and/or member of a team.

Requirements: Ability to produce clear and concise communications; experience working with InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator software. Willingness to work outdoors, performing physically demanding labor while exposed to variable weather conditions, insects, and other outdoor hazards is necessary. Ability to use a variety of hand tools, power tools and power equipment and design software is preferred. Ability work alone or as part of a team or in a leadership role is necessary. Experience in environmental education, an understanding of basic ecology and Michigan natural communities, knowledge of native plants and experience with exotic invasive plants and their control is preferred. A love of the outdoors is essential.

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