The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum

nature academy internships

Meet our 2016 Interns

General Information

Make Friends, Make Money and Make a Difference this summer at Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum! We are hiring up to 40 PAID University of Michigan student interns to participate in our Nature Academy program from May – August, 2017. The Nature Academy serves the twofold purpose of accomplishing the work of the organization and training a new generation of environmental leaders in sustainability, conservation and ecological restoration. Matthaei-Nichols is the center for rich and diverse nature-based experiences for the University of Michigan and its surrounding communities.

There are four areas of interest to choose from: Farm and Field Services, Education and Visitor Engagement, Research and Curation, or Administrative Services (filled). We are also hiring Nichols Arboretum Caretakers and invite UM Juniors, Seniors and Graduate Students to also apply for this year-long residential work program. Read more about the Caretaker position.

In your application, you will rank your intern track preference and indicate if you are interested in also being considered for the Caretaker position. You will only need to submit one application for all of the openings that you are interested in.

Positions available:

  • Farm and Field Services
  • Work with the Horticulture and Natural Areas Team(s) to develop, maintain, and manage the plant collections, natural areas, turf, trails, and outdoor infrastructure in support of teaching, research, public outreach, and conservation goals of the U-M Matthaei-Nichols. Job duties may include:

    • Greenhouse work and outdoor gardening: planting, watering, mowing, weeding, pruning, etc.
    • Natural Areas Stewardship: controlling invasive species with herbicide and prescribed fire.
    • Maintenance: trail work, fixing benches or fences, and building maintenance.
    • Supervising and leading volunteers, individuals and groups.

    Work with the Campus Farm Manager to grow and build the UofM Campus farm located at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Previous farming experience is desirable, but not necessary. Job duties may include:

    • Farming: building soil, planting, cultivating, and harvesting organic vegetable crops. Managing weed, pest and disease on the farm.
    • Marketing: building the Campus Farm program and selling crops.


  • Education and Visitor Engagement
  • Work with the Visitor Engagement Team to provide excellent visitor experiences at both the Arb and Gardens. Positions available:

    • Youth Education - duties include developing and presenting informal education programs based on K-12 science standards as well as interactive nature-themed activities. Must have some weekend availability.
    • Visitor Services - duties include greeting visitors, taking phone calls and relaying information about our properties and programs and assisting with retail operations. Must have flexible schedule with weekend and evening availability.
    • Event Hosting - duties include hosting garden weddings and other rental events, as well as other Visitor Services duties. Must have flexible schedule with weekend and evening availability.


  • Research and Curation
  • Work with the University Services Team to enhance student programs, collections and research data, and public interpretation. Positions in collections record and data management, field GPS collection, and interpretation. Job duties may include:

    • Research data collection and management: collecting, manipulating and archiving data, text and images for research publications well as public web and print media.
    • Field GPS mapping: mapping remote and sometimes wet outdoor areas using GPS and ESRI, identifying plants for accurate data collection and mapping.
    • Interpretative media development: developing online interpretative content about collections and sites, creating interpretive signs and media using content management software, graphic design, and database management.


  • Administrative Services
  • Work with the office staff to provide the basic administrative and human resources we need to provide great programs and places for University and southeast Michigan communities. Job duties may include:

    • Volunteer Operations: recruiting, orienting, training, and planning events for volunteers.
    • Human Resources: scheduling and recordkeeping.
    • Office operations: filing, accounting operations, managing supplies and supporting staff.
    • Marketing: managing social media and developing marketing materials.
    • Fundraising: membership processing, planning events and programs.


Process and timeline: Complete an on-line application and attach your resume and cover letter. Applicants may be invited to interview in person or by telephone beginning Feb. 1, 2017. Positions open until filled.

Job Duration: May through August.

Hours: Up to 40 hours per week, including possible weekends and evenings.

Compensation: $10.00 – 12.00/hr

Required Qualifications: U-M student with a good work ethic, enthusiasm for teamwork and a willingness to learn is required. Most positions require an ability to lift up to 40lbs.

Apply now


Name that Intern

Did you know? Our interns are funded by donors and members.

And some of those internships are named, adding to the prestige of the position. For example, the Elizabeth Needham Graham Endowment---named in memory of a long-time docent---monitors, maintains, and interprets the Sam Graham Trees and Trail at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. As an intern, your work helps to sustain the important natural areas and beautiful gardens that are so critical to our mission. If you're a donor, member, or are interested in supporting our internship program, visit our Student Support Giving page.


"The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer."

"Women and minorities are encouraged to apply."


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