When it comes to the care of our living collections, a sure sign that spring has finally arrived is the addition of the Isabella Welles Hunnewell Interns to our horticulture team. The internship program provides students of the botanical and horticultural sciences with an experiential learning opportunity in the fields of public horticulture and living collections management. Each winter applications arrive from across the globe, and the Arboretum’s living collections staff selects about 10 students to participate in the care of the collections for the growing season.
Over the summer, students rotate through the Arboretum’s diverse collections and gardens, learning about plants and their care as they work alongside our horticulturists and arborists. More traditional curricula, both classroom- and field-based, allow interns to engage other staff and visiting experts throughout the summer. These lessons cover a range of topics, including pruning techniques, tree climbing, transplanting, plant health care, plant propagation, urban ecology, and collections curation. Field trips offer unique opportunities for interns to meet and network with professionals at other institutions, while offering broader perspectives on public horticulture. Interns also complete a team project to solve a real-world problem in our landscape, and present the results of their research and work to Arboretum staff.
Our first two interns arrived this month. Robert Dowell is a native of Virginia, and earned a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Virginia Tech. Prior to his arrival to the Arboretum, he worked for Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden in Lexington, VA. Robert hopes to become a woody plant curator (watch out Michael Dosmann!). Jehane Samaha hails from the Boston area, and recently graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in the environmental sciences. She has enjoyed numerous environmental-focused field and laboratory experiences, including an internship with the New England Wildflower Society, and plans to explore options to further her formal education in botany.
As the spring continues, we will be joined by seven additional interns from around the U.S. and Canada.
Click here for more information on the Isabella Welles Hunnewell Internship Program.