Hunnewell Internships

Isabella Welles Hunnewell Internship Program

The online application for the 2016 Isabella Welles Hunnewell Internship Program is now available. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis from now through February 7, 2016. Candidates are encouraged to apply early.

Please click here to apply.

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The Arnold Arboretum offers paid internships in collections management with concentrations in horticulture and landscape maintenance, arboriculture, plant production, or collections curation. Experiences combine hands-on training, educational classes, and visits to other botanical institutions. Interns are accepted for 12- to 14-week appointments (typically May through August) with the exception of a limited number of longer-term (18- to 24-week) appointments based on available funding.

As part of the training program, interns work alongside professional staff in their host department and participate in instructional sessions across disciplines to develop a comprehensive sense of the Arboretum’s collections management practices. Field trips to other public gardens are offered throughout the summer to expose interns to the broader field of public horticulture and provide networking opportunities with professional staff at these institutions. As members of the Arboretum community, interns are encouraged to share their experience and knowledge, and to participate fully in the work of the institution. As a capstone project, interns work as a group to address a real collections management issue and present their proposal to their peers and Arboretum staff.

Internships are available with the following concentrations:

Horticulture and Landscape Maintenance 
Working with the horticulture staff, summer interns weed, mulch, mow, plant, prune, scout and monitor plant pests and IMG_0955diseases, operate a wide range of maintenance equipment, and perform other associated tasks as part of caring for the Arboretum’s 281 acres.  All interns rotate through various collections and gardens within the landscape, obtaining experience with various types of plant material, as well as getting opportunities to learn from many horticulture staff members. In addition, each intern will spend time with the arborist crew, focusing on pruning skills, bucket-truck operation, chainsaw use, and tree climbing. Applicants should have some experience in landscape maintenance and an interest in exploring career paths in public horticulture.
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The arboriculture-focused experience is for those applicants exploring a career path as a climbing arborist. Interns spend their time working alongside the Arboretum’s aborists as they rotate through the collections evaluating plant health and assessing and executing the unique pruning needs of each specimen. This team works on large-scale plant removals, tree hazard assessments and corrective pruning measures, IPM practices, and other tasks as needed as part of the full horticultural operation. Applicants should have some experience in urban forestry or arboriculture and a basic working knowledge of aerial tree care, i.e., climbing and lifts.

Plant ProductionImage 7
Staff members at the Dana Greenhouses and Nursery propagate and grow all of the plant material that is eventually planted into the permanent collections of the Arboretum. They also raise a variety of plants for distribution, including the annual Plant Giveaway to the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum. Interns are introduced to the nursery and greenhouse production cycle and assist in watering, weeding, mulching, potting, and other jobs as required. The work varies from physical labor to technical work, with emphasis on proper growing methods. This internship also gives an overview of our accessioning and plant inventory process, including an introduction to BG-BASE™ Collections Management Software. Applicants should have some experience in plant propagation and/or greenhouse operations.

Collections Curation
The Curatorial Department directs record keeping and documentation for all 15,000 accessioned plants in the Arboretum’s living collection, guides the development for new acquisitions, and facilitates the use of the collection by scholars. Of central importance is the annual inventory or fieldchecking of roughly a fifth of the living collections. The curatorial intern will spend much time assisting staff to fieldcheck the collections, which includes plant health assessments, mapping, and collection of observations. Additional time is spent cataloging plant data in the database, collecting voucher herbarium specimens from the collections, and assisting visiting researchers to access the collections. Interns will receive considerable training in BG-BASE™ Collections Management Software. Applicants are expected to have strong woody plant identification skills and previous public garden experience.

Expectations and Qualifications

Arnold Interns - 2014 Patio Project

Interns selected for the Isabella Welles Hunnewell Internship Program are expected to participate fully in the work-life of the institution with maturity, punctuality, curiosity, and commitment to learning. Preference will be given to candidates who have at least some of the following qualifications:

  • One or more years of education in horticulture, botany, landscape design, or other plant-related fields at a college, university, or technical high school
  • Work experience in a nursery, greenhouse, garden center, park, arboretum, or botanical garden
  • Career aspirations in public horticulture, botany, or another plant-related field
  • Excellent physical health and stamina—interns are expected to work in all weather conditions (heat, humidity, and rain) and to maintain a high level of productivity
  • Maturity, self-motivation, and willingness to work as part of a team

Please read our Code of Conduct and answers to frequently asked questions.

Email inquiries can be sent to: