Hunnewell Internships

Isabella Welles Hunnewell Internship Program


Intern group photo 2010

The online application for the 2016 Isabella Welles Hunnewell Internship Program will be available December 1, 2015.

The Arnold Arboretum offers paid internships that combine hands-on training in horticulture with educational classes. The internships offer the opportunity to work directly within an historic landscape and its world-renowned scientific collection of trees and shrubs. Interns are accepted for 12- to 14-week appointments with the exception of a limited number of longer-term (18- to 24-week) appointments based on funding.

As part of the training program, interns work alongside professional staff in the Grounds Maintenance and Greenhouse departments. Interns participate in instructional sessions and field trips in order to develop a broader sense of the Arboretum’s horticultural practices. Interns are encouraged to share their experience and knowledge and to participate fully in the work of the institution. Over the course of the summer, interns work in groups to address a real landscape management issue and present their proposal to their peers and Arboretum staff.

Internships are available in the following departments:

Harvard forest

Collections and Landscape Maintenance 

Our living collections include many mature shrubs and trees planted over large expanses of grass and meadow. Working with the permanent grounds maintenance staff, summer interns weed, mulch, mow, plant, prune, and perform other horticultural tasks. They also participate in landscape renovation and/or hardscape projects as needed. “Grounds” interns rotate through various collections and gardens within the landscape. In addition, all ten spend some time with the arborist crew to focus on pruning skills, bucket-truck operation, chainsaw use, and tree climbing.

Nursery and Greenhouse Operations 

Staff members at the Dana Greenhouses propagate and grow the plant material that is eventually planted out onto the grounds of the Arnold Arboretum. They also raise a variety of plants for distribution. Greenhouse 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 woody plant propagation and/or greenhouse operations.

Expectations and Qualifications

Propagation ClassInterns 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 field at a college, university, or technical high school
  • Work experience in a nursery, greenhouse, garden center, park, arboretum, or botanical garden
  • Career aspirations in 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