One Year Internships: Horticulture, Arboriculture, Curation, Public Engagement, Visitor Experience

Come study at Mt. Cuba Center, a premier botanical garden that embraces ecological gardening and celebrates native plants. Gain hands-on experience in your specific internship area while working one-on-one with our professional staff. Participate in group projects, educational programming, plant identification classes, and trips to other local horticultural organizations. Each intern will complete a special project culminating in an in-house presentation of the results. The program runs from May 21, 2018 to May 10, 2019. Visit for more information and to apply online.

The four positions detailed below are available for 2018-2019.

  1. 1.   Arboriculture Internship

The Arboriculture Intern will learn first-hand how Mt. Cuba Center manages our extensive collection of trees. The intern will work in our gardens and natural lands areas on a full range of tree care tasks including planting, pruning, and removals. In addition, the intern will become proficient at using the tools of the trade such as ropes, knots, pole saws, and pruners. Additional arboricultural skills learned in the program include identification of native trees, plant health care, and groundwork.  Advanced training in tree climbing and the operation of a chain saw and brush chipper will also be included in the internship.  The intern will take the lead on a special project to develop a formal process for tree assessment in our gardens. Through inspections, data collection, and prioritization, the intern will learn how to identify and evaluate the maintenance needs of the tree. By assessing safety risks, tree health, tree structure and aesthetic concerns, corrective solutions can be recommended. This internship presents an excellent opportunity for an individual who plans to pursue a career in arboriculture. Qualifications include attention to detail, self-direction, and the ability to lift 25 pounds.

  1. Public Engagement Internship

The Public Engagement Intern will learn how to successfully promote and raise the profile of a public garden through print and digital marketing, outreach, and communications. In addition, the intern will design, implement and review marketing, outreach, and communications strategies that promote our conservation mission and extend our public reach. The intern project involves researching, writing, and editing Mt. Cuba Center’s Native Plant Finder, an online plant profile database.  The intern will develop a portfolio of professional copywriting, commercial photography, and social media management and take native plant classes that enhance an understanding of ecology and conservation.  Successful candidates will have an interest in ecology, enthusiasm for thorough research, and strong writing skills.

  1. Native Plant Curation Internship

Immerse yourself in the study of native plants at Mt. Cuba Center!  The Native Plant Curation Intern will work closely with the Plant Recorder and Director of Collections as part of the Collections team. This year-long position explores all aspects of living collections management and offers a rare opportunity for an individual to gain insights into the skills required for professionals in this field. The selected intern oversees a project focusing on creating a Collection Development Plan for Mt. Cuba Center’s native Orchidaceae, the orchid family, the outcome of which will have a lasting impact on Mt. Cuba Center’s curatorial program.  In addition, the intern assists in plant documentation and reporting, participates in collections assessments and learns a variety of skills, including inventorying, plant labeling, mapping, and nomenclature verification.  This hands-on internship training is intended to develop essential skills for future collections managers and public garden professionals.

  1. Visitor Experience Internship

The Visitor Experience Intern will learn to create remarkable experiences at a public garden by assisting in the development and implementation of on-site interpretation, public programming, and seasonal events. In addition, the intern will develop project management skills through cross-department collaboration and external communication skills in relaying key messages to the public. The intern project involves participation in Mt. Cuba Center’s first-ever interpretive planning process through the production and evaluation of our newly developed interpretive suite of products, such as tours, demonstrations, signage, and publications. Qualifications include a strong knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, organizational skills, attention to detail, and the ability to interact with the public.


The one year internship is designed for individuals with a degree in horticulture, forestry, ecology, environmental studies, associated plant fields, or museum studies who want to become professionals in public gardens.  Through this internship, individuals with limited experience in the horticultural industry will also gain basic employment skills.  Mt. Cuba Center, while very scenic, is remote and has no public transportation, walking, or bike lanes, so a car is highly recommended.  [The use of Mt. Cuba Center’s vehicles for personal use is not permitted.]


The internship pay is $11/hour for a 40-hour work week, medical benefits included. Housing is available on site at beautiful Mt. Cuba Center at no cost to the intern.

Application Process

Please visit   to apply online. Application deadline is March 1, 2018. Please apply early because interviews will begin in January 2018, as applications are received, and will continue until positions are filled, possibly before the March 1 deadline. For more information, email or call 302-239-8886.

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