Collections and Horticulture Intern

Lisle, IL
Full Time

The Morton Arboretum ranks among the world's foremost public gardens, noted for its exceptional plant collections, beautiful garden and landscape displays, practical research focus, and rich library collections. The Morton Arboretum, located in Lisle, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, is offering a Collections and Horticulture Internship Program. The duration of the internship is from three to nine month durations depending on intern's interest and availability; a minimum of three months is required.

This internship includes rotating through different departments in the Collections and Horticulture program gaining experience in curation and plant records; practical horticulture care in collections, gardens, and natural areas; plant breeding and production. The selected intern will be assigned and required to complete an independent project. The project will be aligned with the intern’s professional interest as reasonably as possible. The project will also address an objective aligned with Arboretum goals. The intern will present the results of the completed project before completion of the internship. Time will be allotted for the intern to work on the independent project during routine work hours. Application review will begin within two weeks of application submission. Applications will be accepted until positions are filled. 

Position Summary: This internship offers meaningful professional, educational, and experiential opportunities in public garden horticulture and curatorial practices and supports the strategic goals of The Morton Arboretum. The intern will have the opportunity to select from a variety of independent study projects that contribute to executing the Arboretum mission. 

Essential Functions: 

  • Gain practical experience by working in each of the Collection and Horticulture Program departmental areas: living collections, display horticulture, new plant development, plant production, and natural areas.

  • Complete an independent project that is aligned with the intern’s professional interest as reasonably as possible and addresses an objective that supports Arboretum goals. Present project results at the completion of the internship. 

  • Participate in additional activities to incorporate aspects of a public garden not covered in daily work. These activities may include meetings with staff members, educational sessions, or field trips.

  • Demonstrate alignment with the Arboretum’s employee core values to be inclusive, take ownership, work together, keep learning, and make the Arboretum exceptional.

  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications: Current enrollment in or recent completion of an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or graduate program in horticulture, plant biology, environmental sciences, or a related life or natural sciences program required. Ability to work in the United States required. 

Success Factors: Demonstrable interest in plants and a strong interest in learning more about their care and curatorial practices in a public garden setting. Interest and willingness to experience various facets of horticulture. Ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions. 

Physical Demands and Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • Physical Demands:  May be asked to perform some physical activity, including limited lifting and carrying (up to 30 lbs.), climbing (up to 8 ft.), and bending. Ability to travel around the Arboretum on paved, wood-chipped, and dirt paths over varied and uneven terrain, in various weather conditions. 

  • Work Environment: Work is performed in a combined indoor and outdoor setting. 

  • Housing: If needed, housing support will be provided, which may be on the Arboretum campus, a nearby suite-type hotel, and/or local university. Housing on the Arboretum campus may require the “public areas” of the house to be shared with another same gender intern; each intern will have private sleeping quarters. Local transportation is the intern’s responsibility. 

  • Equipment: General office equipment, general hand gardening tools, hand power tools, Cushman cart.

For full consideration, please submit a cover letter and resume.

The hourly rate is $16.00/hour for currently enrolled college students and $17.00/hour for college graduates. 


The Morton Arboretum is a champion for diversity, supporting a culture of inclusion that attracts, inspires, and engages people to achieve success.  The Arboretum is committed to hire and develop employees based on job-related qualifications irrespective of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or veteran status.  To increase diversity in professions related to the public garden realm, we encourage applications from underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans.  

The Morton Arboretum is dedicated to complying with our obligations as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All applicants are guaranteed equal consideration for employment.

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If you have questions, please contact jobs@mortonarb.org