Two Great Locations, One Organization

Nature Academy Internships

About Our Intern Program

University students are at the heart of everything we do. Our vision is to inspire a new generation of environmental leaders in sustainability, conservation and ecological restoration.  We are hiring up to 40 PAID University of Michigan student interns to participate in our Nature Academy program from April 30 – mid-August, 2018. The Nature Academy is focused on training a new generation of environmental leaders in sustainability, conservation and ecological restoration. Matthaei-Nichols is the center for rich and diverse nature-based experiences for the University of Michigan and its surrounding communities.  We have positions in four areas of interest:

Hours: Up to 40 hours per week, including possible weekends and evenings.
Compensation: $10.00 – 12.00/hour
Required Qualifications: University of Michigan student with a good work ethic, enthusiasm for teamwork and a willingness to learn is required. Many positions require an ability to lift up to 40 lbs.

Process & timeline

Complete an online application and attach your resume and cover letter as a PDF. In person and/or telephone interviews will begin Feb. 28, 2018.  Positions will remain open until filled.

Campus Farm

Food Grown by Students for Students.

Work with Campus Farm manager and your fellow interns to develop, maintain, and manage the Campus Farm, a program of Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum and located at the botanical gardens.  Positions focus on ecologically based farming techniques for soil, pest, weed, and crop management along with infrastructure, market, and systems development for our growing Campus Farm.  Previous farming experience is desirable, but not necessary. The Campus Farm and its student managers have a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work.

Please note Campus Farm Positions go through August 31. Opportunities for continued fall work may exist.

Job duties may include:

Organic transplant production: seeding, watering, management.
Crop establishment and care: planting, irrigation, ecological weed, pest, disease management.
Harvest and post-harvest handling: picking, cooling, washing, packing fresh produce.
Marketing and distribution: estimate weekly produce availability and coordinate orders and deliveries to MDining residence halls and catering.
Soil management and preparation: cover cropping and planting bed preparation with combination of hand tools, walking tractor, riding tractor based equipment.
Infrastructure development and maintenance: to possibly include outdoor wash-pack, root-cellar, tool storage, deer fencing, etc…
Supervising and leading volunteers, tours, individuals and groups: lead tours and workdays for classes and volunteers that come to visit and experience the Campus Farm.

Questions about these positions may be directed to

Ecosystems and Gardens

Work with the Natural Areas team to develop, maintain, and manage the plant collections, natural areas, turf, trails, and outdoor infrastructure in support of teaching, research, public outreach, and conservation goals. Job duties may include:

Greenhouse work and outdoor gardening: planting, watering, mowing, weeding, pruning, etc.
Natural areas stewardship: controlling invasive species with herbicide and prescribed fire.
Maintenance: trail work, fixing benches or fences, and building maintenance.

Visitor Engagement and Education

Work with the Visitor Engagement Team to provide excellent visitor experiences at both the Arb and Gardens. Positions available:

Visitor Services:  duties include greeting visitors, taking phone calls and relaying information about our properties and programs and assisting with retail operations. Must have flexible schedule with weekend and evening availability.
Event Hosting:  duties include hosting garden weddings and other rental events, as well as Visitor Services duties. Must have flexible schedule with weekend and evening availability.
Youth Education: Youth education- duties include developing and presenting nature play and informal education programs based on preK-12 science learning goals as well as interactive nature-themed activities. Must have some weekend availability.

Information Management and Curation

Work with the University Services Team to enhance student programs, collections and research data, and public interpretation. Positions in collections record and data management, field GPS collection, and interpretation. Job duties may include:

Data management:collecting and archiving photos and digital information about the collections for use in web and print.

Public Garden Administration

Work with the office staff to provide the basic administrative duties required to provide great programs and places for University and southeast Michigan communities. Job duties may include:

Facilities Maintenance: problem solving and performing light maintenance to keep everything in working order.


Name that intern

Learn More

Our interns are funded by donors and members.

And some of those internships are named, adding to the prestige of the position. For example, the Elizabeth Needham Graham Endowment—named in memory of a long-time docent—monitors, maintains, and interprets the Sam Graham Trees and Trail at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. As an intern, your work helps to sustain the important natural areas and beautiful gardens that are so critical to our mission. If you’re a donor, member, or are interested in supporting our internship program, visit our Student Support Giving page.

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