Two Great Locations, One Organization

Nature Academy Internships

2019 Nature Academy Internships

We are hiring up to 40 paid student interns to participate in our Nature Academy program from May 6 – mid-August, 2019. 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. We have positions in five areas of interest (scroll down for details):

1) Visitor Engagement & Education, 2) Academics, Curation & Interpretation, 3) Campus Farm, 4) Public Garden Administration, 5) Field Services.

Applications accepted starting January 22, 2019. In-person and/or telephone interviews will begin Feb. 28, 2019. Positions will remain open until filled.

Hours: Up to 40 hours per week, including possible weekends and evenings.
Compensation: $10.00 – 12.00/hour
Required Qualifications: University or college 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 as well as daily work outdoors.


A group of interns in the 2018 Nature Academy program observe a bonsai demonstration conducted by Matthaei-Nichols Collections Specialist Carmen Leskoviansky. Opportunities to work in and learn about our collections, spaces, and sustainability efforts are part of the summer syllabus in the summer intern program at Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum

Position details:

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 communicating 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: duties include developing and presenting nature play and informal education programs based on pre-K–12 science-learning goals as well as interactive nature-themed activities. Must have some weekend availability.
  • Gaffield Children’s Garden: combining garden and eco-system maintenance work with developing and staffing informal environmental education centers based on principles of Nature Play.
Academics, Curation & Interpretation

Work with the academics, research, and curation team to enhance student academic programs, collections and research data, and public interpretation. Possible positions available with this team include:

  • Data management: collections records, data management, and web design. Collecting and archiving photos and digital information about the collections for use in web and print.

  • Field GPS mapping: documenting and mapping woody plants and ecosystems on Matthaei-Nichols properties. Using mobile GIS technologies, make web maps, web map apps using ArcGIS and other ESRI tools, and identify plants for accurate data collection and mapping.

  • Interpretative media development: developing on-line interpretative content about our collections and sites, creating interpretive signs and media, conducting research to produce written content, graphics, and design.

  • Academic Outreach & Student Engagement: developing plans, programs, and materials for engagement with the University of Michigan community.

Campus Farm

Work with the Campus Farm student and staff managers to operate the U-M student-run Campus Farm at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Grow food for your fellow students through sales to MDining and the online produce-ordering system Produce Pickup. Learn about organic crop and transplant production, organic soil and pest management, equipment operation, food safety, harvest and post-harvest handling, and ecological agriculture. Duties include:

  • Organic crop production: planting, irrigation, weeding, transplant production, soil and pest management.
  • Harvesting & sales: coordinating orders, washing, packing, and delivery of produce to MDining.
  • Site development and maintenance: fencing, wash pack facilities, passive solar greenhouses, cold storage, establishment of pollinator habitat etc.
  • Supervising and leading volunteers, individuals and groups
  • Involvement with: maintenance of on-campus gardens at East Quad, Ginsberg Center, and Ross rooftop, as well as heritage seeds garden at Matthaei.
Public Garden Administration

Work with the office staff to provide the basic administrative duties required to provide great programs and places for the university and southeast Michigan communities. Positions available with this team include:

  • Volunteer operations: recruiting, orienting, training, and planning events for volunteers.
  • Office operations: filing, accounting operations, managing supplies, record keeping and supporting staff.
  • Marketing: managing social media and developing marketing materials.
  • Fundraising: processing memberships, planning events and programs.
  • Facilities maintenance: problem solving and performing light maintenance to keep everything in working order.
Field Services

Work with the field services team on indoor and outdoor operations. Help to establish, maintain, and care for the plant collections, natural areas, turf, trails, and landscapes found within our conservatory, greenhouses, and on our four properties. Interns will work alone and on teams, with staff and volunteers. Positions available:

  • Bonsai and Penjing Garden: work with our bonsai curator to help care for our collection of bonsai and penjing. Duties include watering, moving plants, assisting volunteers, tending the landscaping, paths, and structures.
  • Conservatory and greenhouse: work with our conservatory and greenhouse manager to help care for the plants under glass, assisting with a variety of horticultural tasks. Duties include watering, potting, pest management, and keeping the greenhouses clean.
  • Facilities, equipment and landscaping: Work with our facilities and landscaping team to help maintain our buildings, landscapes, hardscapes, and grounds. Duties include mowing, trimming, blowing, power washing, inspecting and routine maintenance, cleaning and care of buildings, utilities, power equipment, landscapes, and hardscapes.
  • Great Lakes Gardens of Native Plants: Work with our garden manager and curator of native plants to help care for this priority collection of native plants from unique ecosystems from around the Great Lakes region. Duties include planting, weeding, watering, and special emphasis on tending the orchid garden within the Great Lakes Gardens.
  • Display Gardens: Work with our garden manager in the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden and several display gardens, entrance gardens, and outdoor event spaces at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Duties include planting, watering, weeding, mulching, dead heading, raking paths, etc.
  • Natural Areas Stewardship: Work with our natural areas manager using ecological restoration techniques to care for the unique ecosystems found on over 800 acres of natural areas on our four properties. Duties include using power equipment, herbicides, and prescribed fire to control exotic invasive plants. Scouting and collection of native plant seeds. Survey for important conservation targets (eastern massasauga rattlesnake) and threats (new occurrences of exotic invasive species).
  • Woody Plants and Trails: Assist our woody plants and trails manager with the care and maintenance of hundreds of our trees and shrubs, miles of paths and trails and several of our special collections including Heathdale, Sam Graham Trees and Trail, and the Sue Reichert Trail. Duties include planting, mulching, watering, pruning, labeling, mapping, etc. Installing, repairing and maintaining drives, paths and trails, boardwalk and trail-step installation, routine inspections for hazardous trees and branches, and routine brush clearing and removal of fallen debris.

2018 Interns

Anita Michaud

Anita is a rising sophomore from Plymouth, MI working as a visitor engagement and services intern this summer. She is intends on dual majoring in Organizational Studies and the History of Art with a minor in Business. She is excited to learn more about Michigan’s native plants and trees as well as hammock in the diag, cook, and has a goal of reading a book per week this summer!

Brooke Callaghan

Brooke Callaghan
Campus Farm Intern
Birmingham, MI
I just graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. In Environmental Science with a Public Health Specialization. I am starting at the School of Public Health in the fall for an MPH in Nutrition with a Dietetics Concentration. I am excited to work with like-minded individuals that care about creating a more sustainable food system and engage with members of the surrounding Ann Arbor community.

Caleb Kaczmarek

Caleb is a Natural Areas intern working with Steven Parrish this summer. He is excited to learn about practical conservation and Michigan’s unique ecosystems. Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity is one of his minors, alongside Computer Science and a major in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Caleb’s hometown is Bay City, Michigan.

Carly Sharp

My name is Carly Sharp and am an intern on the Campus Farm this summer. I grew up in Ann Arbor and am studying civil engineering with a focus in environmental engineering. I am fascinated by the intersection between food, energy and water systems, specifically in urban settings. My time working at the campus farm and learning about food, energy and environmental justice topics in classes has convinced me that our industrial food system around the world is unsustainable as well as a major contributor to climate change. In this way, I am really interested in discovering more sustainable methods of producing food to feed people!

Caroline Golbeck

Caroline is a Visitor Engagement and Event Planning Intern from Illinois studying Communications and Food & the Environment at the University of Michigan! This summer, she hopes to (finally) finish reading the Harry Potter series, acquire a green thumb, and complete her Ann Arbor coffee shop and taco bucket list.

Casey Haggerty

My name is Casey and I am a recent graduate from Program in the Environment with a specialization in terrestrial plant conservation. I think this is pretty handy, because I am a Conservation Intern at MBGNA this summer. I am most excited to learn about Massasauga rattlesnake conservation and remove invasive plant species!

Daniel Wu

Daniel is from West Bloomfield, Michigan, and just finished his senior year at the University of Michigan. He is studying ecology/evolutionary biology and computer science. This summer he is a research and curation intern, working with on GIS projects with Maricela and Mike Kost. He is excited to get to know the trees and birds in the arb and to learn new skills!

Elaina Veasey

Ella Tutlis

My name is Ella Tutlis and I am a Campus Farm Intern for the summer. I originally hail from Lake Leelanau, Michigan, where I grew up on an organic farm! I am currently a graduate student studying social work in the fall. This summer I am most excited to start harvesting all the fresh veggies the campus farm will produce, especially fresh carrots which are my favorite.

Folasade Adegbenro

Name: Folasade Adegbenro
Position: Bonsai Garden and Medicinal Garden Intern
From: Sterling Heights, MI
Major: Neuroscience
Excited About: Learning about how to take care of various bonsai specimens. And being able to identify native plant species.

Franny MeLampy

Franny MeLampy is working as a youth educator this summer. She graduated in April with a Bachelor of Science in Evolutionary Anthropology and a minor in German, and even squeezed a thesis in there too. Franny was born and raised in Ann Arbor and has been visiting the Arb and Gardens since she was little. Franny is excited to explore the plants and animals of the conservatory and trails with kids this summer, and hopefully increase her botany skills!

Gucci Fan

My name is Gucci Fan, and I am the 2018 Great Lakes Garden intern. I am originally from Okemos, MI, and now am a rising junior at the University of Michigan, studying Program in the Environment (PitE) and Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity (EEB). This summer I am excited to work with native Michigan plants and learn to operate heavy machinery.

Isabella Garramone

I’m a second year master’s student at the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), studying Behavior, Education, and Communication. Before returning to school, I worked for three years coordinating children’s environmental education programs at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania and the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, NY. This summer at MBGNA I’ll be creating signs and exhibits communicating our messages and mission to visitors. I have a community garden plot and also enjoy knitting and sewing.

Ivana Khreizat

Ivana Khreizat is a Visitor Services intern at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. She’s from Plymouth, MI and a prospective Public Health major. Besides working at the gardens, she is most excited about exploring the west coast for the first time this summer.

Jayden Earl

My name is Jayden Earl and I am one of two interns stationed in the Gaffield Children’s Garden this summer. I am a rising junior studying sociology here at the University of Michigan. Originally, I hail from Holland, Michigan. Though I may miss my summers near Lake Michigan, I am looking forward to exploring all Ann Arbor has to offer. I am excited to take part in all of the exciting projects happening here at Matthaei-Nichols this summer!

Jennifer Zavalnitskaya

My name is Jen Zavalnitskaya, and I’m working as a Natural Areas Intern at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. I’m from Commerce Township, MI and I just graduated with a Bachelors degree in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies. I’m excited to learn more about restoration techniques and how we can work to create a healthy ecosystem filled with Michigan’s native flora and fauna.

Joseph Powell

My name is Joseph Powell. I am from Detroit, Michigan. Currently, I am working as an intern in the Nature Academy Internship Program at the Mattheai Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arbetum spaces. My position being the “Woody Plants” intern, my work consists primarily of planting and maintaining trees and shrubs around the natural spaces. Over the course of this summer, I look forward to learning the names and features of a multitude of herbatius and woody plants. I would also like to learn more sustainable planting and growing processes so that I might start my own successful garden space in the future. Ultimately, I would like to use the skills and knowledge that I accumulate throughout the internship experience in the future to better achieve my goal of becoming a Landscape Architect.

Josie Gilmore

Josie is a rising junior studying Program in the Environment with an interest in Economics and Sustainable Food Systems. She is from Philadelphia, PA and loves hanging out with her family, friends, and Portuguese Water Dog, Bella. She is very excited to be a part of the Campus Farm and the Nature Academy Internship Program this summer! You can find Josie spending her time outdoors–hiking, backpacking, hammocking, and now farming. A fun fact about Josie is that she is a firm believer that any meal can be improved with some hot sauce and a few olives.

Julia Lawson

Julia Rose Lawson is currently the Informatics Intern at MBGNA working closely with David Michener and the Peony Garden. At the University of Michigan, she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Information, with focuses on user experience, social media, and design. She has minors in both Museum Studies and Art History. Julia is excited to apply what she has leaned in all her various courses of study to her work here at MBGNA.

Kayla Wanous

My name is Kayla Wanous and I am the Gardens horticulture intern. I am from Midland, Michigan and I just graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Program in the Environment. I am interested in horticulture and sustainable food systems and am excited to gain new skills and knowledge through working with the staff and volunteers here!

Kendall Billig

Kevin Bechard

Kevin Bechard
Facilities Intern
Livonia, MI
I have recently graduated from Miami University in Oxford, OH where I received my BA in Architecture. Throughout my education at Miami I learned about Green Building, Net Zero Design and Landscape Architecture. Which interested me in pursing a masters in Landscape Architecture here at Michigan. I wanted to work this summer at Matthaei Botanical Gardens to learn more about the design and what goes on everyday to keep the gardens beautiful and loved from people around the world. Hopefully by the end of the internship I will learn how I can weave some of these ideas into my future designs.

Mackenzie King

My name is Mackenzie King. I am the development and administration intern. I am from West Bloomfield, Michigan. Currently, I am pursuing two degrees at the University of Michigan in Art and Design and Conservation Biology. This summer, I am excited to encourage more students to join and enjoy the gardens and arboretum!

Madison Montambault

Madison Montambault is an Administrative Assistant in the Membership and Development departments as well as working on the Visitors Services team for the summer of 2018. She is from Ann Arbor, MI and has worked at MBGNA for 3 years. She graduated from the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at U of M in 2017 with a Bachelor Music in Opera Performance. She currently holds a graduate fellowship at The School of Music,Theatre and Dance where she is pursing a Master of Music degree in Opera. She is very excited to be back at MBGNA and to learn more about nature, the environment and sustainability.

Meg Gizzi

Nicholas Maternowski

Nicholas Maternowski
Assistant to head of Greenhouses
I’m from Grand Rapids Michigan, I am in the school of education and am a history major with an earth and space minor. I’m excited this summer to work in the greenhouses helping to organize and help maintain a healthy plant habitat for all of the plants! I’m especially interested to work with the orchids.

Noah Johnson

I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan and will be a senior in the fall studying psychology. I love being outside and enjoy skateboarding, snowboarding, and fishing. As the trails intern this summer, I’m excited to learn about path maintenance and erosion, and work to improve the trails for visitors at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum!

Rachael Kluba

Rachael Kluba is the Sam Graham Trees Intern through the Field Services team. She is from Brookfield, Illinois and is currently completing a master’s degree in Conservation Ecology from SEAS, while also having degrees in Geology and Environmental Science from Western Michigan University. She is most excited to learn about woody plants and gaining the ability to identify many of them throughout the summer, while understanding the importance of stewardship and restoration. She is also looking forward to being a part of an organization that is going to teach a great deal in regards to both academic and professional skills.

Rebecca Huska

Rebecca Huska is the Heathdale intern at Nichols Arboretum. She is studying Program in the Environment through the School of Environment and Sustainability. She is excited to spend time outdoors and acquire many skills and woody plants knowledge.

Santiago Bukovsky-Reyes

This summer, Santiago will be working as an intern in the Youth Education Department at the Botanical Gardens. Santiago is a Master’s student in the UM School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) focusing on Conservation Ecology. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs where he emphasized in environmental chemistry. His current research interests are in the fields of agricultural and soil ecology and he is conducting a research thesis with Dr. Jennifer Blesh to study the effects of cover crop mixtures on soil health on farm fields in Washtenaw County. Santiago has always enjoyed investigating the world through the sciences and turning those discoveries into engaging and inspiring stories for others. He hopes to be able to combine his experience in the sciences to promote wonder and curiosity with the youth who visit the Botanical Gardens this summer!

Sarah Gizzi

Sarah Gizzi is working this summer as the Peony Garden intern as well as a summer Caretaker. She will be starting her fifth year at the University of Michigan and is majoring in Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity. This is Sarah’s third year as the Peony Garden intern and she is so excited to once again see the joy on people’s faces when they see the Peony Garden in full bloom!

Shawn Farrell

I am the Field Services/Grounds intern working under Mike Stadler. I am from Kalamazoo, Michigan and I am pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. This summer, I am looking forward to working outside every day at the Gardens and the Arb, learning new skills from some amazing supervisors, and hopefully making some lifetime friends.

Taylor Passucci

Taylor Passucci is a senior at University of Michigan-Dearborn. She is majoring in Environmental Science with a concentration in Earth Science. Taylor is also enrolled in the Geographic Information Systems Certificate program and is working as a GIS intern at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens this summer. She is most excited about furthering her knowledge in the developing geospatial field and working on both team and individually driven projects.

Tracy Scherdt

My name is Tracy Scherdt and I am the Nature Play intern in the Gaffield Children’s Garden this summer. I graduated this Spring with a dual degree in Program in the Environment (PitE) and Creative Writing & Literature, and my specialization within PitE was environmental education and justice. I have lived in Ann Arbor my entire life and have many fond memories of visiting Matthaei both as a child and as a young adult, so I feel very lucky to be working in such a special place. I look forward to a fun, educational, play-filled summer!

Yoav Jacob

Yoav Jacob, from Setauket, New York, is excited to spend a second summer at MBGNA . He is a rising junior studying Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity interested in exploring the intersection of sustainability, horticulture, and human health. His hobbies include running, making and eating hummus, and looking for dogs to pet around campus.


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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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