Internships and Volunteer Opportunities

Summer Internships

The Program

Interns spend the summer conducting independent research at the Holden Arboretum, a part of Holden Forests & Gardens, located near Cleveland, Ohio. The Arboretum offers over 3,500 acres of forested land, extensive living plant collections, and high-tech laboratories. In addition to research activities, interns will be involved in field trips and professional development, such as weekly journal clubs, scientific lectures, networking with other scientific researchers in the greater Cleveland area, and presenting a poster of their research at Holden Forests & Gardens’ SEARCH symposium.             


Interns will conduct research under one of three broad themes:

  • Community ecology – How do global change drivers including climate change, non-native species, and land use change restructure our natural world?
  • Plant physiology – How does plant physiology vary across environments and over time, and how does this shape the distribution of plants on earth?
  • Soil ecology – How do microbes in the soil shape plant communities and their function in the ecosystem?

Skills learned over the summer may include: plant and insect identification, extracting, amplifying, and analyzing DNA, or using an LI-6400 to measure plant gas exchange. Regardless of the area of focus, interns will also learn about experimental design, reading and critiquing scientific literature, data analysis in R, and scientific communication.

  • Eligibility – Open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are current undergraduates or recent graduates. The Holden Arboretum is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to hiring a diverse and talented workforce. Interns are responsible for their own transportation.
  • Timeline –  May through August 2020, exact start and end dates flexible
  • Pay – $11 per hour or about $5280 over the 12-week internship
  • Housing  –  Shared intern housing available on-site for $30 per week
  • Applications  – Applications for the 2020 internships are currently closed.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Research Department hosts volunteers year-round. Volunteers help with a wide variety of tasks ranging from setting up experiments in the field, greenhouse, and laboratory, collecting data, processing samples, and archiving data. Research volunteers also staff outreach tables at HF&G events, such as Goblins in the Garden and the Egg Hunt, where we present our research to the general public.
Contact Sarah Hartley, the Arboretum’s volunteer coordinator, for volunteer opportunities.