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 3,600 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:

  • Collection curation – How can we build a living plant collection to support research, plant conservation, and ornamental display?
  • Community ecology – How do global change drivers including climate change, non-native species, and land use change restructure our natural world?
  • Evolutionary ecology – How do eco-evolutionary dynamics shape plant responses to environmental change?
  • 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; microbial isolation and culturing; extracting, amplifying, and analyzing DNA; plant breeding and propagation including tissue culture; measuring plant gas exchange. Regardless of the area of focus, interns will also learn about experimental design, data analysis in R, scientific communication, and professional development

  • Eligibility – Open to US citizens and permanent residents who are current undergraduates or recent graduates. Holden Arboretum is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to hiring a diverse and talented workforce. Interns are responsible for their own transportation.
  • Timeline –  Summer 2021, exact start and end dates flexible
  • Pay – $11 per hour
  • Housing  –  Onsite housing is unavailable for 2021 due to COVID-19.
  • Application – Submit applications by February 1st, 2021. For full consideration, include: 1) a resume, 2) names of two references, and 3) a letter of interest specifying research theme(s) preference. The online application can be found here.

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.