By Sarah Fiorello

To Apply: Apply here via Handshake.

Department: Cornell Botanic Gardens

Mentor/Supervisor: Kevin Moss (km274), Student and Public Engagement Coordinator

Time Commitment:

  • 7-10 hours/week (may include occasional weekend work) during the May ’22, fall ’22 and spring ‘23 semesters
  • This position is full time (39 hours/week) for Summer of ’22 (may include occasional weekend work)
  • Position requires Ithaca residency. Time off can be arranged.

Salary: $15.00/hour

What is Learning by Leading (LxL)?

We believe that students learn best by doing and leading. Leadership skills and real-
world experience combine to help our students address important environmental issues. The Learning by Leading, or LxL, program provides students with semester- and year-long internships that involve student leadership; collaborative; co-created projects between student teams, staff and faculty; experiential learning; and real-world problem solving at Cornell Botanic Gardens. LxL is built on a small team-based structure, in which a Botanic Gardens staff mentor is paired with two student co-leaders. These two student leaders learn from and work with their mentor to understand the work and how to lead other students in such work. After a semester of training and exposure to the mentor’s work, the two student co-leaders recruit, manage, and lead a small team of student volunteers who will, with the guidance and support of the staff mentor, carry out student led projects and initiatives that work toward achieving Botanic Gardens’ mission. Learning by Leading is an opportunity to experience independence, teamwork, and student leadership (similar to that of a student club), with the support of professional expertise, administrative connections, and funding of a well-established, major public facing institution such as Cornell Botanic Gardens.

Garden Ambassador Team

The Garden Ambassadors is a team dedicated to outreach, engagement, and informal education. The Garden Ambassador team will collaborate with our education and communications staff to design, develop, and deliver programs that nurture the unique and personal connection that people have to plants, inspire positive action, and connect to our diverse visitors. Garden Ambassadors gain the hands-on experience critical to lead and work in dynamic, teamwork-driven professional environments, and will learn to address challenges through creative, collaborative problem solving. Garden Ambassadors will also become effective advocates for the conservation of plants, natural areas, and biocultural diversity, and will learn about local and global plant life in addition to the ecosystems and cultures they sustain (as well as the challenges they are facing).

What does a Garden Ambassador co-coordinator do?

The student co-leaders will lead a team of students who:

  • Create virtual content and programming such as webinars and blog posts
  • Create in person programming such as plant giveaways or curated tours.
  • Serve as an ambassador for the Cornell Botanic Gardens at events on campus such as orientation week and Ag Day, and community events such as Apple Harvest Festival.
  • Partner with the Garden Guides (Cornell Botanic Gardens’ docent group) to help deliver tours, interpretation, and on-site visitor orientation.
  • Partner with student organizations, departments on campus, and community partners to co-create programming.
  • Create documentation such as project proposals, timelines, and evaluations.
  • Apply for grants, as needed, to help fund projects.
  • Adapt above programming as needed in keeping with Cornell policies and changing public health requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Co-create, with staff mentor and fellow student co-coordinator, team-directed projects that reflect the team’s focus area and advance Botanic Gardens’ mission and strategic goals.
  • Recruit, manage, coordinate, and motivate a team of 4-5 volunteer, student team members.
  • Schedule and lead regular meetings with student team members.
  • Participate in training on leadership, teamwork, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Work independently and together in teams – empowering others and fostering teamwork.


  • Strong leadership and teamwork skills, ability to adapt in small, dynamic teams
  • Good communication, writing, organizational, and public speaking skills
  • Good interpersonal skills and ability to manage conflict
  • Critical thinking, planning, and problem-solving skills
  • Experience with or interest in engaging with diverse audiences of youth, student, and adult learners
  • Experience with or interest in environmental communication and/or environmental teaching and engagement in an informal setting


  • Uphold and carry out Cornell Botanic Gardens’ vision, mission, and values
  • Exhibit strong professional ethics and accountability
  • Lead by example, empower others, and foster inclusive teamwork
  • Embrace a diversity of identities, experiences, and perspectives
  • Represent Cornell Botanic Gardens with professionalism and integrity

To Apply: Fill out the application HERE. For further information and questions, contact Kevin Moss (km274). Application deadline is March 20, 2022.