By Sarah Fiorello

To Apply: Apply here via Handshake.

Role Description

The Learning by Leading™ (LxL) internship program at Cornell Botanic Gardens is a network of dynamic student-led teams — supported by the Gardens’ staff and resources — who are passionate about environmental issues, skilled in collaboration and communication, and capable of creative problem-solving. Students in the program progress through a leadership ladder, starting as a team member learning and participating then moving up to team leader. Learning by Leading™ combines expert staff mentoring and student experiential learning through work projects carried out by student led teams. Student teams engage in mission-related work that provides opportunities for students to develop critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving and teamwork skills that prepare them for the necessary work of educated global citizens.

The Horticultural Enterprises LxL Team is dedicated to learning the practice of and gaining experience in plant propagation and cultivation for plant sales. In addition to greenhouse and nursery management, team members gain experience in gardening tasks such as bed preparation, planting, watering, and other practices to learn about Botanic Gardens’ plant collections and to better understand the full cycle of plant production and care. Team members also gain valuable retail skills through plant sales. The Horticultural Enterprise team’s goal is to conduct plant sales as an opportunity to learn about and earn revenue for our program as well as to provide learning and leadership experiences. Through these plant sales, we can foster a strong relationship between plants and people.

Eligibility and Qualifications

  • Must be a full time, undergraduate Cornell University student. Preference is for first- and second-year students;
  • All majors and fields of study are encouraged to apply;Experience with or interest in horticulture, plant propagation, greenhouse management, landscape design and management a plus, but not required;
  • Additional skills or interests that would be beneficial, but not required: marketing, graphic design, experience working with money (cashier, customer service, running a booth, fundraising, etc).

Position details

  • The Horticulture Enterprise team is composed of a Staff Mentor (Missy Bidwell), two Student Team Leads [Hilary Mulford (junior) and Vincent Ciampaglione (senior)] and Team Members
  • We are looking to recruit for 5 to 10 Team Members
  • This Team Member position is unpaid. Hours may count towards volunteer hours for Cornell Tradition, APO, etc.
  • After completing one to two semesters as a Team Member, you will be eligible to apply for Team Lead, a paid position.
  • The position is 3-5 hours/week. Hours will consist of weekly team meetings, programs, regular greenhouse tasks, participating in scheduled plant sale events and time spent outside of meetings working on projects.
  • The commitment for this role is one to two semesters, but team members may continue beyond that point.
  • Specific projects and tasks will be determined by the project and discussion among team members and team leaders.

Application deadline is Monday, September 6 at 11:55 PM.

Additional information – please read carefully:

Thank you for your interest in being a part of the Horticulture Enterprise team! 🙂 

In your resume and cover letter, be sure to list your name, NetID, graduation year, and major. Also, in your cover letter, let us know if you would be interested / able to meet on September 18th in the morning before the Big Red Fan Festival to help us get ready for our Big Red Plant Sale! 

Here are some questions you can feel free to use to prompt your cover letter! You do not HAVE to answer these questions, they are simply suggestions. 

  •  What special skills or interests do you have that you feel would make you an asset to our team? These can be non-horticulture related skills.
  • What about this program drew your interest?
  • What other volunteer programs have you been a part of in the past?
  • How do you feel about working in group settings? Independently?
  • How would you describe your experience working in team settings? What would you say your role has been in these teams
  • What is something you’re passionate about?
  • What is your favorite plant?
  • How do you think your friends and family would describe you?
  • What are your goals for the future and how do they relate to our team? 
  • Have you visited the Botanic Gardens before?

Current and Future Projects

The Big Red Plant Sale is being planned for the Homecoming 2021 Big Red Fan Festival on September 18th. Our team will be hosting a Cornell themed plant sale with red and white varieties of chrysanthemums as well as ivy and other red annual plants. Team members will help to grow plants and prepare them for the sale. This will be our first event as a team and would like members to help work the booth at some point during the 11-2pm time slot or help us set things up prior to the start!
The North Campus Houseplant Workshop is a project we are working on with the Faculty-In-Residence of the Low Rise Residence Hall on North Campus. The Horticulture Enterprise team is conducting a houseplant workshop for students living in the Low Rises in mid September. Team members will help grow the plants for the workshop and provide instruction and support for the workshop.
The Daylily Project is a project to catalog, remove and reorganize Botanic Gardens’ daylily collection. This collaborative project will improve the layout of the Zucker Shrub Collection where the daylily collection is housed and provide plant material for a future daylily Sale. Team members will help with cataloging, removing, dividing, repotting and moving the plants.

Future Projects

Continuation of themed plant sales across Cornell’s campus and Ithaca.
Our team is interested in participating in social activism through the use of plants and landscape design. There are many opportunities arising across campus and the Cornell Botanic Gardens that will allow us to be involved in learning about different cultures through plantings. Our goal is to raise awareness about the cultural value of certain plants and their connection to different groups of people across the world.