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 Sustainable Landscape LxL Team is dedicated to learning the practice of and gaining experience in designing, developing, installing, restoring, and maintaining sustainable landscapes at Cornell Botanic Gardens with the potential to expand to locations on campus. This team’s efforts will work toward helping the Gardens and the University achieve their sustainability goals through sustainable practices in gardening, natural area stewardship, plant health care, integrated pest management, and public education.

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 sustainability, ecology, native plants, horticulture, habitat management, landscape design, and conservation a plus, but not required;
  • Additional skills or interests that would be beneficial, but not required: real-world problem solving, communication, critical thinking, and the ability to adapt in small dynamic teams.
  • Willing to work outdoors in various weather conditions, able to lift 50 pounds.

Position Details

  • The Sustainable Landscape team is composed of a Staff Mentor (Krissy Boys), two Student Team Leads [Daniel Sossover (junior) and Rainey Oldfield (junior)] and Team Members
  • We are looking to recruit up 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 (flexible work schedule). Hours will consist of time spent working outside on projects, native/invasive plant ID, native seed collection & plant propagation, tasks at the native plant nursery, weekly team meetings, and participating in scheduled events.
  • 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 among team members, team leaders, and staff mentor.

Current Project

The Shrub Restoration Project is a project we are working on within the Mundy Wildflower Garden. Due to Emerald Ash Borer, dozens of White Ash trees had to be cut down to avoid damaging people and/or property. As a result, the trees that made up the canopy in portions of the Mundy Wildflower Garden was completely removed, exposing the herbaceous understory to full sun. Team members will help prepare, plan, and plant various native species of shrubs that will provide nutritional benefits to migrating songbirds, native specialist bees, and other important pollinator species. Additionally, the restored site will act as a native shrub collection.

Potential Projects

  • Native Plant Sale
  • Plant Propagation Workshop
  • Mini-conference pertaining to sustainability
  • Cornell Botanic Garden Tours