By Sarah Fiorello

To Apply: Apply here via handshake.

Goal of the Youth Education Intern

Cornell Botanic Gardens is developing youth education programs that help students understand plant-related solutions to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

The intern will be part of a team that is working to create immersive learning experiences for elementary school classes for online and in-person instruction. The intern, as part of this team, will develop activities to empower students to create their own “action plan” that helps achieve environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation as a way to protect the Earth.

Duties and Responsibilities

Work with the youth education coordinator and a volunteer committee to plan and develop youth programs and activities around protecting the earth, environmental sustainability, plant-related climate change solutions, and reducing carbon footprint. The educational theme for these programs is climate action and aims to provide youth with solutions to reduce our collective and individual carbon footprints. We will design activities for kids to learn about plant-related climate change solutions that empower actions they, their families, and perhaps their schools can take. Activities for school-related programs and an in-person at Cornell Botanic Gardens event (in the fall 2021) will be the focus of the internship.

Activities include:

  • Researching, designing, and developing climate action educational lessons and displays with hands-on activities that engage youth
  • Collaborating with faculty, researchers, and teachers on activity development
  • Testing and evaluating climate solution activities with youth online and in-person as permitted
  • As the university permits, work directly with children, leading activities at the garden
  • Recruiting and assisting other exhibitors in their climate action booths,
  • Recruiting and organizing student volunteers for the event,
  • Helping with event promotion.
  • Maintaining a portfolio of work that will be shared with all staff at the end of the internship.


  • Ability to commit to the entire internship period including extension into fall,
  • Currently enrolled, just graduated, or accepted Cornell University student,
  • Skills in organizing and event planning,
  • Climate change, plant science and/or education background,
  • Good communication, writing, design, and computer skills,
  • Interest in teaching children,
  • Work part time through the months of September and October during the Fall semester and work various weekend events throughout the summer and Fall,
  • Participate in weekly group intern activities as scheduled
  • Must have a valid driver’s license.
  • This is a full-time internship (39 hrs./week) during the summer

After the summer internship, paid work will continue part-time (7-10 hours/week) through October in the Fall 2021 semester. Weekend work will be necessary at various points throughout the summer and fall.

Work Environment

Adhering to Cornell University’s Covid guidelines for in-person work, the intern will work with the Youth Education Coordinator in an indoor office environment at the Gardens; some remote work is also likely. As permitted, youth programs delivered by the youth education coordinator and the intern may be outdoors or at off-site locations.

Each Monday from June to August interns will learn as a group spending most of the time outdoors. These learning days include field trips or educational activities about the diverse work of a public garden.

To Apply: Apply here via handshake.

General Program Information

Cornell Botanic Gardens’ internship program is open to all currently enrolled or accepted Cornell University students (including graduating seniors and graduate students). The Botanic Gardens recognizes that an internship is an opportunity to try out a career field. While we encourage applications from those with plant or natural sciences coursework or relevant work experience, we also welcome applications from students that are enthusiastic about the natural world and can articulate their interest in our program.


Provide an educational and work experience for Cornell University students involving hands-on activities that build on classroom learning and represent the full spectrum of work throughout our organization. VisionWe view our interns foremost as learners who offer a valuable fresh perspective. We treat each student as a professional team member and part of the Botanic Gardens family. Our staff is committed to the program, offering mentorship, guidance, and appreciation for each intern’s contribution.   Our program’s schedule is designed to offer all students exposure to the varied aspects of public garden and natural areas management.

For more information or questions on the general details of the internship program, contact Phil Syphrit at 607-227-5795.