Monday, July 21, 2014

Internships at RSABG

Once upon a time I was an intern here at RSABG. I look back on my internship with great fondness. It was not only a time for new experiences, learning, and growth, but it was also a summer full of camaraderie with the other summer interns. For as long as I can remember (which is when I was an intern about 13 years ago!) the Garden has had a fruitful summer internship program. Each year we work with three to ten interns usually during the summer months. We provide them with training in various garden programs and they gain skills in several areas including herbarium curation, field botany, seed collecting, plant propagation, and horticulture. It has been a highly successful program with many interns going on to become professionals in related fields. In fact several staff at RSABG got their start as RSABG interns!

Class of 2014 Interns; in the field monitoring Berberis nevinii. 
Our summer internship program is growing, and this year we have more than ten interns! I am excited to see the internship program flourish; it is a program that is near and dear to my heart since I benefited from it greatly. When I started my internship I didn’t know that I wanted to be a botanist. I wasn’t even sure what kind of career I was wanted, but my mentors at the Garden had such an infectious enthusiasm that I figured this had to be the way to go. So here I am working as a botanist in the institution where I grew up as a botanist and I’ve never looked back.

My mentors inspired me, not only to become a botanist but also to seek my passion and find what drives me. It is now my duty to serve as a mentor and it’s a great challenge but I find it endlessly satisfying and rewarding. I am thrilled to work with eager and talented students and this year is no exception. Internship training is unique because its all hands on. We’ve trekked in the field together to document the flora of understudied mountains, we’ve recovered old monitoring plots to track endangered plants, we’ve collected seeds for preservation, and the interns have propagated plants that I wish I knew how to propagate (I secretly want a second internship in the nursery!). This is all in a day’s work at RSABG but its meaning is further compounded when we are able to share the importance of our work with these young colleagues.


In the next few weeks, I hope to have our interns share stories of their summer with you. Stay tuned for their posts

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