Summer Internship

Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University offers a 12-week summer internship program for students interested in gaining a hands-on experience in a public botanic garden. Duke Gardens is a 55-acre display- and education-oriented botanic garden located on the campus of Duke University. Duke Gardens hosts many university and community programs and attracts more than 580,000 visitors annually.

Our program offers four horticulture internships.

Program Description: The internship experience will provide an in-depth introduction to various aspects of horticulture. Interns will work in all areas of Duke Gardens and have a wide range of horticultural experiences and responsibilities. Through gardening work in the four thematic areas, weekly plant ID classes offered by staff, independent projects and educational field trips, the internship is designed to provide opportunities to gain knowledge and experience in the vast field of public gardening. As they work directly with Duke Gardens staff members, the interns' daily tasks may include assisting with planting, watering, weeding, pruning, mulching and overall daily garden maintenance.

Interns will gain insight into garden design and careers in public horticulture through visits to botanic gardens and nurseries in North Carolina. We also try to provide a broad exposure to different aspects of the “green industry,” from growing plants to the design and implementation of gardens. Interns will also work on special projects.

Qualifications: This internship program is open to both traditional and non-traditional students, including those who are making a career change into the field of horticulture.

To be considered for a horticulture internship, applicants must have successfully completed a basic botany or introduction to horticulture class and at least one plant ID class. Current enrollment not required. Work experience in horticulture, ecology, environmental studies or closely related fields will also be considered.

Applicants must be self-motivated and willing to work both independently and in a team environment.

Requirements: Able to stand, bend, squat, kneel and sit for extended lengths of time; must be able to reach down and overhead. Able to work outdoors in all types of weather with fluctuations in temperature and conditions, including exposure to dirt, insects and poison ivy (personal safety training provided).

- Ability to operate hand tools and power equipment safely (training provided).

- Basic computer skills (knowledge of Windows, Excel, Outlook and Word)

Please Note: Duke Gardens is currently unable to sponsor applicants not already authorized to work in the United States.

Application deadline: Feb. 14, 2020.

Dates of internship: May 15, 2020-August 11, 2020.

Work schedule: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, with three weekends of watering duty TBD.

Compensation: $12/hr.  College credit may be arranged through your advisor.

Housing: Housing is not provided by Duke Gardens. However, Duke University provides information about housing opportunities in the area on its Duke off-campus housing site. Interns must secure their own housing. 

To apply:

Please download and fill out our application form and mail or email it with your resume and cover letter to the address below.

All complete internship application materials must be received by Duke Gardens by February 14, 2020. The selection committee will not be able to consider your application if all materials have not been received by the due date. Interviews and hiring will begin as soon as applications are received and will continue beyond deadline if qualified candidates have not been identified. 

Completed application form, cover letter and resume should be sent with “Horticultural Internship” in the subject line to:

Applications can also be mailed to the address below:  
Horticulture Internship Committee
Attn: Tess Anderson
Sarah P. Duke Gardens 
418 Anderson Street 
Durham, NC 27705