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Conservation and Land Management Internship Program


We are hiring two interns to assist the NSF-funded Joshua Tree Genome Project, led by the US Geological Survey and Willamette University! Please see details below.

To apply, please send a cover letterresume, and contact information for three references to Chris Woolridge at: 


Partner agencies: US Geological Survey, Willamette University

Number of positions: 2

Ideal start date: 10/18/21

Internship length: 24 weeks

Position description: The interns will assist in implementing the field research component of the Joshua Tree Genome project. This research is a collaboration between multiple institutions, aiming to: 1) identify physiological and genetic expression responses to climate variation and heat stress in Joshua trees, 2) test for effects of climate on Joshua tree fitness and demography, and 3) identify locally adapted genes, test relationships between predicted population trait values and demographic status and compare drivers of local adaptation. The interns will be stationed and directly mentored at the US Geological Survey field office in Boulder City, NV. The interns will provide ongoing care of plants in four common gardens representing a range of temperature and rainfall conditions within the Mojave Desert in Nevada, California, and Utah, and will travel to these gardens on a biweekly to monthly basis. In addition, the interns will assist with greenhouse propagation of Joshua trees and other native species for planting into common gardens and germinate and transplant seedlings of Joshua trees into a growth chamber for a laboratory experiment designed to understand differences in the performance of the various ecotypes. The interns will also collect leaf tissues at multiple populations across the ecoregion so the tissues can undergo genetic analyses by university partners.

Interns will gain skills in greenhouse propagation (35% of time), field sample collections and measurements in the common gardens for determining local adaptation (35% of time), and care and watering of plants in common gardens (10% of time). The interns will also interact with ecologists and technicians performing research on desert restoration and rare plant conservation as well as other projects on desert ecology (20%). This research experience will help prepare the interns for entry-level Botany, Plant Ecology, Natural Resource and Environmental positions and guide their path toward graduate school.

Greenhouse work will entail maintaining and assessing growth and survival of seedlings in the greenhouse; field trips will be spent assessing survival and growth and maintaining seedlings at four common gardens across the Mojave Desert. Interns will also collect and document leaf tissues for genetic analyses. In the field, the interns will work in remote desert settings with occasional camping under primitive conditions. Candidates with interest in working in a desert ecosystem, conducting research, and experience making detailed measurements and exercising attention to detail when measuring plant traits are desirable. A valid driver’s license is required and experience driving 4WD while towing a water trailer on unpaved roads is highly desirable. The interns will periodically help maintain climate stations, remove weeds and ensure common garden fencing remains intact. The interns will also enter data into electronic databases, produce data summaries, and process plant samples in the laboratory.




The Conservation and Land Management (CLM) internship program places early-career scientists in five-month paid internships to assist professional biologists with land management and conservation projects. Since 2001, the CLM program has successfully placed over 1350 interns, providing them with a rich experience from which to launch their professional careers. 

CLM Internship Benefits 
CLM internships are paid internships! ​
 Explore your career goals and expand your resume 
Experience new landscapes, habitats, and species diversity in the beautiful western US
Make connections in various governmental and non-profit organizations
Learn what it's like to work at a federal agency
Apply your education to important conservation projects

Most of our internships are located in the western US, where the majority of public land occurs. Federal partners include the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. D. A. Forest Service, U.S. Geologic Survey, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others. Non-profit partners include the the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank and the Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank.​

Click here to read more about our internshi​ps!


In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call 847-835-8264 to contact our Title IX Coordinator should you have questions or concerns.

The Chicago Botanic Garden stands firmly opposed to systemic and institutional racism. We passionately believe that Black lives matter. We recognize that people of color often feel unwelcome in public spaces, including gardens, forest preserves, and parks. The Chicago Botanic Garden acknowledges that we can do more to address this within our own organization. We recommit ourselves to live our mission and values as we strive to make the Chicago Botanic Garden a welcoming place for everyone.