Internship Program at Morris Arboretum
The Plant Protection Intern works independently, with supervision from the Arboretum's botanical and horticultural staff, to monitor plant pest and disease problems affecting the living collection. The intern also coordinates the Morris Arboretum Plant Clinic, which provides a forum for the public to ask pest, disease, identification, and other general plant questions. This position is supported by the John J. Willaman & Martha Haas Valentine Internship Endowment.
2019-20 The John J. Willaman & Martha Haas Valentine Endowed Plant Protection Intern
Duties and Responsibilities
- Monitor the living collection to detect and track pest and disease problems, regularly communicate findings with relevant arboretum staff, and coordinate responses, as appropriate
- Research information on plant pests and diseases; be able to communicate that information to staff and the general public
- Coordinate the daily operation of the Plant Clinic
- Complete an independent study project under the direction of your supervisor
- Work at two weekend Arboretum events - Fall Festival and Plant Sale
- Enroll in and complete two academic courses at Penn: LARP755 (Fall) and LARP756 (Spring)
- Participate in intern sessions as scheduled (typically weekly outside of academic year)
- Learn to follow proper safety practices
- Perform additional duties as requested
- Undergraduate degree in Biology (or similar) with course work in Plant Pathology and Entomology; plant identification skills preferred
- Good communication and interpersonal skills; an ability to relate to the public
- Ability to work well with peers
- Keen powers of observation and an active curiosity
- Self-motivation and reliability is expected
- Ability to work independently with minimal supervision
The Plant Protection Intern is directly supervised by the Botany Department of the Morris Arboretum. The Botany Department is an academic unit of the Arboretum, thus a healthy intellectual curiosity, an engagement with the primary literature, and the ability to write scientific papers are all desirable characteristics/skills of the intern in this position.
This intern spends time each day out-of-doors or in the greenhouses. Necessary facilities are provided for researching, diagnosing, and culturing pest and disease organisms, as required. The coordination of Plant Clinic requires daily coordination with the Widener front desk staff with whom queries and specimens are left by the public and extensive interaction with the public, by email, in person, or by telephone. Resolving Plant Clinic queries may include drawing on the expertise of other arboretum staff members, or conducting literature research independently.
Past Project Topics
- The Potential of Ericoid Mycorrhizae as a Biological Control for Phytophthora cinnamomi
- Hemlock Trees, Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and Control Strategies
- Updating the Plant Clinic Web Site
- Identifying, Describing, and Controlling Mealybugs at the Morris Arboretum
Click here to read the 2011-2012 Plant Protection Intern Report.
Click here to read the 2010-2011 Plant Protection Intern Report.