You are here

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens-Curation & Horticulture Internship-Sun, 11/20/2022 - 12:43pm

Curation & Horticulture Internship


Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
522 S. Frontage Rd., East Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Vail , CO 81657
United States
Colorado US

Employment Type

Job Categories

Job Details

Job Description 

Curation & Horticulture Internship at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Summer 2023

Supervisor: Nick Courtens, Curator of Plant Collections

Primary Gardens/Departments/Work Areas: Plant Records office and Horticulture department, with a focus on the documentation of the rock and alpine gardens collections. Working with the Horticulture department on various garden projects throughout the summer.

Project Summary and Goals: Working with the Curator of Plant Collections, this intern will assist in curation of the diverse living plant collections at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens though databasing, mapping, labeling and documenting bloom times with digital photography and record updates. The intern will be assigned a garden as the main project area but will work within several other gardens throughout the duration of the internship, being exposed to the different elements that make up the living collections as well as many of the different team members in Horticulture.

This year’s main project will be focused on implementing the new mapping system using Arc-GIS online through digital maps, applications, plant records and photographic record keeping. The intern will use BG-Base software to inventory, document and label new and past collections throughout the entire gardens. Responsibilities will also include working with horticulture staff on garden maintenance such as planting, volunteer projects, irrigation, seed collection in-site & ex-situ for the Alpine Plant Conservation Strategy.

Interns will take part in field trips, lectures and group projects. We at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens feel strongly that there is no substitute for hands-on learning so in addition to the project and participating in the learning opportunities, interns are expected to work alongside their mentors and other horticulturists in the Gardens. This will include participating in the daily activities associated with public garden maintenance – weeding, watering, planting, accessioning, preparing for special events, etc. The goal of the internship is to provide an overview of public horticulture as well as useful experience in a specific area which can help students define their interests in horticulture. As a member of Betty Ford’s staff, interns will participate in employee meetings and other day-to-day operations and will be subject to all Betty Ford Alpine Gardens employment policies.

Duties & Responsibilities 

Working alongside horticulture staff and plant records staff, accurately inventory and map plants throughout entire gardens
Update records in BG-BASE to reflect current collections
Install accession and display labels in various gardens as needed
Working with horticulture staff on various garden projects such as maintenance and design
Presentation to staff and blog post detailing the project and what was learned at the end of the season
BG-BASE and Arc-GIS computer systems for databasing and mapping
Plant identification using multiple resources, including dichotomous keys, for a diverse collection of plant species, both common and uncommon in cultivation.
Research of nomenclature using botanic publications and resources
Digital photography of living plant collections
Working independently and in a team setting
Critical thinking skills
Horticulture maintenance skills including but not limited to all areas of the gardens
Volunteer and school group leadership roles

Education and Experience 

Plant identification across a wide range of plant types and garden styles
Basic surveying skills and techniques for mapping plants and hardscape areas
An understanding of the importance of curation in a public garden
Hands-on use of BG-BASE, Arc-GIS online and website design
Horticulture hands-on experience including planting, pruning, weeding, irrigation repair and general garden maintenance

Application Instructions 

To apply for the Curation & Horticulture Internship, please email a resume, cover letter, and contact for three references to our Curator of Plant Collections, Nick Courtens, at

Full Name 
Nick Courtens