Internship Opportunities

Central Gardens of North Iowa, Inc. is offering a summer internship in horticulture in 2018.  This would be a wonderful opportunity for someone eager to learn about the operations of a public gardens non-profit organization.  For more information please contact Executive Director, Jody Hamilton.

Job Description: Summer Intern Horticulturalist (Download description)

Central Gardens of North Iowa, Inc.

800 Second Avenue North

Clear Lake, Iowa 50428



Internship objectives: Central Gardens of North Iowa’s summer internship program is intended to support the mission of Central Gardens by: 

(1) Providing a challenging, beneficial and practical professional career growth experience in public horticulture;

(2) Encouraging creative problem solving and other leadership skills in public garden management issues;

(3) Immersing the intern in educational, events and programming opportunities that support the strategic plan of a public non-profit horticultural organization.

Learning Supports: The intern will have weekly access to expertise of board members as well as the executive director of the Gardens. One board member is a licensed and award-wining registered landscape architect, a second has been with the gardens from its inception, is a certified master gardener, and has functioned as the Gardens plant manager for 15 years. A third is a successful grant writer and has extended expertise in resource procurement and leadership of a non-profit organization. A fourth is the treasurer of the Gardens and highly skilled in budget development. All fifteen board members have areas of expertise to which the intern would have access. The executive director will provide weekly assistance in the day-to-day management of CGNI and assist in scheduling the intern’s duties. In addition, a number of volunteers who coordinate educational programs will provide assistance to the intern as s/he develops and delivers original educational opportunities.

Primary Responsibilities: 

1. Maintain the seventeen gardens within CGNI, working closely with volunteer garden adopters and learning about how gardens are displayed, pest control, and aesthetic context, and doing general grounds work.

2. Actively participate in three garden refurbishments as identified in the CGNI strategic pan and under the guidance of the chair of the design committee and plants manager.

3. Identify needs and propose updates and improvements to the Gardens to the board of directors.

4. Actively participate in educational opportunities for both adults and children through the CGNI lecture series, Fresh on Friday’s children’s programming events, and providing programs to service clubs in the north Iowa area.

5. Learn the various aspects of resource procurement for the public gardens, and participate in various fund-raising events.

6. Attend monthly meetings of the design, finance, events and programming, and communication committees as well as the monthly meetings of the board of directors.

7. Write one of the Garden’s monthly newsletters.

8. Write and develop a walking tour of the Gardens that can be downloaded onto visitors smart phones, and develop QR codes for identification of plants, shrubs, trees and flowers in the Gardens.

9. Host tours of the Gardens by visiting groups and be available to answer questions of individual visitors as the need arises.

10. Make connections with other related groups in north Iowa (e.g. Lime Creek Nature Center, North Iowa Landfill re-cycling, Trees Forever, local gardening clubs) to explore opportunities for collaboration.

11. Perform other duties as determined to be relevant to the position.

Applicant Qualifications: Applicants must demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in public horticulture. Desired qualifications for candidates include gardening and/or plant maintenance experience and enrollment in or completion of an A.A., B.S., or M.S. degree program in the Life Sciences area (Biology, Botany, Environmental Science, Forestry, Horticulture, or Life Science Ecology).

Terms of Employment: The internship position is for twelve, 40-hour weeks at a rate of $10/hour, beginning in mid-May and extending through mid-August. The successful applicant must supply his/her own transportation and housing. (Assistance will be provided in locating suitable housing). The successful candidate must be willing to work on weekends, do some lifting of items of up to 50 pounds, and be willing to learn to drive a small tractor and operate other small machinery and tools. The intern reports directly to the executive director.

Interested candidates should forward electronically an application form by no later than February 15, 2018. The form asks that the candidate submit contact information; work, volunteer, and education history; names and contact information of three references that can speak with deep knowledge of the applicant’s skills, work ethic, and character; and an official transcript. Send completed application materials to: 

Jody Hamilton, executive director 

Central Gardens of North Iowa, Inc. 


Interviews will be conducted in late February and early March with a decision made by March 30, 2018. Central Gardens of North Iowa, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate with regard to sex, race, color, age, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship, pregnancy or veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law.