Internship cancelled Indefinitely

Regretfully as of August 2015 the Internship has been cancelled due to budgetary and staffing restrictions.

Former interns and students with experience are encouraged to contact Ernesto for experienced volunteer and returning internships. As soon as the internship will be offered again, information will be re-posted. Most likely, donations to help fund the Conservatory will help restart this popular hands on resource.


Although no experience is required, a willingness to handle plants and work around, potting media, soil and "dirt" is necessary as is a willingness to work in return for the practical experience you'll get here. Think mutualistic symbiosis and physical activity coupled with hands-on learning. Your interest in plants must be coupled with the guarantee that you will be a working/contributing member of the conservatory team.

The Conservatory internship is designed to help students gain hands-on experience in learning how to grow, propagate and understand plants of all types by learning to understand the internal controls and external factors that influence their growth and growth rates.

Conservatory interns, spring 2008

What interns learn at the Conservatory

  • How hormones control plant growth and how pruning and transplanting, as well as external applications of hormones can be used to manage/direct growth
  • How to properly prune plants and use several types of pruning tools
  • Methods and techniques for various forms of sexual and asexual propagation and how to use hormones to encourage this.
  • How greenhouses, as well as other large or small people-made environments, and natural ones affect plant growth
  • How to transplant various types of plants and minimize “shock”
  • How plants grow in containers and in the ground and how they compare
  • How greenhouse media and field soils affect plant growth and can be modified
  • How to recognize several of the common plant insect pests common to Northern California as well as the biology of pest insects and beneficials
  • The adaptations of and how to cultivate specialized plant groups, such as insectivores, succulents, and orchids
  • How plants are adapted for their natural environments
  • How to use plant identification tools

How to apply for an internship

To be reposted when possible

Time required

The internship generally involves two three-hour sessions per week (one unit) and an optional independent plant-related literature research or plant growth project for those wanting 2 or more units. A report on the project or research is due finals week (5 page minimum for project report, 8 page minimum for library research paper). The report should be in scientific format. In order to prepare for an independent project, please discuss, with Ernesto, plant related topics that you are interested in or would like to investigate in the form of experimental or library/literature research to come up with a project. Planning for experimental projects needs to happen before the quarter starts in order to be able to harvest data before the quarter of your internship is over. Often students wanting to do a project come back for a second quarter to conduct an experiment.

A few more details

-Teaching session 2-3 hrs TBA
-Greenhouse work experience 3-4 hours TBA
-PLB 92 (you have 79 or less units) or PLB 192 (80 or more units)
-1 unit (2 unit Option requires an independent project, see above)
-Instructors: Ernesto Sandoval and guest lectureres
-Contact: Ernesto Sandoval,
-Location: Botanical Conservatory (middle greenhouse north of Storer Hall see Maps page link)