Experiential Learning is the process of learning by doing
For nearly 60 years, hundreds of Arboretum interns and student workers have found inspiration and meaning while working in the gardens. Scores have gone on to become conservationists, ecologists, habitat restoration technicians, and natural resource managers.
Help us continue this amazing legacy by donating on GIVING Day!
We’re raising funds for our Student Experiential Learning Programs!
We employ UCSC students year-round to help with the care and maintenance of our collections. Here they learn many practical skills, including best-management practices for botanic gardens and a wide variety of horticulture techniques.
Our Native Plant Program (NPP) hosts the Interactive Ecology Internship, which provides research and conservation experience and educates students about the ecology of California native plants.
Additionally, Arboretum students build skills and knowledge in:
- Plant sciences
- Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK)
Your gift will help us to continue paying our horticulture and conservation student workers a competitive living wage, offering $18 to $22/hour.
Firsthand Accounts From Students
UCSC Alum Alexis LaFever-Jackson
“My time at the Arboretum truly changed my life. My only goal in college was to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. I decided I should explore some of the internship options around campus and found one at the Arboretum that seemed easy and laid-back. Exactly what an undergraduate wants. However, after the internship ended, I got a student worker position and because the community at the Arboretum—including staff, fellow students, and volunteers—was so welcoming, I stayed. These people showed me that there was a special type of bond among those who love plants. This unique relationship cultivated a curiosity that I wanted to feed. Fast-forward five years, and I have fallen deep into the world of botany. I have made lifelong friendships, had amazing mentors, and had the most amazing opportunities for adventures across the state of California. I owe it all to the seemingly insignificant decision of signing up for the easy internship at the Arboretum.”
Alexis is now a Lead Field Vegetation Ecologist at the California Native Plant Society https://www.cnps.org/
Photo: Former UCSC Arboretum intern, then student employee, Alexis LaFever-Jackson working in the field on the Big Sur coast, post-fire with bear grass and manzanita (A. tomentosa subsp. cushingiana).
UCSC Alum Breanna Rodgers
"The Arboretum was a formative space for me to learn land management and leadership skills, while also gracing me with the autonomy to learn from my actions. Growing in my personal and professional life in such a tranquil setting helped direct me toward a career in stewardship in the field of restoration ecology. I am so grateful to continue working outdoors. "
Breanna is now the Restoration Manager at the nonprofit Santa Lucia Conservancy, https://slconservancy.org/
Thank you for your support!
Visit our website: arboretum.ucsc.edu