The Friends of Jerusalem Botanical Gardens invest in the future by supporting education initiatives at the JBG, including internship/scholarship opportunities for horticulturalists from around the world.
The Friends' programme is important because our interns benefit by gaining horticultural experience, contacts and management skills and have the opportunity to enjoy the different sights, sounds and tastes of Israel. Over 125 scholarships have been awarded so far to qualified horticulturists from all over the world. Additionally there are sometimes opportunities for experienced gardeners to spend extended periods at the JBG (see Other, Non-Intern Opportunities, below).
The Friends of JBG Internship Scheme
Interns at the JBG are fully integrated into the professional team of botanists and horticulturalists. They are regarded as members of staff; expected to work independently, taking on substantial responsibility while still being guided and taught. The level of responsibility offered to our interns means they are unlikely to be suitable for applicants who have less than two years' experience, However, if you have less experience than this and can prove your suitability, we'd like to hear from you.
Interns are integrated into our small and dedicated team in two roles:
1. Nursery – Propagation track, 6 to 12 months
Endangered plants project
Overseeing the lifecycle of mainly annual species from seed to fruit and even through to distribution;
- Work includes curation, propagation, re-potting and planting in designated rare-plants beds as well as seed collection. Seeds are collected in the Gardens and on collection outings then logged and stored at the Gardens.
- Each year, the propagated plant material is used within the JBG as well as distributed to other botanical gardens (in Israel and beyond), to plant-shelter gardens and in some cases returned to nature. As a part of this process the new intern will see the fruits of their predecessor's work and get a sense of the significance of their own role in the conservation cycle.
Interns work directly under the nursery manager and will take part in general plant maintenance. This includes managing a group of the Gardens’ nursery volunteers. In this way interns are able to observe and participate in the reality of day-to-day management of a nursery.
Required skills: Meticulous attention to detail, responsible with high work ethic, team player with ability to work in a diverse team as well as independently, "Green Fingers".
2. Curatorship track, 6 months, shorter commitments can occasionally be arranged
Occasionally this scholarship/internship is available for shorter periods, since even in a short time interns can make a significant contribution. However a commitment of 6 months is preferred.
Mapping and labelling
The timeframe enables interns to complete a well-defined project in this field and there is relative flexibility in selecting the project(s) according to the needs of the Gardens and the intern's interests and abilities.
- Possible projects include (but are not limited to); mapping and labeling newly-planted beds, refreshing existing signs and labels around the Gardens, taking on a project of plant identification and phenology.
- All projects include field work and work with the Gardens’ digital database.
Interns work directly with the Gardens curatorship coordinator and in contact with the head scientist but unlike in the gardening and propagation departments, work in the Curation Department offers relative flexibility in terms of hours and the interns are given the chance to manage their own time. However, with freedom comes responsibility and so high abilities and a strong work ethic are especially important.
Required skills: Good knowledge of plants, attention to detail, responsible attitude, strong work ethics, good handwriting, computer skills, mapping experience – preferably with ArcMap. Botanical illustration skills an advantage.
Other components of the internship (applicable to both tracks):
* Interns will be invited to learn from the staff at the JBG and share their own experience and interests in a more structured setting through monthly talks and tours during their stay.
* Opportunities to join research trips and visits to other gardens and growers in Israel.
* On a pilot basis, interns may be offered the option to get involved in the Garden’s educational activities to supplement the work on their areas.
* 2.5 hours of study time a week to work on a research project and/ or to fulfil commitments to the sponsors of the internship.
The internship is a two-way commitment between the intern and the Gardens. While the hope and intention is that both sides are completely satisfied, potential interns must be aware that tasks are fixed according to the Gardens’ needs. These are affected by many factors and may require the internship plan to change, as may the intern's demonstrated expertise and abilities.
Interns are expected to commit to the following:
1. Interns are given work which is essential to the Garden and they are expected to carry the work out demonstrating an appropriate sense of responsibility and commitment.
2. Commitments to the sponsors: Interns are expected to provide:
a. Once a fortnight a short (approx. 1x A4 page) botanical blog accompanied by at least 2 photos to be used by the UK Friends of JBG in its publications (which can be printed, online or social media);
b. Every 3 months a longer report (approx. 2 A4 pages) on their internship, including their current work, what they learned, and any other activities including social aspects.
c. At the end of the internship and before leaving Israel, a final report, including photos, summarizing the full internship period which can be published by the UK Friends of JBG and a separate report for internal use detailing positive/negative aspects of the internship, with suggestions for any future improvements;
d. An undertaking to give at least 2 illustrated talks to external audiences within the first 6 months of their return to raise awareness of the internship scheme and the work of the JBG
3. Primarily the objective of the internship is to allow less-experienced horticulturalists to gain hands-on experience in a garden operating in a different set of circumstances – from the climate to the culture. Interns are expected to keep an open mind to learn and experience all that they can from the work and from life in Jerusalem. We believe that such an internship can prove a significant addition to a CV, enriching it with experience in a botanical garden operating in conditions radically different in every way to those they may have encountered previously.
How to apply
Applications should be submitted by 31 May (if past this date, email to find out whether the internship has been awarded). Interviews are usually held in June, usually via Skype or VOIP. The scholarships/internships usually begin in September/October each year (depending on the timing of the Jewish High Holydays).
The Friends' Operations Manager will, whenever possible, acknowledge applications within 48 hours. Please note that due to staffing restrictions, we can only correspond with those applicants who are called for interview.
Other, non-intern opportunities
There are opportunities too for horticulturists who may wish to visit the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens as part of their ongoing professional development. Although it is unlikely we could offer full financial subsidy, we are interested in hearing from experienced gardeners who can fully or part-fund their ongoing career development placement in Jerusalem. Please contact us.
We regret that we cannot offer short-term placements at the Gardens. We believe the best experience (for both the interns and the Gardens' staff) is a placement of 6 months.