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Info for Mentors




We are currently accepting 2021 intern requests!



Be sure to have the following before you begin your intern request:
Internship duration (5 months is standard)
Preferred start dates 
Housing options and costs
Position description
Funding availability


About the CLM Internship Program

The Conservation and Land Management (CLM) Internship Program represents the Chicago Botanic Garden’s broadest effort to recruit, train, & engage recent college graduates in applied conservation, ecology, restoration, & natural resources management. The CLM Program has provided participating partners with young, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, early-career scientists who are passionate and knowledgeable about botany and wildlife and interested in public land management, restoration and stewardship. Internships involve work in botany or wildlife-related fields, or combinations that may include monitoring or assessing threatened & endangered and/or invasive species and habitats. Interns have worked in biology-related fields i.e., ecology, fisheries, livestock utilization, and native plant materials. A few have completed internships in archaeology, planning and recreation.GIS data have been an important component of numerous projects. 

The CLM Program

- Assists in building bridges between academic and applied science
- Fosters partnerships between non-profit and government agencies
- Fulfills high-priority national goals to reach broader audiences & provide essential job experiences making college graduates / early career scientists more competitive on the job market

Benefits to Partnering Agencies

- Help accomplishing conservation goals that are difficult to meet with current staffing levels
- Gain a valuable resource: young, knowledgeable, enthusiastic interns passionate about conservation and land management
- Meet youth training goals


Partner Roles

The CLM Program involves the recruitment, training, and placement of interns to selected locations throughout the United States for a five-month period. Recruitment involves advertising the CLM to more than 1,200 colleges in the United States, numerous websites and listserves. All suitable applicants are subject to an intensive selection and interview process. Most successful applicants participate in a one-week Training Workshop that is held at the at the end of June annually. CLM Staff provide career and graduate school advice to interns during the Training Workshop and in one-on-one conversations with interns. CLM Staff also provide mentorship advice and guidelines to mentors to ensure that expectations for both interns are mentors are clear and the internship experience is positive for everyone.

Responsibilities of the CLM Program Staff

The CLM Program staff apply for partnership opportuntities (task/cooperative/assistance agreements) and provide paperwork needed to modify established agreements between the partner organization and the Chicago Botanic Garden. CLM staff also coordinate all administrative duties associated with employment (interns are employees of the Chicago Botanic Garden) and plan and execute the annual CLM Training Workshop (Interns participate in a one-week training workshop covering a wide range of topics, including overviews of the respective agencies, participation expectations, safety issues, and botany/wildlife refresher topics. For interns who are unable to attend the Workshop, CLM staff help interns identify alternative professional development opportunities).

Mentor Responsibilities

Mentors are accomplished conservation professionals who can offer advice and guidance to CLM interns. Mentors are employed by partnering agencies (commonly federal agencies including BLM, FS, FWS, USGS, & NPS) and typically are federal biologists or land-management/natural resource specialists. Mentors provide daily guidance to interns, coordinate on-site training (defensive driving, computer use as well as other project-specific trainings such as GIS, vegetation inventory, etc.), engage interns in a variety of conservation/restoration/land management projects and facilitate networking opportunities for the interns to expand their professional connections. Mentors commonly provide interns with valuable opportunities and advice as they navigate their future career goals. 

A successful mentor will have patience and a willingness to share experiences and knowledge. Interns find the most success when mentors have clear project goals and expectations and appreciate guidance from mentors to improve skills and develop professional relationships. 


Interested in partnering with the CLM Program?

If you are interested in partnering with the CLM Program, please contact Krissa Skogen, Manager of the CLM Program at 847-835-6919 or
Krissa can provide you with quotes for internships of varying durations and can discuss the process for establishing assistance/cooperative agreements between your agency, field office or organization and the Chicago Botanic Garden.


Successful Internship Outcomes

97% of interns gain hands-on experience & applied education in real-world setting
91% of interns learned what it’s like to work as a federal biologist
89% of interns explored their career goals
​72% of interns made connections in conservation and restoration fields


Feedback from our Mentors!

Current and former program mentors have cited the following benefits of the Program:

  • Projects can be accomplished that never would have been started otherwise - 87% of interns made meaningful contributions to accomplishing conservation goals!
  • Interns have the most up-to-date knowledge and technological skills in their field of expertise to assist with important conservation and land management projects
  • Interns are professional, energetic, and enthusiastic about their internship opportunities
  • 94% of mentors would partner with CLM in the future - And most do!

Mentor Testimonials

"It seems as though as each year goes by, the workload increases and the workforce stays static or decreases. [My intern] has assumed the project responsibilities for preparing a biological assessment for a resource management plan encompassing nearly 4 million acres of public land. Without her help this assignment would not have even started."

"During his time here, my intern proved to be an extremely valuable member of our team.  He is a thoughtful communicator and demonstrates intelligence beyond his years.  My intern has an unquenched curiosity and is always seeking to further educate himself."

"My intern was an asset to the team, navigating to remote locations, identifying plants, and collecting, entering and organizing data."

"My intern  was essentially my assistant this entire season. I would frequently go to him for advice about upcoming collections and field knowledge. I would have been under considerably more stress this season without him."

"This summer our office lost our botanist and it was absolutely a dream to have our intern fill in some of that role. She completed out field botany clearances for us and really helped us get a lot of projects done on the ground. She was quiet literally a godsend."


Requesting a CLM Intern

To request an intern for the upcoming field season, mentors will create an account on the CLM website and once logged in, submit an Intern Request Form that specifies the number of interns needed to assist with projects, the start date/timeframe, internship duration, funding source, qualifications needed for the position(s), internship responsibilities, and an internship description (job description that is used in the screening process and is provided to applicants).

Most internship requests are submitted November - January proceeding the field season for which the interns are needed.


The Intern Selection Proccess

Applicants are recruited October through January each year, until all positions are filled. Successful applicants are selected based on skills, academic qualifications, experience, professional interests and other selection requirements as detailed on the assistance/cooperative agreement (for example agreements under the Public Land Corps Act Authority require that interns be 16-30 years of age to qualify).

CLM staff evaluate all applicants (typically 500-700 applications are submitted annually), conduct interviews with the strongest applicants and then identify at least 3 applicants for each intern request. The application files (application form, cover letter, resume, three letters of recommendation and official educational transcripts) for these 3 applicants are then forwarded to the mentor, who reviews them and provides CLM Staff with their feedback on each position. The applicant may reach out to the mentor to learn more about the internship, location, etc. Please be prepared to discuss the following with them, should they have questions. Note that applicants are provided with the position description and some of the information that you've provided in your intern request - their questions will likely be follow up on those details.

  • Details of the position
  • The project(s) that the hired intern would to work on during the internship
  • What an average day will be like - fieldwork, office work - how time might be spent over the internship
  • Expectations for the intern in terms of project goals, work schedule, etc.
  • Affordable housing options in the area
  • What can be expected about the local area and community
  • Whether the hired applicant will need a car in their personal time (i.e. is there reliable public transportation, etc. for getting groceries, running errands, etc.)

CLM Staff then determines which applicant(s) are the best fit for the opportunity (age of the applicant, educational background, whether they belong to an underrepresented group in the STEM fields, etc.) and extends an offer to the top applicant. CLM Internship offers always are made by CLM Staff, not by the mentor. This is strictly enforced as interns are CLM/CBG employees.

Once the applicant has accepted the position, CLM staff coordinate details including employment paperwork for the intern to become an employee of the Chicago Botanic Garden. 


Your intern has been hired - What are the next steps for mentors?

1. Coordinate an official start date with the intern & notify CLM Staff of the date.

2. Initiate paperwork for the mandatory security clearance (federal agencies). This is extremely important!
Because this can be a lengthy process, it's best to have the intern submit all necessary paperwork as soon as possible to ensure that their paperwork is complete before they arrive.

3. Assist the intern in finding affordable housing in the area.

4. Review the CLM Guidelines to learn the about the protocols and processes interns must abide by during their internship.

**Note: Because CLM interns are employees of the Chicago Botanic Garden, CLM staff collect and process all necessary employment paperwork (tax forms, emergency contacts, etc.) from interns.**


Mentor a Master's Student!

Mentorship opportunities as part of the collaborative Master's Program in Plant Biology and Conservation at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Northwestern University

Land managers who have a specific botanical research need and have an interest in assisting a Master's student in their research design, ideas and associated field logistics should consider this program. Land managers with projects that may benefit from more intensive data collection and analysis that is typically available for projects are encouraged to submit research project ideas. Because the Graduate Program is Plant Biology and Conservation, research projects should be plant-based or have a very strong plant or habitat component.