The Horticulture internship program offers an outdoor classroom and laboratory for in-the-field training and experience in plant care and conservation. Areas of instruction include pruning, planting, habitat restoration, plant identification, soil management, irrigation maintenance and programming, and controlling pests and diseases.
Interns work side by side with experienced Horticulture workers to get practical skills and hands-on experience.
Interns will attend 5 classes as part of their program and complete a Horticulture project to apply their skills and understanding.
Application Requirements and Process
- All internships are unpaid and housing is the responsibility of the individual. International students are responsible for all legal and immigration.
- Must be 18 or older
- Must commit to volunteering full-days, between 16-24 hours per week. Your schedule will depend on your own availability and must be consistent for the duration of the internship.
- Must complete 288 hours of service over a 12-18 week period. The duration of the program will vary depending on the number of hours per week that you volunteer.
- They must be physically able to perform all duties assigned, which may include the ability to lift up to 50 pounds and pull/push 120 pounds, walk on uneven or wet surfaces, and work in various weather conditions.
- Weekend and holiday work may be required.
- Interns are required to work as a team and with minimal supervision.
- Participants must adjust to changes the daily routines.
- All interns should have an interest in plants and landscapes, an ability to get along with others, a professional/neat demeanor, a drive to learn, and respect for safety.
- Interns must take directions well and pay careful attention to procedures and established protocols.
- They should follow instructions and carry out their responsibilities in a safe and careful manner in order to avoid injury to themselves, to employees, to visitors,and to the plants and animals.
Internship Timetable/Application Deadlines
There are three intern sessions available each year:
- Fall: September - December. Application Deadline - 7/15
- Winter: January - April. Application Deadline - 11/15
- Summer*: May - September (start date is flexible between May 15–June 25)
- Application Deadline - 3/15
*Due to the considerable differences between the end dates for semester and quarter-system schools, allowance is given for individual start dates for the summer session.
Intern Application Process: Five Steps to becoming an Horticulture Intern!
- Submit an Intern Packet: Ensure you meet all the requirements of becoming an Intern, then download and complete the Oakland Zoo Intern Application.
- You will be asked to rank the programs that you are interested, however if you are not interested in one or more of the programs, please leave that choice blank. Please note that some of the programs have very limited capacity.
- Please attach a cover letter explaining why you are applying (limit 500 words), a résumé or copy of your transcript, and two letters of recommendation.
- Submit your entire application packet or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to: Oakland Zoo Volunteer Program, P.O. Box 5238, Oakland, CA 94605. Email submissions are preferred.
- Attend an Intern Interview: Those selected for internships are individually scheduled for phone interviews.
- Provide proof of vaccinations and program fees: Candidates selected for the program will receive an acceptance email.
- Once an applicant is accepted in the program, a $50.00 program fee is required as well as proof of a negative tuberculosis test (within the last year) as well as a tetanus shot (within the last ten years).
Intern Orientation: Intern orientations are held several weeks after the acceptance to the program, and are typically two to three hours long. During the orientation you will learn about policies and procedures, and be given time for a self-guided tour of the Zoo. At this time,we will also collect the non-refundable volunteer fees and issue uniforms,relevant guidelines and protocols, and other related information regarding your internship.
Enjoy your Internship! Once you have attended the Internship Orientation, you begin training and working with your assigned Horticulture staff member.
Please email us or call (510) 632-9525 x169.
Email is the preferred form of communication for the program coordinators.