Learning Garden Interns Apply Classroom Skills in the Open Air

September 30, 2021

Plant Science major Katie Krotts and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems major Tory Raether were our Learning Garden interns for summer 2021. 

The internship is an opportunity for students to get a small-scale taste of working in a public garden, while also introducing them to possible career paths and allowing them to apply classroom skills to real-world environments. “One thing that really helped me this summer was learning the names of the plants; both the common names and the scientific names,” Krotts explained. “I learned them in class, but seeing them all the time really got the names to stick, and seeing the different stages of plant growth and what insects like what plants and when.” 

Raether found working with the weeds in the garden to be the most interesting. “I started a research project on noxious weeds that are illegal to have in Minnesota gardens and that has been really interesting,” she said, “especially since we deal with a lot of them in the garden. It has been really helpful to have that first-person experience, experimenting on how to eradicate them, and identifying them from the other plants in the garden.” 

Interns also get the chance to visit other gardens, vineyards, and orchards in the area. “I loved going to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum!” Raether said. “It was my first time, and seeing how it is managed for how large the area is was really interesting.” Krotts agreed: “It was really cool to see all the beautiful flowers and the different landscape arrangements they had.”

For next year’s interns, both Raether and Krotts agreed - The internship can feel pretty daunting at first, but the support is there, along with ample learning moments. “Remember to focus on one or two projects at a time and take breaks,” Raether said. And the best tools for the job? “A study pair of gloves,” Krotts added, “and popsicles for those hot days.” 

If you are interested in an internship working in the Learning Garden, email [email protected].