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2018 AZH Internship Program Award winner Butterfly Pavilion, Westminster, CO

August 16, 2018 12:37 PM | Anonymous


AZH promotes the contributions made by horticulture to the success of zoos and the establishment of effective habitat exhibits. To support this mission, AZH established the "AZH Internship Program" to assist zoos in accomplishing projects that enhance the zoo experience and bring attention to the importance of horticulture.   The $1500 stipend is to advance special horticulture related projects and introduce zoo horticulture to a new generation. The funds are not intended to be used for routine garden or grounds maintenance.  More information about the program is found here - https://azh.org/azh-internship-program/

The 2018 AZH Internship Program Award was awarded to Amy Yarger at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, CO.  This is the second award for Amy and the Butterfly Pavilion from this program.  Details on the program are below.

Plant Collections Internship 2018


The purpose of the Plant Collections 2018 internship is to provide an undergraduate horticulture or museum studies student with a thorough training and hands-on practice in the field of planning, designing, and evaluating plant collections in a zoological setting. The Plant Collections intern will work closely with Butterfly Pavilion’s horticulture director to formalize and present the botanical collections plan for Butterfly Pavilion’s new facility, the Center for Invertebrate Research and Conservation (CIRC), which opens in 2021.

Goal of Project

The public plant collections at CIRC will offer immersive and engaging natural experiences for our guests and the community at large, while providing ample food and shelter for our captive invertebrates, as well as native invertebrate and vertebrate wildlife. The collections will focus on the flora of tropical, desert and Rocky Mountain environments. The plant collections plan will be updated in 2018 in order to prepare for the design of the new plantings, the acquisition of new species, the transplanting of existing specimens and best management practices. This plan will guide us in assessing risk, identifying sources for plants and evaluating the performance of plants in exhibits and the landscape.

Objectives for 2018 Plant Collections Internship

Butterfly Pavilion horticulture internships currently offer undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students in the plant sciences a semester’s opportunity to gain experience in public garden management, habitat restoration and greenhouse management. This new internship would be a 15-week program (August – December) with involvement in the planning process from the design phase to the acquisition phase.

  • The student will collect and analyze data about performance of the current collections and provide recommendations for transferring current holdings to the new facility.
  • The student will compile information for the propagation or acquisition of new plant specimens for the entire CIRC facility.
  • The student will collaborate with the horticulture director on creating planting layouts for the tropical, desert, Rocky Mountain biome and outdoor gardens and create management plans for each.
  • The intern will complete and present an independent project in the subject of plant collections during that time.


Action Steps Timeline Staff
Work with planning team on concept and exhibit  interpretation January 1 – September 30 2018 Horticulture Director, Architects
Intern onboarding August 20 – September 1, 2018 Volunteer Manager
Evaluation of current collections: tropical and pollinator gardens August 20 – October 15, 2018 Plant Collections Intern w/ training and support from Horticulture Director
Concept and design of new exhibits and gardens: desert and Rocky Mountain August 20 – October 15, 2018 Plant Collections Intern w/ training and support from Horticulture Director
Independent project proposal submitted September 1. 2018 Plant Collections Intern w/ training and support from Horticulture Director
Compile best practices for transplantation, propagation, acquisition and management October 1 – December 1, 2018 Plant Collections Intern w/ training and support from Horticulture Director
Intern midterm evaluation October 15, 2018 Horticulture Director
Independent project presented to staff and volunteers December 10, 2018 Plant Collections Intern
Final evaluation December 15, 2018 Plant Collections Intern, Horticulture Director
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