Bonsai Apprenticeship 2023
Applications for the 2023 internship season have now closed.
Applicants should have an active interest in the art of bonsai and a basic understanding of plant care. While coursework is not required, candidates who demonstrate a commitment to the art of bonsai are desired. Background in horticulture, life sciences, or visual art is a plus.
Duties & Working Conditions
The bonsai apprenticeship will prepare individuals for bonsai collections management. As the applicant’s knowledge and abilities develop and skills are learned and demonstrated, supervised work on the bonsai will be offered. These responsibilities include seasonal bonsai care such as repotting, pruning, wiring, de-wiring, and other maintenance as needed throughout the year. The apprentice will assist with educational programs offered to the public by helping to teach classes and bonsai demonstrations.
As an integral part of the U.S. National Arboretum, the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum serves over 700,000 visitors each year. Courteous and helpful interaction with visitors is essential. Daily tasks related to museum operations include keeping garden and bonsai displays clean, opening and closing the museum, weeding, and watering. The applicant will frequently be requested to safely lift and move heavy but fragile trees around the museum. Much of the work is performed outdoors in all weather conditions, including hot, cold, and wet.
The selected apprentice will join other U.S. National Arboretum staff and interns on field trips to public gardens in the Washington, DC area. The apprentice will be assigned an independent study project related to bonsai design, developed in collaboration with the Museum Curator. The results of the study project will be presented to staff of the U.S. National Arboretum and the National Bonsai Foundation.
How to Apply
Applications will be accepted in early November through midnight (eastern time) on December 30, 2022. Please email a cover letter including your personal background in bonsai and your long-term career plan to USNA.Internships@usda.gov. Describe pertinent talents and life experiences that you bring to this position. Also include your resume, references, and transcripts (unofficial are acceptable).
Questions? Contact the internship office at 202-245-4529 or USNA.Internships@usda.gov.
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