Conservation Education at UGA

Researcher identifying mushrooms and fungi.


We value the contributions of our conservation interns, and we provide them with opportunities to build their professional resumes with specialized skills and real-world experiences in conservation horticulture, restoration ecology and habitat management. We are looking for people who are passionate about conservation and who are willing to learn our techniques, procedures and philosophies. We have different levels of support for our internships, from hourly pay to travel compensation to intern-volunteers who support themselves while working with us.

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Opportunities

All of the Garden’s Science & Conservation activities have an educational component, whether it is hands-on training for undergraduate students, or garden staff presentations in a classroom setting.

Our extensive collections of endangered species and research plots in the Mimsie Lanier Center for Native Plant Studies are exceptional resources for formal and informal instruction. Undergraduate students at the University of Georgia have the opportunity to participate in habitat restoration projects at the Garden by enrolling in the service-learning course “Conserving Native Plants” (Horticulture 3333S) offered every spring semester.

Numerous opportunities for graduate research exist at the State Botanical Garden. Our programs in rare plant conservation, habitat restoration, and support for native pollinators all lend themselves to formal research studies. The Garden provides funding for a graduate student assistantship, often supplemented by the UGA Department of Horticulture. Students receive MS or PhD degrees through the Department of Horticulture, while working on projects that support the Garden’s science and conservation programs. Recent research topics have included: reproductive biology of endangered species, comparisons of insect communities found on native plants vs. cultivars of native species (“nativars”), and the effect of different site preparation techniques on the field establishment of milkweed plants. Students working in other departments and colleges such as Ecology, the College of Environment and Design, Forestry and Natural Resources, Education, and Plant Biology are also encouraged to use the collections and natural areas of the State Botanical Garden as a resource for their research.

Graduate students often work alongside our Science and Conservation staff, building their professional skills and experiencing the behind the scenes operation of a university botanical garden that is nationally and internationally recognized for its conservation programs. They also have the opportunity to participate in the programs of the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance, enabling them to work side-by-side with conservation professionals in state and federal agencies, non-governmental environmental organizations, and other academic institutions in the region. Participating in our Science and Conservation Program is a wonderful springboard for careers in conservation as well as applied research in a public garden setting. For more information contact Dr. Jim Affolter, the Director of Science and Conservation at the State Botanical Garden and a Professor in the UGA Department of Horticulture (