Info for Mentors

How to Request an Intern

About Mentoring

Selecting an Intern

Your intern has been hired - What are the next steps?

 

We will begin accepting 2015 intern requests in October 2014!

Be sure to have the following before you begin the application:
- Internship duration (5 months is standard; longer internships are fine too)
- Preferred start dates 
- Housing options and costs
- Travel funding, if providing
- Position description
- Experience and qualifications necessary
- Funding availability

 

About Mentoring

About the CLM Internship Program

The Conservation and Land Management (CLM) Internship Program has provided participating agencies with young, knowledgeable, enthusiastic graduates who are passionate and knowledgeable about botany and wildlife and interested in public land management and stewardship.

The overall CLM Program goal is twofold:

  • To provide mentoring, training and hands-on experience to the next generation of stewardship professionals
  • To provide a capable, enthusiastic assistance for land management projects

The CLM Program involves the recruitment, training, and placement of interns to selected locations throughout the United States for a five- or ten-month period. Recruitment involves advertising the CLM to more than 1,000 colleges in the United States, numerous websites and listserves. All suitable applicants are subject to an intensive selection and interview process. Most successful applicants participate in a one-week Training Workshop that is held at the at the end of June annually.

Most internships involve work in botany or wildlife-related fields, or combinations that may include monitoring or assessing threatened and endangered species and habitats. Interns have worked in biology-related fields i.e., ecology, fisheries, livestock utilization, and native plant materials. A few have completed internships in archaeology, planning and recreation. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data have been an important component of numerous projects.

 

Interested in working with the CLM Program to hire knowledgeable and experienced interns?

If you are interested in working with the CLM Program, please contact Krissa Skogen, Manager of the CLM Program at 847-835-6919 or kskogen@chicagobotanic.org.

Krissa can provide you with quotes for internships of varying durations and can discuss the process for establishing contracts or assistance agreements between your agency, field office or organization and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

The CLM Program and the Chicago Botanic Garden are limiting the number of interns a mentor can request to 4. If you feel you have extenuating circumstances, please contact Krissa directly.

 

Why Mentor?

Current and former program mentors have cited the following benefits of the Program:

  • Projects can be accomplished that never would have been started otherwise
  • Interns have the most up-to-date knowledge and technology skills in their field of expertise to assist with important conservation and land management projects
  • Interns are professional, energetic, and enthusiastic about their internship opportunities

 

Mentor Responsibilities

Mentors are accomplished conservation professionals who can offer advice and guidance to conservation interns. A successful mentor will have patience and a willingness to share experiences and knowledge. Interns find the most success when mentors have a clear project with specific goals and appreciate guidance from mentors to improve skills and develop professional relationships.

 

Successful Intern Outcomes

  • Use their education in conservation science and land management in an applied, hands-on setting
  • Obtain experience and knowledge about work conducted at federal agencies
  • Learn about conservation and land management 
  • Improve skills and gain experience
  • Network with conservation professionals

 

Requesting a CLM Intern

The CLM Internship Program has moved to an entirely web-based system!

Mentors create an account on the CLM Website and once logged in, submit an Intern Request Form that specifies the number of interns they would like to hire, the start date/timeframe, internship duration, funding source, qualifications needed for the position(s), internship responsibilities, and an internship description (job description that is used in the screening process and is provided to applicants to prepare for their interview with you).

Most internship requests are submitted in December - January proceeding the field season for which the interns are needed.

The CLM Program and the Chicago Botanic Garden are limiting the number of interns a mentor can request to 4. If you feel you have extenuating circumstances, please contact Krissa directly.

 

Selecting an Intern

The Process of Selecting an Intern

Applicants are recruited November through April each year, until all positions are filled. Successful applicants are selected based on skills, academic qualifications, experience, and professional interest.

CLM staff conduct an initial, screening interview and then identify at least 3 applicants that fit the requirements for a specific position.

The application files (application form, cover letter, resume, three letters of recommendation and official educational transcripts) for these 3 applicants are then forwarded to the mentor, who reviews them and then schedules and conducts a second phone interview with each of the 3 applicants.

Once all three phone interviews have been conducted, the mentor determines which applicant will best meet their needs and offers the position to that applicant.

In the event that none of the 3 applicants seem to be a good fit, additional files are sent to the mentor and the process continues until the position is filled.

Once the applicant has accepted the position, CLM staff send all necessary paperwork for the intern to become an employee of the Chicago Botanic Garden. The mentor is responsible for coordinating all federal security clearance paperwork.

 

Things to Discuss with Applicants During Your Phone Interview

The phone interview is your opportunity to determine if the applicant will be a good fit for you and to get a better understanding of the applicant's expectations for their internship experience. We suggest mentors discuss the following topics:

  • What an average day will be like - fieldwork, office work - how time might be spent over the 5 month internship
  • The project(s) the intern can expect during their internship
  • Your expectations for the intern - project completion deadlines, work ethic, degree of independence or teamwork necessary, special skills or background that is necessary for accomplishing the goals of the project, etc.
  • The intern's expectations for their internship - what they hope to learn, experiences they hope to gain, etc.
  • Affordable housing options
  • What the intern can expect about the local area and community
  • Whether the intern will need a car in their personal time (i.e. is there reliable public transportation, etc.)

 

Your intern has been hired - What are the next steps?

What Needs to be Done Next

1. Determine an official start date with the intern & notify CLM Staff of the date.

2. Initiate paperwork for the mandatory security clearance (federal agencies). This is extremely important! Because this can be a lengthy process, it's best to have the intern submit all necessary paperwork as soon as possible to ensure that their paperwork is complete before they start or soon after they arrive.

3. Assist the intern in finding affordable housing in the area.

4. Review the Mentor Handbook.

Because CLM interns are employees of the Chicago Botanic Garden, CLM staff collect and process all necessary employment paperwork (tax forms, emergency contacts, etc.) from interns.

 

Responsibilities of the CLM Program Staff

1. All paperwork associated with stipend and taxes. Interns are employees of the Chicago Botanic Garden, which includes workers' compensation coverage.

2. Funding logistics to create new agreements or make modifications to established agreements between the agency and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

3. Coordinating Training Workshop travel, lodging and session itinerary details. Interns participate in a one-week training workshop covering a wide range of topics, including overviews of the respective agencies, participation expectations, safety issues, and botany/wildlife refresher topics.

 

Take on a Master's Student as an Intern

Taking on an intern as part of the collaborative Master's Program in Plant Biology and Conservation at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Northwestern University

Land managers who have a specific botanical research need and have an interest in assisting a Master's student in their research design, ideas and associated field logistics should consider this program. Land managers with projects that may benefit from more intensive data collection and analysis that is typically available for projects are encouraged to submit research project ideas. Because the Graduate Program is Plant Biology and Conservation, research projects should be plant-based or have a very strong plant or habitat component.