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Mercer Botanic Gardens seeks Summer Internship

Herbarium-Conservation-Botany Internship
At Mercer Botanic Gardens
22306 Aldine Westfield Rd., Humble, TX 77338

What is a herbarium? It is a historical and research collection of pressed, dried and
mounted plants. These are stored on acid-free paper in climate and pest-controlled
cabinets. Mercer Botanic Gardens herbarium, registered as MERCA in Index
Herbariorum, is a global directory of herbaria and staff, includes plants of east
Texas, rare Texas species, permanent sample sites that include Harris County saline
prairies, and specimens from Mercer Botanic Gardens living collections. In 2017,
the herbarium collection at Mercer grew from approximately 5,000 to about 52,000
specimens with the long-term loan of a collection from the Spring Branch ISD
Robert Vines Environmental Science Center and Arboretum (registered as SBSC in
Index Herbariorum), an important collection documenting the flora of the Houston
metro area and East Texas. The MERCA and SBSC collections are being imaged via
a National Science Foundation grant awarded to the TX OK Regional Consortium of
Herbaria (TORCH).

Core Responsibilities

Reporting to the Mercer Botanical Center staff botanist and curators, intern will:

  • Document and catalog plant specimens; log data into computer software; review, print, and attach labels to vouchers (mounted plant specimens); organize and store various plant family vouchers; image specimens.
  • Maintain plant specimens and apply up to date identification and current nomenclature.
  • Learn how to georeference collection locations for specimens. There is access to the onsite botanical library, online resources such as Google Earth, and the opportunity to interact with other herbaria to research information.
  • Work will result in a defined project which they will have the opportunity to present at the Mercer Botanic Gardens Student Research and Education Symposium, August 7, 2024.
  • Work outdoors in areas including the conservation nursery, conservation display garden, offsite preserves, and native plant restoration sites in East Texas.
  • Opportunity to prepare collections for the Global Genome Initiative, GGI-Gardens, and for the National Collection of Endangered Plants seed bank.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.
  • Job Dimensions and other Requirements
  • Internship is directed towards college students, recent college graduates, and high school seniors.
  • Intern must enjoy working outdoors as well as in an office setting.
  • Internship Availability: calendar year 2024, 20 – 40 hours per week, work primarily Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. with a 30-minute lunch and regular breaks; some weekends may be required, preferably for a 10-15-week period.
  • Interns must provide their own transportation and housing.
  • This is a paid internship through grants provided by The Gibson Family, the Knowles Family and Native Plant Society of Texas – Houston Chapter in honor of Dr. Larry Brown, GGI-Gardens Program, and additional fund sources.

Physical Demands

  • The intern is regularly required to stand, walk, use hands and fingers to handle, feel and reach with hands and arms; frequently required to sit, climb, or balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; talk or hear.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this internship includes close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and the ability to adjust focus.
  • The intern works in outside weather conditions and is periodically exposed to heat, humidity, rain, and dust.
  • The noise level in the work environment is normally moderate.
  • The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an intern to successfully perform the functions of the internship. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential duties.
  • Work locations and procedures will follow Harris County regulations.

How to Apply
Please send a résumé, with reference contact information and cover letter with
subject: MBC Herbarium/Botany Internship. Email Kari Hernandez
Kari.Hernandez@pct3.hctx.net and Anita Tiller Anita.Tiller@pct3.hctx.net

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