Employment Opportunities (1)


Horticultural Internship Program 2016-2017


The internships are full-time (40 hours/week) positions, each with a stipend of $4,500, for a consecutive ten-week term at the Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley, CA. Health insurance, housing, and transportation are not provided. Up to five internships will be offered in each session.

Internships will combine apprenticeship-style learning in which skills are obtained by working alongside experienced professionals, plus an independent project selected by the intern from among options offered by staff.

Interns will learn the practices and techniques necessary to skillfully accomplish all aspects of nursery duties. In the area of plant production, these include asexual and sexual propagation; irrigation; weed, pest, and disease monitoring and management; plant culture and care; and transplanting. In the seed program, interns will learn seed collection, viability assessment, storage, and packaging. In the sales yard, interns will learn native plant identification and marketing of nursery stock.

At the culmination of the internship, the intern should be comfortable in a production and retail setting, and be adequately prepared for employment in a small-scale nursery enterprise.

Internship sessions:
September 12 to November 18, 2016
March 13 to May 19, 2017 (these dates have been extended)


Students must be currently enrolled undergraduates or recent graduates at a university or community college. Students must have completed one term by June 2016 to be eligible or have graduated within the past year (May 2015 or later).

Students must be currently enrolled, or have recently graduated, with a minimum GPA of 2.5.

Applicants should have some knowledge of propagation and cultivation techniques, have familiarity with plant families, be attentive to detail, and have the ability to remain cheerful while carrying 25 pounds for 100 feet in all kinds of weather. Ability to work Tuesday through Saturday.

To apply

Applications for Spring internships are due March 24, 2017. Required materials include:

  1. The completed TPF horticultural internship application form
  2. A copy of your resume
  3. A statement of why you are interested in this internship in approximately 200 words. Please address what you hope to gain from this internship, your interest or involvement in issues of native plant horticulture, aspects of your past experience that are most relevant to the application, and any specific career or educational avenues you are interested in exploring.
  4. Transcripts of all college courses showing your cumulative GPA
  5. Two letters of reference: one from your academic advisor (or professor) and one from a current or former employer, preferably from within your field of interest. Recommenders should be sure to state how long s/he has known the applicant and in what capacity. We would particularly appreciate comments on the applicant’s abilities in the following areas: academic performance, research and writing skills, curiosity and ability to take initiative, interpersonal skills, and dependability.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Submit application materials by mail or e-mail to:

Internship Program
Theodore Payne Foundation
10459 Tuxford Street
Sun Valley, CA 91352

e-mail: info@theodorepayne.org

Download the TPF horticultural internship application form


The Theodore Payne Foundation is a non-profit nursery and educational organization whose mission is to promote the understanding and use of California native plants. The Foundation has approximately 3,300 members and an outreach to more than 13,000 via its e-newsletter; it has a paid staff of 16 and a corps of 250 volunteers. The Foundation owns and operates a 22-acre educational facility and nursery in Sun Valley in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, CA, and has an operating budget of over $1 million. Major activities include operating a public nursery/seed room and bookstore, plant propagation, adult education and K-12 nature education classes, demonstration gardens, an annual native plant garden tour with 2,000 attendees at 40 gardens, fall and spring plant sales, as well as donor, member, and volunteer appreciation events. Outreach activities include a quarterly newsletter, web site, e-newsletter, social media, and offsite sales. For more information, visit theodorepayne.org. The Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and all TPF activities are conducted without discrimination based on race, color, genetics, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or status as a protected veteran. TPF is also committed to compliance with all fair employment practices regarding citizenship and immigration status.

There are always Volunteer positions available.