Morris Arboretum is a historic public garden and research and educational institution. It promotes an understanding of the relationship between plants, people and place through programs that integrate science, art and the humanities. The internship program provides hands- on experience and an education that prepares interns for careers in public gardens and related fields.


Morris Arboretum offers year-long, full-time internships with full benefits in the following areas:

Below is an interview with one of the current interns and her project, Trish Kemper, the Martha S. Miller Endowed Urban Forestry Intern.

Interview By Maddie Megargee, a Springside senior doing her senior project at the Morris Arboretum.

Can you describe what your project involves?
The first part of the project was to design an environmentally sensitive 2-acre meadow addition for Groff Memorial Park, a 4-acre public woodland park of native plants in New Holland, Pennsylvania. The borough has drilled a new municipal well in the park and the 2-acre addition is to accommodate the well head protection zone, which is a 200’ circular radius around the well. The second part of the project was to create a Management Plan for the park that includes recommended organic practices for the care of the lawn, woodland, meadow, and rain garden to protect the water source of the well.

How did you think of this project?
The Morris Arboretum Urban Forestry Consultants were asked to do an assessment of the trees in the park by Charlie Miller, whose maternal grandparents inspired the creation of the park. The idea for the project came from discussions with Charlie about the well head protection zone, the added two acres and the board’s desire for a meadow and a raingarden.

What sparked your interest in urban forestry?
In my youth, I grew up playing in woodlands and have a great appreciation for trees. I also understand the important ecological benefits trees provide from my classes in graduate school. I was interested to learn how to protect and manage trees in an urban area where they play such a vital role in the health of the city environment and its inhabitants.

Have you faced any challenges working on the project?
The park is an hour away and it was difficult to schedule the time to get there and get the soil samples and do the simple percolation test. On the day that I did finally go out it rained most of the time which hampered the soil collection process but the saturated soil aided the percolation test the next day.

The park is on limestone bedrock which is calcareous, meaning it contains large amounts of calcium carbonate, and creates alkaline soil. To find suitable plants for the site, I researched Pennsylvania calcareous native plant communities but the associated plant lists are relatively small. I did further research to find additional plants adapted to soils with higher pH but this often required checking each plant individually. There are many list for plants that prefer sun or plants that require wet soils but not many lists for plants that prefer alkaline soil.

What have you learned from this project?
The project has been a great experience that has increased my knowledge in many areas. I’ve learned about well head protection zones, how to obtain soil samples and do a simple percolation test. I’ve also learned about Pennsylvania calcareous native plant communities and how to manage a park using organic methods.