Delainey Williams – Horticulture Intern 2019

Spending the summer at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens was a great learning experience. The Michigan State horticulture program provided me with knowledge and some hands-on experiences but there is nothing like getting to put all of that to practice in a place as beautiful as Vail, Colorado. I have had the dream of working in a botanical garden since my freshmen year of college, and the summer after my junior year it became a reality. As an intern at Betty Ford, I had the unique opportunity to do some of everything because there is such a small horticultural staff. To list a few of my favorites; irrigation repair, seedling transplanting, water feature troubleshooting, assisting in garden area redesign project, seed collecting, trough planting, tree planting, and more. I also had the chance on multiple occasions to work with a Denver Botanic Garden horticulturalist on an herbarium specimen collection project she was a part of, which was an unexpected added bonus for me! Along with those occasional activities, everyday I was putting my plant care, plating, transplanting, and pruning knowledge to use while learning more by asking coworkers questions about things I didn’t know. Coming from across the country, there were plenty of rare alpine plants I had never heard of that I had the opportunity to work with, which also made this experience even more special. Learning how to identify all of the species I had never seen before was a challenge, but it pushed me out of my comfort zone in a good way. Besides all of the garden work working at a botanical garden provided me with the opportunity to converse with and answer questions from garden visitors that come from all over the world. It was a part of the job I was looking forward to because it allowed me to share my love of plants with so many people! This internship also includes several field trips throughout the season, typically group hikes to identify or collect seeds in the wild. I can’t think of a more beautiful place to live and work for the summer than up in the Rockies – and I am so lucky to have been able to have the chance to intern here!



Brittney Marshall – Horticulture Intern 2019

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[et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”]My internship with Betty Ford Alpine Gardens was a great introduction to the world of plant conservation. Throughout the summer, I worked with Nicola on North American Botanic Garden Strategy for Alpine Plant Conservation targets, specifically, creating a list of all North American alpine plants. As part of this project, I contacted authors of floras and field guides, National Forest Service botanists, and various land management agencies to gather data on different alpine areas throughout the U.S.A. and Canada. The research involved helped me to understand what organizations are involved with documenting and conserving plants within these areas.

As part of the internship, I also had the opportunity to hike and explore areas within Colorado, both to see plants in their native habitat and collect seeds and herbarium specimens for seed banking and sharing. Working with the team at Betty Ford and often, Denver Botanic Gardens, I learned how experts identify species in the field, collect herbarium specimens, and gather seeds for a variety of uses.

Working in the gardens on a day-to-day basis, I learned additional horticultural skills and how a public garden is maintained. Colin and Nick were great resources when learning about plants I’d never seen before. The collection and the beautiful setting made Betty Ford an amazing place to spend the summer!

– Brittney Marshall



Claire Pirio – Education Intern 2018 & 2019

My summer at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens has been nothing short of incredible. During my first couple of weeks at the Gardens, I would find myself smiling just from how lucky I felt to have landed an internship in such a beautiful setting. As the Education Intern, I got to interact with children and their families in the Children’s Garden to teach them about riparian environments and how to conserve them. However, every day at the gardens presented a new learning opportunity, and I can say with confidence that no two days were the same. As a graduate with a plant science degree, I was very excited to discover that part of my job as the education intern involved working with the horticulturists and volunteers out in the garden. Nick was always willing to take a moment to teach or explain something new to me and Nanette has been a great mentor throughout the summer. I am so thankful that this internship brought me to Vail. I’ve learned a ton, met wonderful people, and I’m very excited to continue my journey at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.

– Claire Pirio

Eduacational Intern 2018 & 2019




Kate Love – Horticulture Intern 2018

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Working at Betty Ford Alpines Gardens presented a unique opportunity to work with and learn about alpine plants native to Colorado and across the world. Hands-on horticulture experience in the gardens, field trips to alpine areas, and working with a dedicated team of staff and volunteers created a one of a kind internship experience. As someone greatly interested in conservation, learning about and working directly with rare alpine plants in the garden’s collections and in partnership with Denver Botanic Garden’s efforts in the Global Genome Initiative allowed me to gain experience and knowledge in my field of interest. As I move forward into my career and graduate school, I am very appreciative to have been a part of an organization dedicated to understanding and promoting alpine plants and fragile mountain environments.

– Kate Love

2018 Horticulture Intern


Jenna Bachman – Horticulture Intern 2017

Interning at Betty Ford was an amazing opportunity for so many reasons. Living and gardening in a landscape like this was completely new for me, but exploring the landscape and getting to know the native plants and the garden was an incredible learning and growing experience.  As the horticulture intern, I worked in the gardens every day, and was constantly exposed to new plants and different challenges within the garden. I learned so much about alpine plants from working at BFAG but I also learned a lot about gardening in general. The garden feels like a dream to work in, there were so many mornings that I would look around and see the garden in the foreground and the mountains in the background and think of how lucky I was to be there.

The staff at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens also plays a huge role in making the internship so great. Everyone working here is incredibly kind and the overall atmosphere is fun and welcoming. Nick, as the Curator of Plant Collections worked very closely with me, and was always around to help me learn about the plants and answer questions. Throughout my time here I loved getting to know the staff and was so grateful for their openness and helpfulness. Working and living with the education intern and Seasonal was a really fun experience, and getting to know them while enjoying the garden and the surrounding landscape together was one of the best parts of my summer in Vail. Overall, this internship had an enormous positive affect on me and was an experience I will not forget


Elizabeth Hossink – Education Intern 2017

The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens were exactly where I needed to be this past summer. My time in Colorado was marked by beautiful landscapes, personal growth, new friends, and much learning. I was immediately welcomed as part of the staff, and continuously affirmed of my value to the organization. At the same time, I was challenged and encouraged to take initiative on projects and explore my creativity and confidence. I learned a lot about myself and how I work with others, and can now articulate more clearly what I have to bring to the table. 

I began the summer not knowing much about taking care of plants, but very anxious to learn, and because of the guidance of Nick I now feel like I could start my own garden. I learned a lot about identifying many of the alpine and native Colorado plants just by living and working with so many people for whom plants are their passion. 

I enjoyed the flexibility of my position, which allowed that within one day I could weed, prepare crafts for kids, help other staff set up for an event, and interact with families in the garden. There were many great aspects of working in the gardens, but my favorite part of the position was seeing the awe in children’s eyes after I showed them where their vegetables came from, or pointed out the snake napping on a rock or the bumble bee pollinating a flower. The gardens are a powerful tool for connecting people with their environment and reminding them the wonders of our earth, and I am glad I was able to be a part of it


Colin Lee – Curatorial Intern 2016

When I look back at my Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Internship I can’t help but think of all the amazing opportunities I was given as an intern both inside and outside of the gardens. While in the gardens, I was subject to learning and working with plants every day in all different areas of the gardens. This included daily interactions with staff, volunteers and guests alike, which in turn allowed me as an intern to further my interpersonal communication, botanical and horticultural skills. While working every day at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens I was provided with an amazing space to exercise my college learning and acquired colligate botanical and horticultural skills within the work space and gardens. Opportunities that were grated to me outside of the gardens by the gardens were equally educational and provided me with a summer to stand among the best summers in my live. Opportunities outside the garden included hiking and seed collecting with Nick and Nicola in the surrounding areas of Vail, CO and the Eagle country area. Seed collecting provided me with in field knowledge and skills to ID plants, properly collect and label seed and get involved in the Seeds of Success Program as well as collected seeds for the BLM to help created a seed bank to restore the habitat of the Greater Sage Grouse. I was also subject to collecting live specimens of plants and soil samples on these hikes which gave me an opportunity to put my collegiate knowledge and skills into action in the field. While the gardens provided an opportunity for me to grow as a student and a horticulturist I am very happy to say my summer also included a social opportunity for me to grow aswell by living with two other interns for summer, exploring Vail and surrounding areas on solo adventures and with Nick, who knows almost everyone in the Vail Valley. Through this met many people throughout the summer and got to have a lot of fun with them. Out of work opportunities that will stand out in my mind include attending the GoPro games with Nick, hiking water falls within Vail, enjoying the Vail downtown scene, free concerts at the gardens and the neighboring amphitheater, farmers markets and music and sporting festivals. When I look back on my summer in Vail, I keep realizing the amazing amount of opportunities presented to me by Vail and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and am so glad I accepted the internship at BFAG and decided to step out of my comfort zone and routine life and take part in a summer that will influence the rest of my life in a positive fashion. I miss Vail all the time and luckily living in Colorado I can go back at some point, but if given this opportunity to come to Vail and BFAG I say seize it and make the most out of it and give it your all, for it is truly the opportunity of a life time.


Rachel Holland – Horticulture Intern 2016

I had an incredible summer as an intern at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. This experience was once in a lifetime, not only do you have the privilege to work in the beautiful Gore Range. But you are given the amazing opportunity tolive in Vail, Colorado and explore the area. During my time as an intern at the gardens, I learned so many new species of alpine plants. I had never been to Colorado before and the plants were completely unknown to me. Nick was continuously answering my questions and helped me learn so much about this new environment. My favorite part about the internship was going into the field and collecting specimens and seeds for the Bureau of Land Management. It was so cool to do real life field work and contribute to conservation by collecting the seeds of these alpine plants.

When I first came to Vail, I was really nervous to be away from home and to be in a place where I knew nobody. By the end of the summer, I was dreading going home because I did not want to leave such an amazing place with so many great people. Although I was sad to leave Vail, I am now determined to move back out there to continue to explore the great state of Colorado. My internship at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens not only gave me experience, it gave me a new view on life. This internship opened my eyes to the amazing things life has to offer me. I hope that the next interns use this opportunity to not only learn about alpine plants and conservation, but also use it as a learning opportunity for life.



Allyson Ayalon – Curatorial Intern 2015

I came to work as the curatorial intern at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens to learn about managing plant records for living collections and to assist with

plant display labels, a summer job that was a perfect compliment to my Master’s study in public horticulture. Little did I is levitra safe realize I was in for so much viagra sans ordonnance more than just curatorial duties: working with volunteers, assisting with events and, most notably, helping to implement an amazing new education center and surrounding gardens. I lived with the fellow interns, which naturally led to many outdoor adventures together such DSCN2606as rock climbing, hiking, camping, bicycle rides (most memorably up to Vail Pass!), dancing at local music shows—each experience guaranteed to be accompanied by my most favorite past time of botanizing. The Rockies are an amazing place for a plant lover, be it the alpine wildflower display at incredible altitudes of 13,000 feet, the alpine crevice garden at work, or the color change of the quaking aspens as the summer comes to an end. Since returning to California to finish my Master’s degree this fall, I was immediately offered a part-time job at my local arboretum, offering no doubt that my experience has contributed positively to my personal growth. I am

ever grateful for Nick and the staff at the alpine gardens for giving me such well-rounded, practical experience at a truly unique botanic garden. Now if

only I could grow those adorable cushion plants back down at 50 feet above see level; but of course, some things are best left at 8,200 feet.


Jodie Kirschner – Garden Intern 2015

I am very thankful for my summer internship opportunity at The Alpine Gardens. Every day was a new experience with something new to learn. With such a small staff,  interns play a major roll in maintaining the gardens, which naturally are hard to keep up with. This along with the building of the Education Center kept everyone extremely busy. The demand for hard work kept me excited to contribute because everyone’s work truly made cialis generique a difference in the end.


I started the summer with minimal knowledge about plants, let alone alpine plants. Nick, along with the other interns, were always excited to share their knowledge to help me learn about the plants and environment around me. Nick led us on several day hikes around the valley to identify

beautiful alpine plants. These hikes were great opportunities to connect what I was learning every day at the gardens to the natural environment I had always enjoyed.

Not only did I learn about what it takes to maintain the gardens, I learned a great deal about what it takes to develop a building. From constructing rock walls, to plant layout, to installing a green roof, to fixing leaks and cracks, Nick really had a lot to manage. The Education Center provided the interns and myself with a unique opportunity at Betty Ford. This project added even more variety to the kinds of tasks I would be exposed to this summer. In the end, I was so excited to be a part of a dream and goal come true for the Betty Ford Alpine Garden staff and community. I cannot thank the friendly staff enough for providing me with this opportunity to learn and grow as a gardener and as a person.

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