Adkins Arboretum Hosts Summer Intern


Attending college nearly 300 miles away led Lisa Daffin to an internship opportunity just ten minutes from her home. For this intern, a passion for horticulture and nature and an interest in native plants made a summer at Adkins Arboretum a perfect fit.

A senior majoring in agribusiness management and rural development and minoring in horticulture at West Virginia University, Daffin grew up on a greenhouse operation and vegetable farm in Queen Anne, just minutes from the Arboretum.

"I knew about the Arboretum from living in the area and wanted to intern close to home," she says. "But I also wanted an internship that could offer a different experience than anything else I had done. My background isn't in native plants, and that's exactly why I wanted to come here. I wanted to know more."

Daffin began work in June and quickly jumped into nearly all aspects of the Arboretum's operation, from learning about visitor services to maintaining the grounds, working with volunteers, and learning about the day-to-day workings of a nonprofit organization. In addition, she is working on converting plant information signs to a new format so that shoppers at Arboretum plant sales can learn about plants before buying them.
She cites the Arboretum's education opportunities and staff interaction as reasons for enjoying her internship.

"After I had my interview and met the staff, I really hoped I was offered the position. I was so excited when I was chosen and am grateful for the opportunity," says Daffin. "I absolutely love it here and am learning so much every day. I am lucky to be working with such knowledgeable and passionate people."

Daffin will return to school this fall and will continue her work as an undergraduate assistant in WVU's horticulture tissue culture lab. Upon graduation in December, she plans to work toward a master's degree in horticulture at WVU and eventually hopes to work in a research setting or teach horticulture at the college level. "I really have a passion for horticulture and love sharing that passion with others," she says. "If I could teach horticulture, it would be my dream job."

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. Through its Campaign to Build a Green Legacy, the Arboretum will build a new LEED-certified Arboretum Center and redesign its entrance to broaden educational offerings and public outreach initiatives promoting best practices in conservation and land stewardship. For additional information about Arboretum programs, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.