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1927 Map of the Arboretum

Living Collections Fellowship

Living Collections Fellow Jared Rubinstein and Emily Ellingson make herbarium vouchers from a collection of Quercus montana at the Berea College Forest in Kentucky. Andrew Gapinski
(Left to right) Jared Rubinstein and Emily Ellingson make herbarium vouchers from a collection of Quercus montana at the Berea College Forest in Kentucky. Photo by Andrew Gapinski.

The Arnold Arboretum is not currently seeking candidates for its Living Collections Fellowship. The Living Collections Fellow (LCF) is part of the Arboretum’s Living Collections team and supports significant initiatives in Curation, Horticulture, and Plant Production. Equally important, the Fellowship affords a rising public gardens professional the opportunity to closely work alongside leaders in the field at one of the world’s most celebrated plant collections. The LCF is assigned a large-scale project that spans the duration of the experience and assists other Living Collections managers and staff with special projects across the Arboretum.

In 2015, the Arnold Arboretum launched an ambitious, ten-year collections development program: The Campaign for the Living Collections. The initiative is expanding the breadth and depth of the Arboretum’s living collections by adding some 400 taxa through plant exploration efforts, germplasm exchange with sister institutions, and other means of acquisition. The next LCF will work closely with the Keeper of the Living Collections to analyze progress to date and plan the second half of the initiative. The LCF will conduct audits of all remaining desiderata (particularly those taxa native to East Asia) and create specific acquisition plans that will be conducted through the duration of the Campaign. In addition to assisting Arboretum staff and associates with planning expeditions, the LCF will participate in their own expedition work. A smaller facet of the LCF’s work will be the preparation of two applications for National Accreditation (Carpinus and Ostrya) through the Plant Collections Network.


Applications are sought from early-career individuals with a degree (MS preferred) in horticulture, plant science, plant ecology, or related disciplines, and who have chosen public horticulture and/or botanical garden management as a career path. Applicants should be well-positioned to conduct independent project-based assignments. Preference will be given to candidates with a excellent knowledge of curation, woody plants, and/or floristics. Applicants are expected to be fluent in English.

Fellowship Details

The Fellowship provides an annual stipend of $48,000, and as an employee of Harvard University, the LCF is eligible for health insurance benefits.

The LCF is expected to engage fully in the professional activities of the Arnold Arboretum and to work collaboratively with Arboretum staff on other institutional efforts. They are encouraged to participate as an instructor for Arnold Arboretum education programs and to write for Arnoldia, the Arboretum’s quarterly magazine.

The fellowship is typically awarded for two years, pending a satisfactory progress report during the first year. The successful candidate is expected to begin by spring/summer.

Application Process

The Fellowship is awarded through a competitive review process. To be considered, applicants should submit the following in PDF format via the Online Application.

  • Cover letter
  • Statement of purpose (two pages maximum). The statement of purpose should clearly depict the applicant’s (i) interest in the Living Collections Fellowship at the Arnold Arboretum; (ii) intended career path in living collections management and how the Fellowship furthers those objectives; and (iii) proven successful project management abilities and how those skills will benefit the work of the Living Collections team.
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of recommendation