Summer Internship Program: Fairfax County

Fairfax County

Primary Program Area Focus: ANR  (Horticulture)

1. Describe your plans for this internship.  (i.e. What specifically will the intern be doing?)

Experience how agriculture needs are translated into an urban and suburban landscape with Urban Horticulture!

The intern will support current programming needs of the Fairfax VCE office. The intern will work at the Fairfax VCE Unit office and horticulture diagnostic lab. Weekly duties include: Database management, lab report development, newsletters and client follow-up. The intern will learn the ‘PClinic software’ for diagnostic work. Landscape and garden pests diagnosed in the lab are reviewed by the intern and Extension Agent. Intern will create a bi-weekly newsletter for distribution to over 800+ individuals based on laboratory findings.

Fairfax has an established Master Gardener Volunteer Program of over 40 years. The Intern will support the Agent with volunteer management of the program by coordinating tasks and program supplies. Works with volunteers on an established turf nutrient management program, "Home Turf". The intern will market this program to Fairfax's residents, help with virtual programs using Zoom and YouTube, accompany trained Master Gardener Volunteers to site visits, and develop a survey for past client follow-up.

The intern will dive into the Extension Programming model by developing a needs assessment for training MG Volunteers and then designing a program from conception to evaluation. The Program will be presented to the MG Volunteers as a continuing education summer program.

2. Describe the knowledge / skills you expect the intern to gain from this experience.

The intern will work in the office, lab and in the field. (or virtually depending on COVID restrictions).  They will learn to hone their Horticulture diagnostic skills. They will make site visits to experience soil testing, plant and insect collection, data collection, and observe plant diseases and insect pests in the Fairfax landscape. Intern will learn skills needed to work with clients, professionals, and volunteers; group and individual projects. Intern will see how technology and horticulture overlap.

3. How will the intern learn about the breadth of VCE and our various program areas?

The Intern will be exposed to the wide array of programs offered by the Fairfax office not only Horticulture but also 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences. There will be opportunities for the intern to work with agents who work on interdisciplinary programs and form collective impacts.

There will be opportunities to network with other Northern District Extension Agents and landscape/horticulture industry professionals, and other Fairfax County partners. Working across program areas and with volunteers, the VCE Summer Intern will gain a complete understanding of the VCE programs in Fairfax County.