HORTICULTURE INTERNSHIP, Summer 2014
at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Cockrell Butterfly Center
Sponsored by The Garden Club of Houston
The Cockrell Butterfly Center, located within the Houston Museum of Natural Science, is one of the premier exhibits of live butterflies in the country. Although butterflies from around the world are the main attraction, the plant background is of major importance. The Center's theme is a tropical rainforest, featuring over 300 different species of flowering and foliage plants.
In addition to the public display area, the Center includes three 1000 sq. ft. greenhouses used for plant storage and maintenance, plant propagation, and for raising several species of butterflies.
Horticultural staff at the Butterfly Center is responsible for plant care and maintenance inside the public display conservatory, as well as in the support greenhouses. Duties include plant care and propagation, pest control, recordkeeping, developing signage and informational materials, leading outreach programs for children and adults, and interacting with the public and with volunteer workers.
Skills developed by horticultural staff in the center include:
- Knowledge of tropical plant identity and care;
- Plant propagation techniques;
- Familiarity with greenhouse pest insects and the beneficial species used to control them (biological control);
- Butterfly gardening and familiarity with butterfly identity and breeding;