Cantigny and Chicago Botanic Garden launch summer internship program for military veterans

The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe and Cantigny in Wheaton are partnering to support military veterans and ease their transition to the civilian workforce. This summer, the Veteran Internship Program (VIP) is being offered at both Cantigny and Chicago Botanic Garden from May 20 to Aug. 9.

Funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, VIP started in 2016 at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It was designed to combine training, pre-vocational internships, and nature-based experiences to help individuals transition into the civilian workforce while addressing their workforce reintegration challenges in a supportive environment.

Over the course of its nine-year history, the program has helped provide paid internships for 62 veterans in over 16 different departments across the botanic garden.

The paid 12-week program for veterans offers hands-on training in assigned areas suited to each intern’s career goals and interests. Cantigny and Chicago Botanic Garden are now seeking qualified candidates, with up to seven positions available at each location. VIP applications are ongoing until positions are filled.

In addition to practical work experience, program participants receive help with career assessment, job searching, interviewing, resume writing, cover letter preparation, and networking.

“The McCormick Foundation has supported VIP at Chicago Botanic Garden for several years and is proud to have extended this successful program to Cantigny,” said Tim Knight, McCormick Foundation president and CEO. “With assistance from Garden staff, our colleagues at Cantigny piloted VIP in 2023.

“Our first cohort of veterans gained valuable job experience and employment skills to help smooth their transition to the non-military workplace,” Knight continued. “Cantigny and Chicago Botanic Garden are pleased to open doors for veterans who can use a little help. They’ve earned our respect and support.”

At Cantigny, departments with VIP positions available include security, guest services, horticulture, McCormick House (artifacts/collections), and forestry. At Chicago Botanic Garden, internships are in horticulture, greenhouse management, restoration ecology, bonsai, database management (membership), GIS documentation (plant collection), construction, accounting, education/camps, and public programs.

Candidates are invited to apply online at for Cantigny; and for Chicago Botanic Garden.

Questions about VIP should go to for Cantigny or or for Chicago Botanic Garden.

About Cantigny

Cantigny in Wheaton is the 500-acre estate of Colonel Robert R. McCormick (1880-1955), longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, and founder of the Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundation. It is home to display gardens, walking trails, a museum dedicated to the 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army, a highly ranked 27-hole public golf course, and a golf academy for all ages. More information is online at, including hours, admission fees and a calendar of upcoming events.

About Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a world-renowned living museum with 28 gardens and four natural areas on its 385-acre main campus in Glencoe. Its roots grow throughout greater Chicago and beyond, inspiring all people to connect with plants. The Garden helps build healthier communities through urban agriculture, offers lifelong learning opportunities, leads pioneering plant conservation research, and showcases the beauty of horticulture. The Garden is a nonprofit organization run as a public/private partnership with the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

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