2024 Summer Internship in Fruit Production and IPM

2024 Summer Internship in Fruit Production and IPM


Evan Lentz

Assistant Extension Educator in Fruit Production and IPM

Young 116A


I am seeking an individual undergraduate student who will assist with ongoing pest monitoring research efforts around the state. Pest monitoring is one of the essential tools available to farmers and researchers who implement IPM (Integrated Pest Management) strategies on their farms. Scouting and monitoring are proactive and preventative measures undertaken to determine and understand local pest pressures, inform corrective actions, and reduce negative environmental impacts associated with conventional pest management practices. The intern would first gain knowledge of general IPM principles and practices followed by a more in depth understanding of scouting, trapping, and pest monitoring techniques. This includes a working knowledge of various insect monitoring traps and pheromone lures, proper on-farm trap placement, and trap capture monitoring.

The intern would be expected to make weekly trips to various fruit production operations around the state to set up and monitor these insect traps. The intern would then be expected to convey the findings to both me and the farmers with which they are working. This will also provide students with experience engaging with the local community stakeholders and affords insight into the impacts that Extension has on our local community. The intern will also be expected to produce an educational factsheet on each of the three fruit pests we monitor.

The fruit pests to be monitored in this internship are: Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD), Brown Marmorated Stinkbug (BMSB), and Spotted Lantern Fly (SLF). These are all very important invasive fruit pests that, together, have an incredibly wide host range, affecting apples, pears, cherries, blueberries, grapes, raspberries, and more. It’s imperative that information about the presence and movement of these pests is made available to the local fruit growing community.

The intern may also have the opportunity to attend various workshops or field days related to fruit production and Extension.

Date Range & Work Times:

Farm visits will occur weekly starting mid-June (week of 6/4) and continue for 10 weeks until mid-August (week of 8/13-19). Weekly duties will likely reach but not exceed the proposed 20 hours per week. Hours will not be set, instead, the intern will be able to choose their own hours. This will allow for interns to pursue other summer jobs or activities and allows for flexibility given much of the on-site farm work will be subject to weather conditions.

Learning Objectives:

1) Understand the core principles of IPM (Integrated Pest Management), why they are so important to our ever-changing natural and social environments, and how farmers employ different strategies to achieve success in their IPM programs.

2) Gain expertise in the use of insect monitoring traps and lures, plant disease and insect pest identification, and plant pest signs and symptoms.

3) Explore the implications of climate instability as it relates to commercial fruit production including, the effects of extreme weather events on pest populations, pest severity, and annual fruit production; the long-term effects of climate change on perennial cropping systems; and climate adaptation/mitigation strategies for fruit producers including site and varietal selection, farm diversification, improving soil health, and installing drainage.

Career Development Objectives:

1) Develop and hone communication skills related to applied Extension research. This will include weekly interpersonal communication with community stakeholders, data reporting, and written communication honed through the development of short but informative factsheets designed to educate farmers on aspects of various fruit pests.

2) Network with Extension professionals and agricultural stakeholders at various Extension and related events including the CT Pomological Society Summer Field Day and the UMass Fruit Growers Summer Field Day. There are additional opportunities for students to attend Extension events outside of the internship period including CT Pomological Society Winter Meeting, CT Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers Conference, and the CT Ag Expo.

Ownership Commitment:

My commitment to the learning outcomes listed above will be made clear in an agreement that I will develop in tandem with the intern. This will not only ensure that my expectations are made clear in the beginning, but will allow the student to have a say in the type of learning experience that they have. This agreement will not only outline my expectations, but will allow for the student to outline their own expectations of me and the internship.

Additionally, pre- and post-internship evaluations will be given to the student. These evaluations will not only determine the efficacy of the internship in achieving the goals and expectations outlined in the agreement, but will also be used to inform future internship opportunities. Pre-internship evaluations will gauge the student’s prior knowledge, assisting me to understand how to best approach the learning experience. The post-internship evaluation will help to measure the level of success of the learning experience and help to shape the subsequent years’ internships.

Together, the learning agreement and evaluations ensure the safety, success, and enjoyment of all parties involved. These will also allow for a deeper understanding of the role experiential or hand-on learning has in agricultural sciences and may serve as supporting data for future teaching grant


Applications close April 19th, 2024