Old Growth Forest Research Assistant Positions, Summer 2023

Old Growth Forest Research Assistant Positions, Summer 2023


The Harvard Forest (HF) seeks two talented and enthusiastic individuals to assist with field sampling campaigns and subsequent management and analysis of tree-ring and ecological data. The successful candidates will collect plot-level forest census data and tree-ring samples across the Northeastern U.S./indigenous lands (from Abanaki/Wabanaki to Nipmuc, Haudenosaunee, Susquehannock, and Shawnee Tula lands). This project, funded by the National Science Foundation, will study ecological memory, global change, and extreme climate events across spatial and temporal scales to better understand the complexity of canopy disturbances and ecological processes of forests over time. The tree-ring dataset produced here will be, perhaps, unprecedented in terms of species diversity, ecological state, and temporal coverage in broadleaf-dominated old-growth forests. Funds are available to offset travel costs to the HF once hired.

Duties and Responsibilities

Candidates will work directly with a Research Assistant and two Primary Investigators to assist in an expected total of five weeks of vegetation sampling in multiple old-growth forests in the Northeastern United States.  Assistants will:

Participate in vegetation sampling in old-growth forests. (40%);

Prepare measure, cross-date, and analyze tree-ring samples (55%); and

Assist P.I. on data analysis, data interpretation, and table and figure preparation (5%).

Required Education, Experience, and Skills

College background in Botany, Ecology, Forestry, Biology, Geography, or Earth Sciences with experience sampling vegetation is preferred.

Additional Qualifications

Though not required, knowledge of Northeastern US forest flora and forest dynamics, skill with maps and compass, familiarity with mapping, surveying/orienteering, and database entry would enhance your application. The ability to work well with others, however, is essential.  Successful applicants will have a strong interest to work with interdisciplinary science teams and serious interest in environmental research. Regretfully, we are unable to offer visa sponsorship for staff positions.

Working Conditions

Must be willing to work outdoors under all weather conditions including wet, cool, and rainy days. A valid driver’s license (for at least the past 2 years) and an excellent driving record is preferred.  Applicants must be capable of walking/hiking approximately 2-5 miles each day. Old-growth forests are often on rather steep slopes with thin soils or talus microsites. We work as a team and we work safely. The ability to carry a pack (20+ lbs.) is needed, but we share the effort of fieldwork in landscapes that can be rugged.

Project Team Philosophy

We believe in conducting science with both humility and intellectual rigor. We respect all people and will combat institutional racism and gender bias at every opportunity. We are committed to diversity and inclusion and to fostering a welcoming and stimulating environment so that project participants can develop, grow, and achieve their professional goals.

Compensation, Benefits and Application Process

Competitive salary for these 12-week, 40 hrs./week, temporary positions is $15.00/hour.

In addition, the successful candidates will have access to funds to offset most of the cost of rent during these appointments in Harvard Forest housing. Note: there are no requirements to live on site. If that is the case, the successful candidate must be able to have their own transportation to commute each working day to the Harvard Forest from a nearby community.

Finally, funds are available to assist with relocation costs to and from the HF at the beginning and end of the position from the successful candidate’s current place of residence.  Field campaigns are being planned for late spring and summer 2023, COVID depending. Positions could start in May 2023, depending on availability, but would not start much later than June 1, 2023 and are not expected to extend longer than 12 weeks.  Apply by sending PDF bundled cover letter, resume, and contact information for 3 relevant references to hfapps@fas.harvard.edu — Subject line: Field Technicians – Northeast Old Growth Forest Project

Initial Reviews Begin: January 25, 2023

Position Closes: Wednesday February 1, 2023

Interviews expected to begin in late February 2023 with offers expected to be made shortly thereafter.