Midewin Research Assistant for Plants of Concern

Requisition Number: 
Conservation Science
Job Status: 
As part of a cooperative program with Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Plants of Concern is recruiting for a seasonal research assistant. This seven-month, 35-hour per week position involves a suite of studies on rare plants at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, including those restricted to the unique dolomite prairie habitat. The Midewin program is part of a broader Plants of Concern (POC) regional rare plant monitoring program. The employee will be stationed at the Chicago Botanic Garden with frequent visits to Midewin, near Joliet, Illinois, and nearby sites. Field duties involve recruiting, training, and working with volunteers to monitor selected species through demographic study, census, sampling and photopoints. Office duties include data entry and statistical analysis, report writing, and GIS applications. The research assistant will have the opportunity to create presentations and/or a poster of the work accomplished.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role, which begins in early May, 2015, you will be responsible for the following:

May through September:

  • Attend and assist with general POC training workshops
  • Develop or modify field forms
  • Become oriented to Midewin monitoring sites and familiar with data to be collected
  • Engage in field work and help recruit, train, and support volunteers
  • In July and August, conduct community vegetation transects in Midewin restoration areas
  • Perform data entry as needed
  • Collect seeds for seed banking efforts at the Chicago Botanic Garden

October through early December:

  • Complete data entry and conduct analysis of multiple years of data
  • Organize and catalog monitoring and other photos (digital format)
  • Work with supervisor on an annual report to submit to a granting agency

The ideal candidate will have the following:

  • A bachelor of science degree in ecology, botany, or biological sciences or in a related background
  • Plant identification skills, including use of a dichotomous key
  • Field experience in plant monitoring or sampling
  • Experience with Microsoft Office suite, particularly Excel, Word, and PowerPoint
  • Basic statistical and GIS software experience 
  • Ability to keep highly organized
  • Interest in working with citizen science volunteers
  • Ability to work well independently as well as on a team
  • A driver's license and access to a personal vehicle, although a company vehicle is normally available for use
  • Ability to occasionally work weekends
Physical Demands: 
Field work involves walking over uneven terrain, or traversing distances of up to 2 miles while carrying equipment. Bending, stooping, and kneeling are often necessary. Field work may occur during hot weather when insects are active. Office work involves sitting, standing, typing, using computers, and copy machines.
Why Apply?: 

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.