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POC Research Assistant to the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Requisition Number: 
Plant Science and Conservation
Job Status: 
This 35-week, 35 hours/week position involves monitoring rare plants in the Forest Preserves of Cook County through the Plants of Concern (POC) program, a widely recognized citizen science program. The position is based at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Duties include collecting field monitoring data, helping to recruit and train volunteer monitors, entering/analyzing monitoring data including GIS applications, and assisting with reports. Occasional weekend work is required.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Collecting field monitoring data
  • Counting or estimating number of individuals in rare plant populations, measuring population areas, recording GPS locations, identifying associate and invasive plants, and identifying threats and management
  • Helping to recruit and train volunteer monitors
  • Assisting with data entry, management, analysis, and reporting
  • Act as liaison between FPCC ecologists and stewards and POC staff regarding plant locations and volunteer assignments.
  • Presentation of work accomplished.

Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.



Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Bachelor of science degree in ecology, botany, biological sciences, or related background.
  • Plant identification skills, including use of a dichotomous key. 
  • Experience in plant monitoring or field research. 
  • Love of outdoor work.
  • Experience with all Microsoft Office functions, especially Excel and Access. 
  • Basic statistical and ArcGIS software experience sought. 
  • Statistical analysis experience a plus. 
  • Ability to work well independently, as well as on a team. 
  • Ability to communicate effectively with a large, diverse group of volunteers and staff.
  • Good organizational skills are necessary. 
  • Personal cell phone needed for field coordination.
  • Driver’s license required. 
  • Although a company vehicle is normally available, access to a personal vehicle is a plus.


Physical Demands: 
Field work involves traversing steep or otherwise difficult 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.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.