Research Assistant

Requisition Number:
Reports to:
Conservation Scientist
The Plant Science and Conservation department is seeking a part-time research assistant to collaborate on an urban ecology research project. This research project is a partnership between the Chicago Botanic Garden and The Nature Conservancy that seeks to identify ecological and social factors driving biodiversity patterns and participation in community science programs throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. This project leverages community science observations from the platforms Budburst and iNaturalist to map the distribution and diversity of different taxonomic groups throughout the city. The overarching goals of this project are to (1) advance our understanding of factors driving biodiversity patterns in Chicago to help focus greening and restoration effort where they can best support conservation and environmental justice initiatives, and (2) understand factors driving participation in community science programs to focus outreach efforts and expand participation among underrepresented groups. This is a resource position working approximately 15 hours a week as needed. During this time of transition back to in-person office settings, remote work opportunities are being offered for this position.
Duties and Responsibilities:

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Identify and compile publicly available geospatial data on key ecological and social factors in the Chicago metropolitan area, including green spaces, impervious cover, housing density, and language spoken at home.
  • Compile community science observations conducted in Lake County and available via the iNaturalist and Budburst platforms.
  • Identify and compile publicly available geospatial data on the distribution of green spaces (e.g., green roofs, lawns) throughout Lake and Cook counties.
  • Assist the Conservation Scientist in developing a model using social and ecological factors to estimate biodiversity levels in undersampled portions of Lake and Cook counties.
  • May participate in field sampling efforts to measure biodiversity in undersampled areas.

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’s degree in a relevant field, including but not limited to environmental sciences, geography, social sciences, ecology, or biology
  • Experience using geospatial analysis software such as ArcGIS, R, or QuantumGIS required
  • Experience using statistical analysis software such as R or Matlab preferred but not required
  • Experience with database management and database management platforms such as Excel preferred but not required

*The Chicago Botanic Garden requires all existing employees to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated by October 15, 2021; hires after this date must be fully vaccinated upon hire or may request a medical/religious exemption after an offer is extended.*

Physical Demands:
Office setting. Frequent sitting, standing, walking, bending, listening, speaking, and keyboarding. Use of office equipment including computers, telephones, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. Some requirements for lifting, pushing, or pulling items less than 30 pounds.
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.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a M/F, Disabled, and Vet EEO/AA Employer.

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.