Employment at the Garden

Research Assistant - Lawn Alternatives

Job Status:
Requisition Number:
Reports to:
Conservation Scientist
The Plant Science and Conservation department is seeking two seasonal, part-time, research assistants to collaborate on a research project studying lawn alternative plantings. This project is a partnership between the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Chicago Park District. The main objectives of the study are to study the potential for lawn alternatives to support diverse plants and pollinators, store carbon, and absorb stormwater; and to determine how to successfully establish lawn alternative plantings. Experimental field sites are currently installed at two Chicago Park District sites: Marquette Park and Marian R. Byrnes Park. This year (spring/summer 2022), a new experimental site will be established at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and additional plots will be added to the existing field site at Marquette Park to begin testing establishment methods.
Duties and Responsibilities:

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Collecting field data on plant cover at experimental field sites.
  • Collecting field data on pollinator visitation at experimental field sites.
  • Collecting and preparing soil data for analysis.
  • Testing methods to assess water retention of various plantings.
  • Occasional help with plot installation and management.
  • Entering field data.
  • Additional responsibilities can vary depending on student interest, and may include (but is not limited to): lab work on seeds or soils, data analysis and presentation, and outreach events with the Chicago Botanic Garden and Chicago Park District.
  • Depending on their interests, research assistants will be able to expand their work into independent research projects and, if interested, attend/present at conferences.
  • Travel to field sites will be the responsibility of the research assistant, and mileage and/or public transportation costs will be reimbursed.

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:

*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.*



Apply for Seasonal Research Assistant - Lawn Alternatives  using the link below:

Click here to apply.


Physical Demands:
Spending significant time outdoors. 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, or 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.