Employment at the Garden

Soil Ecology Research Assistant

Job Status:
Requisition Number:
Reports to:
Senior Scientist, Soil and Mycorrhizal Ecology Adjunct Professor, Graduate Program in Plant Biology and Conservation
• The Research Assistant will help to implement an NSF-funded research project investigating the potential of perennial ecologically intensive agriculture in landscape restoration.
• The Research Assistant will primarily be responsible for maintaining field experimental plots, soil and plant sampling, and assisting with laboratory analyses of soil and plant samples.
• The Research Assistant will also support field studies of native prairie plants in the same NSF-funded research project.
Duties and Responsibilities:

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Assisting with soil sampling and archiving
  • Assisting with soil chemical and physical analyses
  • Initiating and monitoring biological assays
  • Maintaining agroecosystem plots (hoeing, weeding, transplanting seedlings)
  • Lab inventory
  • Dishwashing, basic lab cleanliness
  • Assisting with native prairie plant field research

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:

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology, environmental science or similar
  • Basic experience working in a chemistry, soil ecology, environmental science, or other biological science laboratory
  • Good chemistry bench skills
  • Ability to perform repetitive field and lab tasks
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to keep detailed and well-organized records

Desired Qualifications:

  • Experience performing soil ecology research, especially chemical analyses, and an interest in soil molecular techniques
  • Proficiency in field plot and plant maintenance, including rototilling, fencing, irrigation, mowing
  • Knowledge of basic statistics and proficiency with R

*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 Soil Ecology Research Assistant - Seasonal Part-time using the link below:

Click here to apply.


Physical Demands:
Lab setting. Frequent sitting, standing, walking, bending, listening, speaking, and keyboarding. Use of office equipment including computers, telephones, and copiers. Field setting. Some requirements for bending, walking in crop fields, as well as 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.