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Research Intern for Plants of Concern/Forest Preserves of Cook County

Chicago Botanic Garden

Glencoe ,  Illinois

Overview: This 36-week, 35-hour/week position involves monitoring rare plants in the Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) 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 recruit and train volunteer monitors, entering/analyzing monitoring data including GIS applications, and assisting with reports. There will be occasional weekend work. The position begins early to mid April 2017.

Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role, you will be responsible for the following:

  • Collecting field-monitoring data: counting or estimating the 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 a liaison between FPCC ecologists, stewards, and POC staff regarding plant locations and volunteer assignments
  • Presentation of work accomplished.

April through September: Attend a POC training workshop. Engage in monitoring field work throughout the Forest Preserves system. Reach out to volunteer stewards at sites where POC monitoring occurs. Help train and provide field support to volunteer monitors as needed. Begin data entry and any analysis projects requested by FPCC.

October through December: Follow up with volunteers regarding report submission. Follow up with site stewards on land management activities. Enter data and assist the POC research assistant in conducting statistical and GIS analysis for presentation to Forest Preserves staff at an advisory group meeting and in grant reports. Help finalize POC reports.


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
  • Experience with all Microsoft Office functions, especially Excel and Access
  • Basic statistical and ArcGIS software experience
  • Statistical analysis experience is 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
  • Please include employment application, cover letter, resumé, and names and contact information for three references when applying.

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.

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