Forest ecology field technician; California

Michigan State University
California - various locations
Job Category
Temporary/Seasonal Positions
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
The Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University (MSU), in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service Northern & Pacific Southwest Research Stations, seeks applications for field technicians on a study investigating forest resilience and carbon recovery after fire in Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forests. The crew will be responsible for re-measuring a unique network of field plots in California mixed-conifer forests where pre-, active-, and immediate post-wildfire measurements were collected. Fieldwork will consist of measuring forest structure and composition (identifying trees and shrubs to species, measuring DBH, height, crown characteristics, surface and ground fuels measurements, herbaceous cover). These data will support the overall project goals of (1) determining how pre-fire fuels and environmental factors influence fire behavior and forest carbon loss; (2) defining thresholds of forest resilience, and (3) evaluating the recovery of forest vegetation and carbon stocks. Students and post-graduates seeking field experience for a career in ecology, forestry, or related topics are encouraged to apply. We anticipate hiring one crew member to join a crew of three. Logistics: The crew will travel weekly for field work at sites across the Sierra Nevada range, between May 17th and September 2021. Shared crew housing will be provided free of charge and camping will be required during most field weeks. Three- or four-month appointments are available, with exact dates determined by the applicant availability (please indicate this in your cover letter). Salary is commensurate with experience.
The successful candidate will have a high level of technical aptitude, attention to detail, and demonstrated ability to work effectively as a member of a team. Past experience collecting soil samples is desired. This position is targeted towards recent BSc graduates and/or advanced upper-level students in a relevant discipline, or applicants with equivalent work experience. The following requirements apply to all candidates: Must be able to hike in rugged terrain carrying up to 40lb packs and work long hours in potentially inclement weather. All candidates must have a current valid US Driver’s License with a clean driving record (<3 moving infractions in the past 36 months). Past experience operating 4WD vehicles on unimproved roads is desired. Candidates are required to provide evidence of current first aid and CPR certification at the time of hiring. Candidates are expected to provide their own personal camping supplies and gear. The crew will be expected to comply with current COVID-19 guidelines. To Apply: Apply online at to position number 687937. Upload the following required documents: (1) a letter of interest detailing qualifications for the position, its relevance to your career goals, and the start/end dates of your availability; (2) resume/curriculum vitae, (3) a list of 3 professional references with contact information (institution, email address, phone number), (4) a copy of your driver’s license. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Questions about the position should be directed to Dr. Joseph Birch at MSU is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage applications from, and nominations of, women, persons of color, veterans, persons with disabilities and other individuals who can contribute to the intellectual diversity and cultural richness at Michigan State University.
Contact Person
Joseph Birch
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