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 ForestGEO International Internship Program


The Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Tropical Forest Science – Forest Global Earth Observatories (CTFS-ForestGEO) seeks international students or recent graduates for long-term forest ecology research projects at two forest dynamics plots in Virginia and Wisconsin, USA. 

CTFS-ForestGEO is a unified, global network of forest research plots and scientists dedicated to the study of tropical and temperate forest function and diversity. The multi-institutional network comprises over 60 forest research plots across the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe. CTFS-ForestGEO monitors the growth and survival of approximately 6 million trees and 10,000 species that occur in the forest plots. 

Learning Objectives

Interns will gain experience measuring tree growth, mortality, and recruitment in geo-referenced plots that were previously surveyed in 2013. Interns will build experience in the following areas:

  • Conduct forest tree census according to CTFS-ForestGEO protocols, including measurement of tree growth, recording mortality, and mapping of new recruits in a geo-referenced forest plot. 
  • Develop critical fieldwork skills in forest ecology, including navigating using a forest plot map, measuring and recording raw data, and working as part of a team. 
  • Learn about diversity of temperate forests and tree species taxonomy. 
  • Help with other ecology field research projects or conduct a side project analyzing the data collected.
  • Gain exposure to non-profit, international science program. 


Successful applicants must be a current student or have a recent university degree (within 3 years) and some experience in forest field research. A strong work ethic, attention to detail, enthusiasm to work outdoors under a range of weather conditions, and ability to work effectively with a team are essential for all applicants. Experience with a ForestGEO site is highly preferred. 

Terms of Appointment

Interns will be compensated with a stipend sufficient to cover living expenses. Housing near the field sites will be available. Smithsonian will assist interns with obtaining a J1 visitor visa to the US. 

Interns may be accepted to one of two ForestGEO sites: Wabikon in Wisconsin, or SCBI in Front Royal, Virginia.

Wabikon Lake, Wisconsin: 3 month position (mid-May to mid-August 2018). The internship will be based at the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA. Field site is the Nicolet-Chequamegon National Forest near Crandon, Wisconsin. Two international internship positions are available. 

SCBI, Virginia: 6 month position (March through September 2018). The intern will be based at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. One to two international internship positions are available. 

Application Procedure 
Applications will be accepted until December 1, 2017. Please send 1) a cover letter outlining past field or research experience, 2) a detailed resume or CV, and 3) contact information for 2-3 references to Lauren Krizel,

The Smithsonian Institution values and seeks a diverse workforce; female and minority candidates are encouraged to apply.