Job Opportunity

Crew Lead for 2023 census of SCBI ForestGEO plot

Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI) is seeking a well-qualified forest ecology technician to lead the 2023 census of the Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO) plot at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute outside of Front Royal, VA. This individual will serve as crew lead, overseeing and participating in census work on a daily basis and coordinating with plot principal investigators Dr. William McShea and Dr. Kristina Anderson-Teixeira. The successful applicant will lead teams through the inventory of all woody plants within a large (25.6 ha) forest dynamics plot, including species identification and mapping. The individual will help pioneer new data collection and management techniques using tablets and a system of automated quality control, and will be invited to coauthor at least one publication arising from the census.


Qualified applicants should possess an undergraduate degree in forest ecology, botany, conservation biology, or a related field and be interested in a career in one of these areas. It is critical that the individual have an understanding of and/or ability to quickly learn forest mensuration techniques, including mapping, and the ability to lead others through the collection of accurate and detailed data using tablets. Those with forest census experience -- particularly at a ForestGEO plot -- will be given priority. Individuals with knowledge of plant species common to the eastern U.S./mid-Atlantic will be given priority. The individual should have the ability to hike for long periods of time and in a variety of weather conditions and be comfortable with long periods of outdoor work. They must either be (a) a US citizen / permanent resident or (b) a foreign national with a visa status that allows them to do business in the US and current registration in SAMWe are committed to diversity in science, and especially welcome applications from women and minoritized groups.


The successful applicant will be contracted from spring (March or April) to late fall (November or December) 2023.


Field work will be conducted at NZCBI's Front Royal Campus (1500 Remount Rd; Front Royal, VA), located at the northern end of Shenandoah National Park and ~1.5 hours from Washington D.C. NZCBI has an active staff of researchers working on a wide range of subjects from ecology to conservation breeding and genetics, and interns will interact with these researchers and attend regular seminars. The ForestGEO plot is located on the NZCBI campus, a short drive from the central facilities, including offices, labs, classroom buildings, dorms, a cafeteria, and a gym. Facility is located in a rural area with no public transportation options.


This position will be filled as a contract, with payments based on monthly deliverables based on survey progress. Contract amount is based on applicant bids. We will provide further guidance on the process to candidates who qualify through the first round of review.

How to Apply

To apply, please send a single PDF file containing (1) a brief (≤1 p.) cover letter summarizing experience and leadership philosophy, including how you would ensure that serving on the census crew would be a positive experience for diverse participants; (2) a CV, and (3) contact information for three references to Dr. Kristina Anderson-Teixeira at in an email entitled “SCBI crew lead application”.

Review of applications will begin November 14, 2022.

The full ad for this position will be posted at Answers to all questions received from potential applicants (anonymized) will be posted to that page.

Job Locations: 
Front Royal, Virginia, USA