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USFS Arctic Field Research Opportunity

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.
USFS Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is available with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) at Toolik Field Station located in Northwest Alaska.
At the heart of the U.S. Forest Service's mission is their purpose. Everything they do is intended to help sustain forests and grasslands for present and future generations. Why? Because their stewardship work supports nature in sustaining life. This is the purpose that drives the agency’s mission and motivates their work across the agency. It’s been there from the agency’s very beginning, and it still drives them. To advance the mission and serve their purpose, the U.S. Forest Service balances the short and long-term needs of people and nature by: working in collaboration with communities and our partners; providing access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality; connecting people to the land and one another; and delivering world-class science, technology and land management.
Research ProjectThis project involves vegetation sampling July 3-August 4 at the University of Alaska Toolik Field Station on Alaska’s North Slope. The opportunity is part of the Arctic Observing Networks collaborative research project: Sustaining and amplifying the ITEX AON through automation and increased interdisciplinarity of observations. We are particularly interested in people with experience working with vegetation sampling, botanical expertise, and familiarity with the arctic flora. Field sampling involves “point-framing” or identifying species within a 1 meter square grid. We will sample several plots over four large grids, two at experimental sites near the Toolik Field Station (International Tundra Experiment or ITEX), and two larger grids nearby. In all we will sample about 240 plots. The purpose of the research is long term monitoring of vegetation change in the Arctic, documenting the effect of changing climate. There are many students and researchers involved at a variety of projects at the Toolik Field Research Station, studying water quality, wildlife, landscape change, and other topics. The mentorship provides great opportunities for networking and learning about science careers.
Learning ObjectivesAs a result of this training the participant will improve their skills in field sampling for ecological studies, gain expertise in the arctic flora, and learn to collaborate as a team. The participant will gain exposure to a wide range of research disciplines and researchers working at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Toolik Lake Field Research Station, with many opportunities to network and explore future research options.
MentorThe mentor for this opportunity is William Gould ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: June 26, 2023.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.
Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for seven (7) weeks but may be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.
Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.
Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. 
Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR).
ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.
Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.

The qualified candidate should have received a an associate's or bachelor's degree in one of the relevant fields or be currently pursuing one of the degrees with completion before June 30, 2023. Most recent degree must have been received within the past eight years.
Preferred Skills:
  • Some experience in field research, botanical interest and some expertise, experience in outdoor working environment.
  • Ideal applicant with extensive knowledge and experience in identifying vascular, bryophyte, and lichen flora of the Alaska Arctic.