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Conservation Science Research Assistant Posted May 17
Highstead , Redding, CT
Highstead is seeking a highly qualified early-career scientist for a six-month Conservation Science Research Assistant position. The research assistant (RA) will provide technical and scientific support for the Wildlands and Woodlands Initiative, a partnership between Highstead and the Harvard Forest.

About the Position

The RA will work with senior researchers at both Highstead and Harvard Forest, and possibly with external collaborators, to complete the development of a regional GIS database on protected open space. The RA will be expected to lead all geospatial data management, including quality assessment, and readying the data for distribution. Additionally, the RA will contribute to innovative research on the trends in land protection, conservation easements, and publication of findings in major scientific and popular publications. Specifically, the RA will:

• Complete a major quality assurance/control analysis (QA/QC), and take any necessary corrective steps on our existing regional geospatial database.
• Develop a plan for Highstead to curate these protected open space and conservation easement databases into the future, including sourcing future updates, annual QA/QC, web-based distribution, etc.
• Conduct analyses, using the database, to understand how trends in protected open space have influenced, and been influence by, socio-economic and ecological dynamics such as land use, conservation priorities, funding, and policy factors.
• Contribute to a high-quality peer-reviewed manuscript on the findings, and publish at least one additional popular article on the status of land protection in New England.


We seek a recent graduate from a Bachelor or, preferably, a Master’s program in geospatial science, geography, conservation, natural resources, or other related background. While technical geospatial expertise is critical, we seek someone with familiarity with land conservation, land use, landscape ecology, or remote sensing databases. Candidates must be meticulous about data and have excellent writing, research, and organizational skills. Priority will be given to candidates with strong GIS, database development, analytical programming (e.g., R and/or python), and quantitative skills.


• This is a 6-month term position with a competitive hourly wage, and possibility of extension.
• RA will be located in either Petersham, MA or Redding, CT. We will assist RA with locating housing.
• Travel expenses will be reimbursed.

To Apply

Submit curriculum vitae and 1-page letter of interest with “Conservation Science Research Assistant” in the subject. Review of applications will begin May 25 and continue until position is filled.

About Highstead

Highstead is a regional non-profit conservation organization dedicated to working with regional partners and the best available science to conserve the New England landscape. With Harvard Forest and others, Highstead seeks to advance the Wildlands and Woodlands vision by partnering with and promoting the efforts of other organizations and agencies. Its principal programs include catalyzing the land protection activities of RCPs and the RCP Network, conservation finance, ecological research, policy analysis, and land stewardship. Founded in 1982 and located in the conservation landscape of Redding, CT, Highstead encompasses diverse natural areas, long-term studies on ecological dynamics, beautiful office and meeting facilities, and unique collections of trees and shrubs.

About Harvard Forest

Harvard Forest has been Harvard University’s rural laboratory and classroom for ecological research and education since 1907. The Forest comprises 4,000 acres of forests, ponds, streams, wetlands, farm fields, and buildings that provide diverse natural and cultural landscapes for study, habitat, diverse products, and enjoyment. The Forest is protected from development and operates under a long-term management plan designating specific areas for active forest management, agriculture, long-term scientific experiments, and wildland reserves. Since its founding, the Forest has been a pioneer in applying the lessons from human and natural history to the interpretation and conservation of landscapes.