Forest Census Technician Position(s)

Deadline to Submit an Application – February 20, 2024
Employment type – Temporary Federal
Anticipated work start date – April 2024
Duration of position – Approximately 20 weeks
Location – Edgewater, MD
Work model – In-person only

Position Description:

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) is seeking well qualified forest ecology technicians to conduct the fourth census of the ForestGEO plot. A solid forest ecology background is preferred, but experience in another science related field including previous field work will be considered. The inventory of all woody plants within a 16 ha forest plot will be conducted. This requires following a measuring protocol, identifying woody plant species, and mapping stems on a 10×10 m established PVC grid. Accepted personnel will gain experience with field data collection techniques using tablets (iPads) and the Esri Field Maps application as well as data management expertise. Personnel will be trained and supervised by SERC staff, but will work independently in the field.


Qualified applicants should have experience in field-based research or forest mensuration techniques or possess an undergraduate degree in forest ecology, botany, conservation biology, or a closely related field.  The contractor(s) should have the ability to hike for long periods of time and in a variety of weather conditions. The ability to handle harsh outdoor conditions on a daily basis will be necessary:  such as ticks, poison ivy, thorns, cold, heat and humidity. Knowledge of plant species common to the eastern U.S./mid-Atlantic region is preferred. The ability to collect accurate and detailed data using tablets is necessary. Those with familiarity working in an established plot using survey protocols, with mapping experience, and/or the use of digital data collection will be given priority.

Read the full position description and apply here.
Key Responsibilities:
  • All new woody stems 1 cm in diameter at 1.3 m in height from the ground will be tagged, measured, mapped, and identified to species
  • All previous stems from the prior three censuses will be re-measured unless down and dead
  • Each stem will be painted at the height of measure for future reference
  • DBH checks will be conducted after the first two weeks of training and again for each hectare as the census progresses
  • Data collection will be digital – using iPads or other tablets and the Field Maps application

Fieldwork will be conducted at SERC in Edgewater, MD. SERC has an active staff of researchers working on a wide range of subjects from forest ecology to marine and estuarine science. We have a LEED Platinum certified lab facility that will be the central location of all work. SERC is located close to the historic Maryland state capitol of Annapolis as well as Washington D.C. and Baltimore.