Highstead Seeks Conservation Science Research Assistant – Summer/Fall 2017

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 to jcologgi@highstead.net, with “Conservation Science Research Assistant” in the subject. Review of applications will begin May 25 and continue until position is filled.