Research Intern (Ware Field Project) - Seasonal
Lisle, IL
Part Time

We have a new internship opportunity that has come available at The Morton Arboretum. We are hiring a short-term Research Intern, 3-5 days per week now through September. Work hours will be 8:30 am-4:30 pm (start/end times could be flexible by an hour either way). Open to hire 1-2 people for 18.75 hrs/week or 1 person at 37.5 hrs/week. The intern will assist with three experimental plantings in the Arboretum's research plots ("Ware Field").Specific duties include: running power and brush mowers, spreading mulch under a ca. 3,000-foot electric fence line, mowing, and removal of woody plants beneath the electric fence line. The intern will also assist with weeding shrubs and herbaceous plants in all three experiments as needed. Individuals possessing an herbicide applicator or operator license will be given strong consideration, but herbicide license is not required.


Position Summary: Research Interns at The Morton Arboretum also assist in laboratory and/or field operations under close supervision of an Arboretum scientist, but may have more independence depending on the research project. Specific responsibilities will vary with each research program. Research programs include soil science, root biology, plant health care, plant systematics, forest ecology, and conservation biology. 


Essential Functions: 

  • Provide support to a scientist for the implementation of research and related projects. 

  • Assist with data and sample collection, sample processing, data analysis, and record keeping on research and related projects. 

  • Operate and maintain laboratory equipment, and perform routine lab maintenance by keeping laboratory and field equipment in good working order. 

  • May maintain living plants in the field and greenhouse. 

  • May voucher and assist with the curation of herbarium specimens. 

  • Other duties as assigned.


Qualifications:  Current enrollment in, or completion of, high school, an Associate, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program, with a stated interest in studying biology, environmental sciences, or a related field. Organization and independent working skills preferred. Willingness and eagerness to learn  necessary field, laboratory, and library research skills required. Experience with database, spreadsheet, and statistical/graphics computer programs, and Google applications beneficial. Depending on the position, may require possession of a valid driver’s license, which is subject to insurability and an annual Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) report.


Success Factors:  Ability and willingness to work in laboratory and field environments. Good written and oral communication skills. Clear thought, visual acuity, and manual dexterity needed. Ability to embrace and operate in line with our employee core values to take ownership, work together, keep learning and make the Arboretum exceptional.


Physical Demands and Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • Physical Demands: Requires some physical activity: walking over varied terrain, bending, limited lifting and carrying (up to 50 lbs. assisted). Use of chemicals may be necessary. 

  • Work Environment: Office environment, Arboretum grounds, field locations, which may include state parks and forest preserves, and/or remote locations. Work is performed indoors and outdoors, in a variety of weather conditions.

  • Equipment: General office equipment, field and laboratory equipment, including specialized equipment relating to particular field of research, hand tools.



The Morton Arboretum is a champion of diversity, supporting a culture of inclusion that attracts, inspires, and engages people to achieve success.  The Arboretum is committed to hire and develop employees based on job-related qualifications irrespective of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or veteran status.  To increase diversity in professions related to the public garden realm, we encourage applications from underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans.  

The Morton Arboretum is dedicated to complying with our obligations as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All applicants are guaranteed equal consideration for employment.  

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