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Field Biologist Intern

Paint Rock Forest Research Center

Job Field:
Job Type:
Full Time


Location Detail:
Paint Rock, Alabama

Job Description:


Field Biologist Intern


Application Period:

open until filled


Dates for position:

1 Apr – 10 Nov 2024



$600/wk living allowance + housing + eligible for Americorps Education Award of $4826.50 upon successful completion of service


Job Description:

The Paint Rock Forest Research Center is a non-profit organization located in the Southern Cumberland Mountains of northeastern Alabama. We manage a biological field station at the 4,000-acre Sharp-Bingham Mountain Preserve (a property owned by The Nature Conservancy). Our largest, ongoing ecological research project is the Paint Rock Forest Dynamics Plot, an international and collaborative effort with the Smithsonian that monitors forest growth, species dynamics, and climate change effects to forests in a 50-year-long study. Did you know that Alabama is ranked in the top 5 states for biodiversity in the United States?!? Because of this rich biodiversity (especially here at the southern extent of the Appalachians), we also lead and/or participate collaboratively in a number of other conservation and ecological projects throughout the State of Alabama, including shortleaf pine savanna restoration, aquatic vertebrate and invertebrate surveys and preservation, cave mapping and ecological monitoring, bird and bat monitoring, internships for students, educational opportunities for K-12 and college students and teachers, and outreach and mentorship in the community.


We will be hiring three SCA (Student Conservation Association) interns to work on our forest dynamics plot tree census crew. Interns will spend most days measuring and mapping trees within a 150-ac plot. The work is tedious and repetitive, requiring that every tree with a diameter ≥ 10cm is tagged, measured (e.g., dbh and other three characteristics), and mapped. The ability to identify eastern trees is not required. A strong work ethic, and ability to work outside (and lead others) for the entire workday in difficult conditions (high heat and humidity, rugged terrain, sometimes rain) is an asset. On days when thunderstorms or other events prevent working in the field, folks will largely spend time entering and proofing data, but will also help with housing and gear maintenance. Interns will also have the opportunity to learn additional field skills by helping with our bird and bat studies, including helping with nest searching and monitoring of birds, resighting color-banded birds, conducting point count surveys, radio-tracking birds, and helping maintain a small array of ARUs (autonomous recording units). However, most of the interns’ time will be spent on the tree census. Interns may be required to drive a UTV to access the census plot, and some hiking (up to 3 miles per day) will be required daily over rough and challenging terrain (for folks who want to help with bird and bat work, hiking could be 5 or miles on some days). The preserve is remote and encompasses a mountainous and steep terrain that is often wet and requires care when hiking. Venomous snakes, chiggers, and ticks will likely be encountered daily, and snake gaiters will be provided if you would like to use them. Interns must have a flexible attitude and work expectations with regard to daily schedules, tasks, and unpredictable weather events. Interns will generally work 40-h per during the week, and have weekends off.



Housing is provided. Housing will include a shared room in a large house on the preserve that has all major appliances, heat and air, running water, and electricity. *Note that although the preserve is remote, it is accessible by car and folks may bring a car with them to commute to, and from, the preserve if they like.


Required qualifications:

• Must be a US citizen

• Must be at least 18 years old

• Ability to hike off trail in steep rugged terrain

• Capable of working outside to conduct field work in a challenging wilderness setting

• Passionate about field work


Desired qualifications:

• Experience with working outside and/or conducting field work

• Experience with working or living in remote settings

$600/wk + housing + eligible for Americorps education award

How to Apply:

To apply, please send a cover letter and cv (including a list of phone numbers and email addresses for at least three work references) as a single document to Ruby Hammond at The application period is open and applications will be reviewed as they are received. After we offer internships to candidates, and they accept the positions, we will direct them on how to officially complete the required SCA paperwork. If you have any questions about the position, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ruby.


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