Plant Identification Field Technicians

Hiring Organization: Department of Forestry
Employment type: Seasonal
Application Due Date: May 15, 2023

Position description: The Walters Applied Forest Ecology Lab in the Department of Forestry at Michigan State University is seeking plant identification field technicians to conduct floristic surveys.  Our lab is conducting these surveys across 140 northern hardwood forest stands located throughout the northern lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan.

The overarching goal of this research project is to assess tree regeneration responses to a gradient of harvest intensity, and recent grant funding has allowed this assessment to expand into a more detailed floristic survey. This information will allow us to develop a more holistic understanding of the effects of forest harvest options on northern hardwood forest ecosystems. 

Technicians will employ various survey techniques, including line transects, quadrats, milacre plots, etc., and will be tasked with species-level plant identification.

Technicians must be comfortable traveling/working with a partner, or in some cases a team of four or five coworkers working on other aspects of the larger project.  Ability to work long days, over rough terrain while dealing with inclement weather is pivotal to success in these positions.


  • Experience with plant identification
  • Familiarity with Google Maps and GPS navigation
  • Interest in forest ecology
  • Ability to walk 2-3 miles per day on rough terrain
  • Valid driver’s license with acceptable driving record may be required

Compensation: Starting wage is $15/hour minimum, commensurate with experience, up to 40 hours per week.  Field housing will be provided free of charge to all crew members, as well as transportation on work days.

Time Frame: Work will be performed June – August 2023, potentially longer based on availability.

Working Conditions: The position will be field-based, including some hot and humid weather.  Field conditions may include carrying a less than 30-pound pack and exposure to inclement weather, uneven terrain, insects and allergens.

Location:  Field sites are located throughout the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula in Michigan. 

To Apply:

  • MSU students: Apply via Handshake by searching for Job #7437498 or email to Evan Farinosi at (cc: with “MSU Field Technician 2023” in the subject line.
  • Individuals who are not eligible for MSU student employment should apply to the Forestry Technician position at by searching for Job #844087.
  • Include a CV/resume, a brief cover letter outlining your interest in the position and relevant experience as well as your dates of availability, and three professional references with contact information (including email and phone number).

Deadline: Applications will be considered until May 15, 2023, or until the positions have been filled.  Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.


The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at Michigan State University (MSU) is committed to achieving excellence by creating and sustaining an accessible and inclusive culture that values cultural and academic diversity. MSU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. The CANR is particularly interested in candidates of all backgrounds who are committed to the principle that academic excellence is achieved through open access and proactive inclusion.