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Job Posting: Schoolyard Ecology Program Coordinator at Harvard Forest

17 Feb 2022 7:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Schoolyard Ecology Program Coordinator


The Harvard Forest (HF) Schoolyard Ecology Program, which serves 70 teachers and 3,500+ students in grades 4-12 annually, seeks a part-time Coordinator to lead the program into its third decade. The program’s primary goal is to support educators in the U.S. Northeast to conduct authentic ecological field studies with their students, by exploring trees and ecosystems within walking distance of their schools. To date, 164 schools have submitted data from their field studies, and these data can be freely explored online.

Schools from urban, suburban, and rural districts participate in the HF Schoolyard Ecology program. A core strategic goal for the coming decade is to better support teachers from urban districts in collecting field data with their students. This is part of a larger aim to empower students from all communities to recognize the importance of their home ecosystems and their local knowledge in creating a sustainable future. Another core programmatic goal is to further leverage the Forest’s deep connections with university students, scientists, and a range of land stewards – including Indigenous community leaders and conservation organizations – to offer youth a range of affirming pathways to future land stewardship and STEM careers.

Our work is guided by a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion; each staff contributor brings passion, sincerity, and honest self-reflection to fulfilling the program’s vital role in cultivating the next generation of land stewards and STEM leaders, inspiring and supporting teachers as they face myriad challenges in the classroom, and honoring the people and ecosystems that sustain our work. The program is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research Program and annual grants from private foundations.


Under the supervision of HF’s Director of Education and Outreach, and in partnership with HF ecologists and partner organizations, the Coordinator will:

  • 75% - Manage the day-to-day work of the Schoolyard Ecology program:
    • Organize and work with scientists to lead professional development workshops (remote and in-person) to help teachers build skills in field data collection and data analysis/graphing, and to create new opportunities for teacher peer leadership
    • Collaborate on program development and implementation with core partners, including HF ecologists, the HF Information Manager, and fellow HF educators
    • Work closely with professionals/allies in diversity and inclusion, to continue to develop HF Schoolyard Ecology as a welcoming, inspiring, and affirming learning space for all, and to honor more attentively the Indigenous communities whose unceded lands are the basis for our learning
    • Liaise with partner organizations, such as conservation organizations (Mass Audubon, Connecticut Audubon), educational institutions (the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the Wade Institute for Science Education), and networks (the US LTER Network) to support collaborative events and programs
    • Supervise and mentor program contributors throughout the year:
      • a seasonal, part-time project coach, who supports teachers in setting up their field studies and managing their data
      • seasonal teacher researchers (1-2 per year) completing summer RET internships with HF ecologists
      • part-time graduate students (1 per year) contributing to HF K-12 programming
      • Schoolyard teachers with longevity in the program, who serve as peer mentors, build curricular tools, assist with workshops, and more
    • Communicate regularly with the program’s community of educators (classroom teachers and informal educators), maintaining a supportive two-way relationship through emails, writing and curating content for the program blog, and more
  • 15% - In collaboration with the Education Director, contribute to federal and foundation grant proposals and program strategic planning, including work toward new initiatives to connect youth with university students and conservation leaders.
  • 10% - Lead field trips for K-12 students (including scouts and other informal education groups) to visit Harvard Forest and the Fisher Museum, including maintaining a scholarship program to welcome groups who enrich diversity in STEM 


Bachelor’s degree and at least two years’ experience as a full-time, formal classroom teacher of grades 4-12, including direct experience with STEM teaching and assessment.


A successful candidate will possess:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrated leadership in supporting formal and informal K-12 educators through professional development workshops and one-on-one communication
  • Experience bringing K-12 students outdoors to learn, especially connecting students in urban communities to hands-on, outdoor STEM experiences
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, inclusion, and collegiality; experience in creating a welcoming and encouraging environment for a diverse range of colleagues, students, and educators
  • Experience in professional collaborations with scientists, Indigenous community leaders, environmental education organizations, and/or conservation organizations
  • Demonstrated interest in environmentally focused fields. Note that our content focus tends to be driven by core HF research, such as investigating the drivers of land change in the U.S. Northeast (climate change, invasive insects, and past/present human land use)
  • Demonstrated facility with remote programming, including leading events with web-conferencing software such as Zoom
  • Demonstrated knowledge of NGSS and state STEM teaching standards/frameworks
  • Experience with program evaluation


The University requires all Harvard community members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and remain up to date with COVID-19 vaccine boosters, as detailed in Harvard’s Vaccine & Booster Requirements. Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. More information regarding the University’s COVID vaccination requirement, exemptions, and verification of vaccination status may be found at the University’s “COVID-19 Vaccine Information” webpage: http://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine-information/.


This is a grant-funded, part-time (up to 22 hours weekly), benefits-eligible position with a salary grade of 55. The initial term is 6 months, with the possibility for extension based on funding and performance.

To apply, submit via the following: a resume/CV, cover letter, and a sample STEM lesson plan and assessment rubric that you have created.

Application review will begin February 28, 2022; the position will remain open until it is filled.

To view an FAQ, submit an anonymous question, and find information about a webinar Q&A with the search committee on February 22, visit https://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/schoolyard-ecology-program-coordinator-search-2022. You may also direct questions to Clarisse Hart, HF Director of Education and Outreach, at hart3@fas.harvard.edu.

The Harvard Forest welcomes full participation by individuals with disabilities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact the search committee (see FAQ), or contact our administrative team at hfvisit@fas.harvard.edu. Learn more about accessibility at Harvard Forest at https://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/accessibility-harvard-forest.

  • Harvard University has a generous flexible work policy; at least one day per week on-site in Petersham is required.
  • Harvard University offers an outstanding benefits package including:
  • Time Off: 3 - 4 weeks paid vacation, paid holiday break, 12 paid sick days, 12.5 paid holidays, and 3 paid personal days per year.
  • Medical/Dental/Vision
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive tuition assistance program, $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and discounted options through participating Harvard grad schools.
  • Child Care: Limited scholarship funds are available to help defray the cost of childcare. Awards are based on household income.
  • Wellness options: Harvard offers programs and classes at little or no cost, including stress management, massages, nutrition, meditation, and complementary health services.

Unfortunately, Harvard University cannot sponsor international visas for this position.

We particularly encourage applications from members of groups that have been historically underrepresented in the sciences (Black, Indigenous, and people of color, women, individuals with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members) and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community.

Harvard is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Applications from women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions or any other characteristic protected by law. 

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