USFS California Schoolyard Trees Fellowship

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Reference Code
How to Apply

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A complete application package consists of:

  • An application
  • Transcript(s) – For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or copy of the student academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from internal institution systems may be submitted.  Selected candidate must provide proof of completion of the degree before the appointment can start.  Click Here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • A current resume/CV
  • Two educational or professional recommendations. At least one recommendation must be submitted in order for the mentor to view your application.

All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.

Application Deadline
9/8/2023 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

USFS Office/Lab and Location: A fellowship opportunity is available within the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) with the Pacific Southwest Research Station. The selected participant may participate out of the Vallejo or Riverside Forest Service offices in California. Options for hybrid or remote participation may be considered.

The USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station leads research and development to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of forests and grasslands. PSW, along with its many partners, advances science to support sustainability and biodiversity of ecosystems, hydrologic functioning of watersheds, and the livability and provisioning of services across the wildland to urban gradient in California, Hawai’i, and the US-affiliated Pacific Islands, as well as across the US and around the world.

Research ProjectThe USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station is seeking a talented individual to join our urban forestry research team to contribute to a project about trees in K-12 schools. Urban forestry is the science and management of trees in cities, towns, suburbs. School campus trees represent microcosms of issues that exist in urban forests more generally, including both benefits (e.g., shade and thermal comfort) and challenges (e.g., sustained long-term maintenance, inequities in tree distribution). 

Under the guidance of a mentor, fellowship activities may include:

  • Clean and analyze statewide planting records for K-12 public school campus plantings.
  • Collaborate closely with Forest Service and university researchers to coordinate field season preparations and support field teams.
  • Support geospatial analysis and maps of schoolyard trees and/or canopy.
  • Systematic search and review of relevant literature.
  • Participate in state and regional conferences and events (including travel), and support annual progress reports, to share findings with practitioner and researcher audiences.
  • Support the development or adaptation of urban forestry related STEM enrichment activities for schools.

Learning ObjectiveThe ORISE fellow will join an interdisciplinary team and will gain experience at multiple phases of project development. The fellow will develop skills in tree data management, science communication, and sustaining collaborative interdisciplinary research-practice partnerships.

MentorThe mentor(s) for this opportunity are Lara Roman ( and Natalie van Doorn ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: October 1, 2023.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for two years but may be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. The current annual stipend for this opportunity is $66,134 - $70,674 and includes a medical insurance supplement.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR).

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified applicant should have received a master's degree in one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing the degree with completion by the end of December 2023. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred skills/experience:

  • The fellowship is suitable to those with experience in a wide array of natural, physical, or social science fields, including but not limited to: ecology, forestry, urban forestry, horticulture, landscape architecture, urban planning, geography, environmental science/studies, earth science, or data science.
  • Demonstrated skills with quantitative data and science writing.
  • R skills, GIS skills and/or prior experience with field-based ecological or environmental research are also beneficial for this fellowship, but it is not required to have skills in all three.
  • Successful candidates will be well-organized, detail-oriented, self-motivated, diligent with problem-solving, function well independently and in collaborative team settings, and have a high capacity for science communication.
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: LPR or U.S. Citizen
  • Degree: Master's Degree received within the last 60 months or anticipated to be received by 12/31/2023 12:00:00 AM.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Business (1 )
    • Chemistry and Materials Sciences (12 )
    • Communications and Graphics Design (2 )
    • Computer, Information, and Data Sciences (17 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (21 )
    • Engineering (27 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (14 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (48 )
    • Mathematics and Statistics (11 )
    • Other Non-Science & Engineering (2 )
    • Physics (16 )
    • Science & Engineering-related (2 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (29 )