Research Fellowship

Posted 11/20/2020

Great Hollow Nature Preserve & Ecological Research Center is pleased to announce a two-year fellowship to support a visiting scientist in residence at our preserve in New Fairfield, Connecticut. The Fellow will: (1) conduct independent research at the preserve and/or other appropriate study sites in the region, (2) assist with other research projects of Great Hollow’s, (3) coordinate Great Hollow’s summer internship program, and (4) contribute to the general day-to-day operation of Great Hollow as a member of our small staff, including occasional assistance with education and outreach programs. The ideal candidate will be an ecologist whose research is field-based, integrative, innovative, has a conservation application, and will complement Great Hollow’s current areas of study. Candidates may work in any discipline that is relevant to the biodiversity and ecological communities of New England, but wildlife ecologists will likely be the most competitive.  The fellowship is primarily intended for early-career scientists who have completed their PhD within the past 5 years, but post-doctoral researchers at any career stage are eligible to apply. PhD candidates who expect to defend during the spring of 2021, have a strong publication record, and have an appropriate level of research and mentorship experience will also be considered.

About Great Hollow

Founded in 2016, Great Hollow is an environmental education and research center located in New Fairfield, Connecticut, a little more than an hour north of New York City. Its 825-acre preserve is contiguous or nearly contiguous with thousands of acres of additional protected land in Connecticut and neighboring New York State. The preserve is predominantly second-growth deciduous and mixed forest with a trout stream, beaver impoundment, vernal pools, and small patches of old field and shrubland. More than 4 miles of hiking trails extend through the western half of the preserve and are open to the public year-round. The other half of the preserve lacks trails and is closed to the public, but is usable for research.

Great Hollow conducts conservation-driven studies of biodiversity in Connecticut and beyond to better understand human impacts to the environment and provide science that can help inform management decisions and public policy. Our research spans the fields of animal ecology, ecophysiology, and ecotoxicology as they relate to the effects of invasive species, land use change, and pollution on wildlife and habitat quality.  We take a collaborative approach to research, working closely with partners across academia, government, and other NGOs to most effectively and efficiently approach scientific studies of common interest. Great Hollow also operates as a biological field station that is open to external researchers. Facilities at the preserve include housing, offices, classroom space, and a basic wet lab. The lab is modestly equipped with a -80° C freezer, refrigerator, fume hood, research-grade dissecting scope with camera, analytical balance, drying oven, Berlese funnels, autoclave, Soxhlet fat extraction apparatus, hemoglobin and hematocrit meter, water bath, microcentrifuges, vortexer, variable pipettes, and basic glassware. Applicants should specify whether the research they would propose conducting as the Fellow would require any specialized laboratory equipment or analytical capabilities that are not available at Great Hollow. Arrangements can often be made to use or have samples analyzed in the labs of other institutions with which Great Hollow collaborates or is affiliated.

Primary Responsibilities

The Fellow will be responsible for designing and conducting independent research at Great Hollow Nature Preserve and/or other appropriate sites in the region, and submitting that work for publication within the 24-month fellowship period. Projects that have a conservation application are preferred but not required. The Fellow will be expected to apply for extramural funding to help support their research (e.g., equipment/supplies, offsite lab analyses, field assistant wages), but the research should be designed to be accomplishable even if efforts to secure funding are unsuccessful. The Fellow will be provided with a modest budget of $2,500 per year for direct research expenses if external funding is not acquired.

The other primary responsibility of the Fellow will be to coordinate Great Hollow’s 10-week summer internship program. This includes managing the internship application and selection process, and directly mentoring the two to four selected interns (who are usually undergraduates, but may sometimes include post-bac or graduate students) as they assist with Great Hollow’s research projects and/or conduct independent projects of their own. The Fellow will be encouraged to use the interns as field assistants in his/her research and may initially hire interns with particular skillsets and experience to be most helpful to them. For interns who are interested in conducting their own independent research, the Fellow will help them to design feasible projects, mentor them on data collection, data analysis, and scientific writing, and coordinate their daily activities.


The term of the fellowship is 24 months, with minimal potential for extension or transition into a permanent position. The start date must be no later than April 1st.


  • Ph.D. in biology, ecology, natural resources management, conservation biology, or a related field, preferably earned within the past 5 years. Ph.D. candidates who expect to defend by the spring of 2021 will also be considered.
  • Independent research experience that has included study design, field work, field crew supervision, data analysis, and publication of results.
  • Strong quantitative skills and proficiency with biological statistics, including the use of R.
  • A minimum of two first-author publications in relevant peer-reviewed journals.
  • Demonstrated success securing grants or other extramural funding.
  • Experience teaching or mentoring students, preferably with independent research projects.
  • Familiarity with northeastern U.S. flora, fauna, ecosystems, and general principles of habitat management.
  • Familiarity with a range of standard field research techniques that will enable the Fellow to mentor interns on projects outside of his/her area of expertise.
  • English fluency and an ability to effectively communicate with other staff, interns, and members of the public.
  • Ability to work well with others as part of a small team.
  • ​Ability to live in shared, smoke-free and drug-free housing with respect for others.
  • U.S. citizenship or authorization to work in the U.S.
  • Valid driver’s license.


The Fellow will receive: (1) free on-site housing and utilities (valued at ~ $12,000 per year), (2) ConnectiCare personal health insurance, (3) a salary of $40,000 per year, and (4) a performance-based annual bonus. The housing includes a private bedroom with a queen bed in one of two shared houses at Great Hollow Nature Preserve. Both houses are newly renovated and furnished, and have a fully equipped kitchen, cable tv, and wireless internet. A washer and dryer are also available on-site. One house has one full-time occupant year-round; the other house has up to three seasonal occupants during the summer and is empty the remainder of the year. The housing is not suitable for families with children, and minors are not allowed to stay in the housing under our insurance policy. Pets are allowed under most circumstances but need to be approved in advance by the executive director.

Application Instructions

Please submit the following to apply.

  1. A single PDF containing:
  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Research statement that includes a description of how your research experience fits the fellowship and Great Hollow’s mission, and up to three ideas for potential projects that you would conduct as the Fellow (no more than 3 pages single-spaced)
  • Contact information for, and relationships to, three professional references

2. PDFs of up to three selected publications that are the most relevant to the area of research you would conduct as the Fellow

Applications will be reviewed as they are received and accepted until January 21, 2021. Applications should be addressed to Great Hollow’s executive director, Chad Seewagen, and emailed to . Please put “RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP [Last name_First name]” in the subject line.

Great Hollow is an equal opportunity employer. We are dedicated to providing a non-discriminatory and harassment-free environment for all employees, volunteers, members, and program participants. Discrimination or harassment because of age, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, nationality, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or any other status is not tolerated and is strictly forbidden.