Ingalls Field Ecology Program
Summer Field Ecology Internship
The Yale School the Environment invites undergraduate students to spend the summer gaining hands-on experience in field ecology research through the Louise H. and David S. Ingalls Field Ecology Program. In 2024, the program will run from May 22-August 3. The Ingalls program is based at the Yale-Myers Forest camp in northeastern Connecticut. Interns are matched with professors, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students on a current research project in field ecology. Working in teams, participants will collect and/or analyze field-based ecological data. In the process, interns will gain knowledge, and skills related to their research subject area, as well as to working outdoors. Housing is provided.
Work - and life - is largely conducted outdoors during the summer in New England, which includes traversing uneven terrain, heat, humidity, rain, a variety of insects, and sometimes cold. If you are interested in the program but uncertain about living or working with any of those elements, we would still like to hear from you! We are happy to discuss further about whether the program is a good fit, and how we might accomodate your needs.
The 2024 application period will open on January 30th and will close on February 26th. For questions, please contact YMFresearch@yale.edu.
Details about the program and the application process can be found below:
Research Projects for 2024
Research plans for the 2024 field season are still developing, so exact projects may be subject to change. At present, we expect that interns will work one or more of the following:
Long-term research in silviculture & forest ecology:
Working with the Silviculture Lab, interns will work on a variety of studies looking at the influence of environment and land-use on ecological communities. Studies include monitoring regeneration vegetation in shelterwood treatments and surveying floristic patterns across the Yale-Myers Forest.
Agroforestry*: There will be several projects related to agroforestry in 2024; interns will split time between the different projects over the course of the summer. *Please note that these projects will require some overnight travel. Transportation and lodging during travel will be provided, and will be a mix of hotels and tent camping.
Field data collection in forest farming research plots across the Northeast. This project is part of the larger Northeast Forest Farmers Coalition project housed at YSE. This research seeks to understand the effect of management and planting stock type (seed vs. root) on the success of a forest farming operation. This project involves taking environmental measurements (e.g. light levels, soil moisture), cleaning plots, and measuring understory plant response variables (e.g. counting and measuring understory herbs) at up to 5 replicated research sites across the Northeast. Project results will be shared with active forest farmers in the Northeast and beyond to help inform management choices.
Silvopasture research. Our project observes how practicing silvopasture by subtraction (a form of agroforestry involving thinning forests to allow for livestock grazing) impacts soil and biomass carbon stocks, soil bulk density, and invasive plant species presence. We are focusing on established silvopasture farms throughout Connecticut and New England to assess this agricultural strategy’s regional potential for climate change mitigation, invasive plant control, and forest management. Interns will assist in collecting environmental data on soils, forages, tree communities, and invasive species. This position will require spending a lot of time outside, performing potentially strenuous tasks, and occasional tent camping.
Soil carbon and forest management:
Soil carbon is a critical part of forest ecosystems but it has a lot of variation and we urgently need a better understanding of how to reliably measure it. This project is part of an ongoing, multi-year project exploring the spatial variation of carbon, the effects of timber harvesting, and how sampling designs can influence our conclusions about soil carbon stocks and fluxes. We will use our previous data from high-density sampling and simulations to perform more efficient sampling to understand how study designs work across scales. For example, comparing small plot designs commonly used in studies or capturing the landscape scale across many stands. This provides a fascinating approach to thinking about scientific truth, exciting field work, laboratory experience, and application to real-world issues
Location, Food & Lodging
Interns will live within the vibrant summer population of the Yale-Myers Forest camp — a small, close-knit community of researchers and graduate student apprentices in forest management. Bunkhouse housing is available on-site free of charge for all interns, and food (including hot dinners) are provided during the work week for a cost which varies yearly, but is usually about $12-15/day.
There are ample opportunities for recreation such as canoeing, swimming, hiking, and generally enjoying a beautiful location. Camp has electricity and wifi. Yale-Myers Forest camp is located 40 minutes from Hartford, and is within a 1.5 hour drive of Boston, Providence, and New Haven.
Interns should be undergraduate students looking for research experience to further their academic goals. Some coursework in environmental science is useful, but not required.
All interns will recieve a stipend of $5,000. While the Ingalls program has some funding to provide stipends directly, we ask that you contact the program manager (YMFResearch@yale.edu) if your college or university has funding available for summer research or internships.
We are happy to provide supporting materials for any students’ applications for funding. Please reach out if you are considering applying for the internship and are preparing funding applications. Many fellowships require letters of support from sponsors, so please contact us to talk about your application early in the process.
Yale students should apply concurrent for this internship with other Summer Funding Opportunities. These can be found on the Yale Fellowship and Funding Database. Some fellowships that our students have received include the EVST Summer Fellowship ; First year Yale students should also consider the First Year Summer Research Fellowship in the Sciences and Engineering . In addition, the Richter Summer Fellowships are available through the residential colleges.
Applications for the 2024 season are due by February 26th. After submitting an application, you may be asked to have an interview with program staff or a research project lead. We expect to notify applicants of decisions in mid-March.
Please email the materials below as a single word (.doc or .docx) or pdf document to Laura Green (Research & Extension Forester) at YMFresearch@yale.edu. Please include Ingalls in the title of your email, and please title your application materials document as “YourName_IngallsApplication_2024”.
Application Materials Checklist:
- CV or resume, including relevant coursework
- Unofficial transcript
- Personal Statement / Letter of Interest (500–1500 words): This is an opportunity for you to help us get to know you and why you are interested in the Ingalls program. We are particularly interested in the following:
- Your academic, personal, and/or professional interests in ecology,
- What you hope to learn during this program,
- Your background and personal experiences, and how they intersect with your interest in ecology,
- Your career and personal objectives.
- Projects of interest (50-250 words): Please share which project(s) you are interested in working on, and any context for your interests that you wish to share. This can be included in the same document with your personal statement.
- Reference: Name and contact information for a faculty member who could provide a reference for you.
- For Yale Students: Where you have applied or will be applying for internal funding
- For non-Yale students: Whether you have any funding available to support your summer experience, or if you need help securing funding
A group of the 2019 Ingalls Field Ecology Interns at their field site. Photo by D. Woodbury.