Ecosystem Marketplace Research Assistant

Forest Trends, a not-for-profit organization based in Washington, DC, helps bridge traditional divides and promotes conservation of forests and other ecosystems through the creation and wide adoption of a broad range of environmental finance, markets, and other payment and incentive mechanisms by:
– Providing transparent information on ecosystem values, finance, and markets through knowledge acquisition, analysis, and dissemination;
– Convening diverse coalitions, partners and communities of practice, to promote environmental values and advance development of new markets and payment mechanisms;
– Demonstrating successful tools, standards, and models of innovative finance for conservation.

Program Description
Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace publishes newsletters, breaking news, original feature articles and major reports about market-based approaches to conserving ecosystem services. The world’s population depends on ecosystem services, but in economic terms, these services are typically “free” and consequently, increasingly overexploited.

One promising approach to sustaining vital ecosystem services is to enable market-based mechanisms to mediate supply and demand, putting a price on these services. EM believes that transparency is a hallmark of robust markets and that by providing freely-accessible information, we can facilitate transactions (thereby lowering transaction costs), but also catalyze new thinking and spur the development of new markets and the infrastructure that supports them.

Our work is freely and publicly available online, through webinars, speaking engagements, consultations, and partnerships with other organizations.


Job Summary
One of Ecosystem Marketplace’s current projects is to develop a master dataset of water management organizations that supply irrigation water in the United States. The dataset will include geographic and contact information, as well as other traits about each organization.

The Research Assistant’s (RA) primary responsibility will be to work with our Associate to develop this dataset. The RA will assist with data collection via desk research and direct outreach to water management organizations and other relevant contacts; data compilation and database management primarily using MS Excel and Esri GIS applications. In addition to developing that dataset, the RA will help with Ecosystem Marketplace’s other ongoing work, which may entail contributing to other reports, articles, newsletters and/or social media.

The ideal candidate is someone who is curious, data-savvy, organized, and a great communicator. Importantly, the candidate needs to be just as happy digging into a dataset as they are getting on the phone, and should be interested in environmental issues and markets, particularly relating to water and agriculture.


Roles and Responsibilities

  • 40% time – Data collection via desk research, emailing and calling water district managers.
  • 30% time – Database and GIS creation; potential GIS analysis.
  • 30% time – Other responsibilities, including but not limited to:
  •      – Producing the EM newsletter and updating EM social media;
  •      – Contributing to reports, as needed, through data collection, data analysis, writing and editing content; and
  •      – Editorial assistant tasks (reaching out to journalists, editing articles, drafting press releases).

Location: Ability to commute daily to Washington, DC office (non-negotiable)


Required Experience and Education:

– Bachelor’s-level degree (Master’s degree preferred);

– 1-2 years of work or internship experience in government, private, and/or nonprofit organization, preferably with working on the following topics: water irrigation, water engineering, data collection and evaluation, GIS mapping.
Required Skills:

     – Research: Excellent research skills and experience, and willingness to complete repetitive research tasks – demonstrated experience with quantitative data collection and          interpretation preferred.

     – GIS and data: Strong MS Excel skills and Esri GIS coursework/experience is a must.

     – Communication: Strong communication skills, with demonstrated experience communicating complex and technical concepts in a clear and effective way.

     – Subject Matter Expertise: experience with water issues is a must, preferably with experience in one or more of the following areas: water management practices in the US, agricultural              irrigation, groundwater and drainage activities, water markets.

     – Committed to the mission of Forest Trends.


Forest Trends’ Washington DC office
1203 19th Street, NW 4th Floor Washington, DC 20036
(option to work remotely offered on a case by case basis)

Availability:                        Must be available to work full-time (40 hours per week) for hire on a 3-month contract, beginning in December or January

Pay:                                       $15 per hour


Application: Please submit your cover letter and resume to with the email subject line “Ecosystem Marketplace Research Assistant Position” to ensure we see your application.


Forest Trends is an equal opportunity employer. Forest Trends will not discriminate against any applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status.