The Greenbelt Foundation (GBF), stewards Ontario's Greenbelt, two million acres of protected land that provides clean air, fresh water, climate resilience, and a reliable local food source to help Ontario thrive. The GBF was established in 2005 with a mandate to support the long-term viability of agriculture, strengthen rural economies, and restore and enhance natural features. We are the only charitable organization solely dedicated to the health and prosperity of Ontario's Greenbelt.
About the Project & Position:
The GBF is recruiting Soil Health Sampling Specialists to assist with our soil health assessment initiative. This project has a dynamic team of soil scientists, researchers and educators, working together to assess and promote beneficial management practices (BMPs) on farms in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe to increase climate resilience, improve biodiversity, and build productivity and profitability for farmers. The project will develop practical, effective measurements for assessing the status of a farm’s soil health and provide a way to evaluate progress over time. To do so, soil health benchmarks will be established for soil groups across the region. Soil sampling to establish the benchmarks will be conducted over 2 months from June to July 2023, which requires coordinating sites, conducting sampling and documenting management practices for approximately 75-120 sites. The GBF is recruiting 1-2 Soil Health Sampling Specialists to assist with this work.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Gaining foundational understanding of soil-landscape relationships by using soil survey data and engagement with local experts.
- Contacting farmers and individuals/organizations that engage with land managers (e.g., county extension agents and crop consultants) to identify soil sampling locations, coordinate sampling logistics, and conduct brief interviews on management practices.
- Communicating with land managers about timing of sampling and site access and collecting management history data.
- Traveling within Hamilton, Halton and Peel to conduct soil sampling.
- Assessing suitability of sampling locations with respect to project sampling design (i.e., fit within priority soil health groups and management systems) using maps and in-field assessments.
- Recording and managing metadata on soil samples and site characteristics.
- Collecting soil samples for soil health analyses using slide hammers, core samplers, and push probes/augers.
- Shipping soil samples to laboratory for analysis.
- Project reporting and data management; reporting regularly to the GBF’s Soil Health Specialist and the Soil Health Institute’s Project Soil Scientist.
- Education: Current student or graduate with a Bachelors degree in soil science, agronomy, environmental sciences, natural resource management, or a related field. Candidates with field-based research experience is an asset. Soil sampling and safety training will be provided.
- Knowledge of soil formation and soil-landscape relationships is desired (e.g., soil mapping or collegiate soil judging experience).
- Enthusiasm for meeting agricultural managers/farmers and to learn about soilscapes and row crop management practices.
- Ability to characterize basic soil morphology in the field. Training will be provided.
- Understanding of agricultural management practices.
- Organizational skills and attention to detail.
- Ability to complete physically demanding work in adverse environmental conditions, including intense summer heat and humidity.
- Valid G driver’s license.
- Ability to lift 35 lbs.
- Applicants must be authorized to work in Canada.
The Soil Health Sampling Specialist will work with the GBF as a contractor for a minimum of two months. Soil sampling in Peel, Halton, Hamilton and surrounding regions will begin in June 2023. Remote work both prior and post soil sampling may be conducted from the candidate's home office.
The candidate will be provided with a rental car for travel to and from sampling sites. Alternatively, the candidate can use their own vehicle and be compensated for travel. Depending on travel time/distance, lodging will be provided. Soil sampling equipment, sampling consumables, and packaging and shipping costs will be covered by GBF.
Compensation ranges from $20-30 hourly and is negotiable according to demonstrated experience and ability. Work during soil sampling (June-July) is estimated to average 50 hours per week, with a typical week of ten-hour workdays Monday through Friday. Periodic weekend work will be contingent on personnel availability, site accessibility, and weather conditions. Upon mutual agreement, the position end date may be extended to ensure the completion of sampling and/or additional activities.
Applications should be received no later than May 15, 2023. You are encouraged to apply early as applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
To apply for this position, submit a cover letter and resume through our online portal.
The Greenbelt Foundation thanks all applicants for their interest, but only successful candidates will be contacted.