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Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

Visiting Harvard Forest

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Harvard Forest Offices are open weekdays: 8:30am - 4:30pm

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324 North Main Street, Petersham MA 01366

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(978) 724-3595(Fax)
(978) 724-3302 (Voice)

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**Please note: The Fisher Museum will be closed for renovations from Nov. 1, 2016 to April 1, 2017. The interpretive trails will remain open during this time.**
The Fisher Museum's Summer Hours (May through October) are 9:00am -5:00pm on weekdays, and 12:00pm - 4:00pm on weekends.
Winter Hours are 9:00am - 5:00pm on weekdays.
The Museum is closed on University holidays.
Visit the Museum page for Special Events and Closings. 

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Camping is not permitted at Harvard Forest, but local Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels and Campgrounds can be found easily within a 20 mile radius.  You can also find directions to local resources (i.e. groceries, pharmacies etc...).

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Horseback riding is permitted on the dirt roads at Harvard Forest. Please be aware that research vehicles, hikers, and mountain bikers may also be using these roads at any time.Visit http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/museum/recreation.html for other recreation policies at Harvard Forest

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Except for a few intensive research areas and the vicinity of Harvard Pond, which is a wildlife preserve, hunting is allowed at Harvard Forest in the seasons and according to the regulations in the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife abstracts (http://www.state.ma.us/dfwele/dfw/dfwrec.htm#HUNT). Intensive research areas where hunting is restricted are clearly posted.

See our map (2017) of the areas where hunting is restricted.

Research

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The Harvard Forest Archives maintains a map and photo collection which covers our present and historical research interests. Anyone interested should contact the Archivist at (978)-724-3302 or email hflib@fas.harvard.edu to determine whether we have material which fits your needs prior to making a visit.

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We welcome offers of donations of archival items related to the study of ecology. Please contact the Archivist at (978)-724-3302 ext 277 or email hflib@fas..harvard.edu to discuss whether the Archives are an appropriate repository for your items; if possible provide a specific list.

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Prior to any visit, please contact Elaine Doughty at (978)-724-3302 ext 229 or email hflib@fas.harvard.edu to ensure that staff will be able to assist you on your visit.

Education

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Tours are available. Please visit http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/museum/tours.html for contact information. 

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Visit http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/publications/forsale.html 

Your backyard

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For information about trees, tree pests and tree diseases, visit the Massachusetts arborists web site at http://www.massarbor.org/ or Certified Tree and Lawn Specialists at http://www.certifiedtreeandlawn.org

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For more information, visit the MassWoods Forest Conservation Program's web site: http://masswoods.net/

Support Harvard Forest

Summer Research Program FAQs

Students

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Projects require that students start with the program and stay for the full 11 weeks.  If you cannot participate fully in the program, you are still welcome to apply, just note the dates you will be available clearly at the top of your personal essay. 

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Participation in the program is open only to those are legally authorized to be employed by Harvard University in the United States.  A majority of our funding is only open to U.S. citizens or green card holders.  If you are not a citizen or green card holder, you are still welcome to apply, but note your chances of participating in the program are very low.

International students currently attending a US school may be eligible to participate in the program if you are able to secure your own funding. Harvard University will not be able to pay for any stipends, room & board, and travel costs.

International students NOT attending school currently in the US are not eligible for this program.  Harvard University will be unable to assist in obtaining such employment authorization for this program and the Harvard International Office cannot answer inquiries about any individual's eligibility.



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The core of our funding is for undergraduate students who are enrolled in a 2 or 4 year colleges. Students who have completed their associates degree (2 year program) and are going on to get a bachelor's degree (4 year program) are also encouraged to apply and will be considered as part of the general applicant pool. Other individuals (non-student or graduate student status) are welcome to apply but should be aware that we may not have funding for any such positions.

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Most mentors look first at applicants who picked their projects and sometimes at applicants who picked projects in related areas. What is most important to a mentor varies greatly. Some emphasize previous coursework, good grades, extracurricular activities, or relevant work experience, where as other mentors look for a student with excellent potential but in need of a first research experience. The one area all mentors agree is invaluable is the personal essay as a discussion of the applicant's background and his/her interest in the projects offered in this year's program. Avoid submitting a generic essay with the theme that this would be a good internship experience for you or that it will help you get into graduate or professional school. Instead, pick your projects carefully, then spend time using your personal essay to explain your selections. The best applicants spend time perusing the Forest web site and craft a thoughtful essay about their individual interests, why they have picked the projects listed, why the Forest in particular interests them, and how this internship program will help them further develop their career goals. This of course takes more time, but investing an hour or two in research and writing your essay often makes an application stand out from the rest, and significantly increases your chances of being interviewed. 

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If you are changing referee information, you must email hfapps@fas.harvard.edu with the subject: REU REFEREE CHANGE.  The email must simply include your full name and the full name of the reference you want to have REMOVED. The errant information will be cleared and you will receive confirmation. Please note: This change UNSUBMITS your application. Please edit with the proper referee information and remember to SUBMIT. 

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Upon submission of your application, you will receive a confirmation email. After each of your reference writers submits your recommendation, you will receive an email notice as well. Please confirm your status on-line. If you believe that the on-line status is incorrect, contact hfapps@fas.harvard.edu. 

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Applicants wil be officially notified of their acceptance/hiring by email beginning on Monday, March 5, 2018.  

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If your school has funding for student summer research projects, please do  apply for this funding. We only admit the exact number of students we have  funding for but often have additional projects for which we do not have  sufficient funds to support a student. Students who are able to obtain support  from other sources to defray travel costs, stipends, research supplies, etc.  should indicate this on their application. This supplemental funding often  allows us to support additional students. Note this funding in your essay.

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We encourage students to work with faculty at their home institution to receive academic credit for their summer work. Please inquire at your school about the process.

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Students are reimbursed for travel costs for one round trip between the Forest and either their home or school address (whichever is closest to the Forest). As this is paid for with federal funds, there are details and limitations that will be explained in the hiring package.

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The program runs for 11 weeks beginning Monday, May 21, 2018 and ending at 5 pm on Friday, August 3, 2018. There is a Student Symposium on Thursday, August 2, 2018 to which family and friends are welcome to attend.

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Student compensation includes the following:

  • Stipend of $5775 for the 11-week session ($525/wk)
  • Free furnished housing at Fisher and/or Raup Houses
  • Free full meal plan
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Students work typically 40 hours per week, however actual hours vary depending on project needs. Some projects require early morning, late night or weekend work; details will be included in the project description, and will be discussed by the researcher/mentor during the interview process. In addition, there are one-hour educational workshops and seminars held one to two evenings per week after dinner. All participants are required to attend these educational programs. 

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Similar to most REU programs, the Harvard Forest Summer Program receives many more applications than available funded positions. Overall, the pool of students hired will come with a wide variety of experience and educational backgrounds. A small but significant portion of students hired are rising sophmores who show an interest in ecology but of course do not have significant course work or experience. The majority of students hired are rising juniors and seniors who have a background in relevant science courses. We actively recruit students from small colleges, minority serving colleges and universities, tribal colleges, community colleges, and schools with limited opportunities to get "hands on" research experience. The most competitive applicants have demonstrated an ability to take initiative and responsibility, whether by work or volunteer experience. We do NOT have any minimum GPA requirement or specific courses that are prerequisites, and many students hired do not have previous field experience.. 

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The summer program is a core part of the research and education mission of Harvard Forest. While every student, mentor, and project is different, we place high expectations on all the students and their mentors to ensure everyone has an excellent, albeit demanding, research experience. These expectations are stated explicitly for mentors and students and program staff seek to ensure all participants understand them and act within this spirit.
Students are expected to comply with the Code of Conduct, which they sign as part of their acceptance materials. This code clearly states that all illegal drug use is prohibited and only students who are of legal age to drink may to do so, and even they are limited to specified occasions while on Forest property. No alcohol is allowed to be stored in student dorms, regardless of the age of the purchaser. The Code is taken quite seriously at the Forest and violation of it may lead to discipline or dismissal from the program. 

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There are health risks associated with lab and field research. Students working in the lab may be exposed to caustic chemicals and other toxic substances. Students working in the field often have to travel over uneven ground, and through areas with biting insects, falling trees, and sticking plants.
The most common health problems result from reactions to biting insects, including mosquitoes, wasps and bees, and ticks. The most common cause for medical treatment is when students exhibit symptoms of Lyme disease following a tick bite. We monitor such situations very closely to ensure that anyone showing symptoms of Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. For more information about Lyme disease, please see

Centers for Disease Control... http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/

National Science Foundation (NSF) Discoveries - Lyme Disease: Ten things you always wanted to know about ticks...
http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=131439&WT.mc_id=USNSF_1

Please know that we work hard to ensure the health and safety off all our staff and students. We spend a substantial portion of the program orientation in safety training. We provide radio equipment for researchers working in the field to communicate between themselves and the main building. Finally, students are not allowed to do work with hazardous chemicals in the labs during off hours and solo field work is discouraged. 

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All temporary employees of Harvard Forest are covered by Harvard University's Worker's Compensation policy for injuries sustained while working. Harvard Forest does not provide general health insurance for summer employees. All enrolled undergraduates should be covered by their student health insurance policy; ideally all students should be covered by their parents' health insurance too. Students injured during non-work time are responsible for the costs of any health care required. 

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The program includes a complete meal plan, provided by a professional chef with 20+ years experience. Our cook has extensive expertise in addressing food allergies and cooking vegetarian and vegan meals. However, students with very strict dietary needs may need to do their own cooking or work with the chef to develop a reasonable meal plan. We ask students to answer a food preference survey prior to arrival to assist the chef in planning. Monday through Thursday, students have a self-serve breakfast buffet, and hot lunch and dinner. Friday, the cook makes a special hot breakfast and has a BBQ-style lunch for students. Weekends, students are given large quantities of left-overs from the week. The residences have fully stocked kitchens for their use on weekends. Students sign up for 2-3 shifts per week to set-up for, and clean up after, meals in the communal dining hall/ kitchen. 

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Each summer we hire 1-2 live-in proctor(s), who is a combination resident advisor and assistant program coordinator. Proctors help organize group activities, assist students having any problems, act as mentors regarding research projects and ensure that students follow the Code of Conduct, contribute to keeping communal areas clean, and abide by house rules. 

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Students should bring what will make for a comfortable and enjoyable summer. The top two items which are almost universally desired are insect repellant and a fan. Here is a suggested Summer Equipment List to consider.

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The Forest will provide computers for shared use. Though we cannot offer email accounts, you'll be able to access your own email account using our machines. If you would like to bring your own computer, we will help set it up to access the network. There is free wifi available in most Harvard Forest buildings.  The forest can not reimburse anyone for damage or loss of their personal computer, regardless of the circumstances. 

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We provide a telephone, answering machine, and a voicemail service at the dorms for shared student use. All calls (except very local) require a calling card so please bring one with you. Cell phones work intermittently here but are very worthwhile to have. Do not expect excellent reception though. 

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Visit the summer program blog to learn more about what interns have done during and after their internships. 

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There is NO public transportation to Harvard Forest.

We work with all students to get them to and from Harvard Forest safely and expeditiously.

More information with driving directions and closest transportation hubs is available.

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Harvard Forest provides:

  • Satellite TV/DVD in dorms
  • Limited access to Forest vehicles for group educational/recreational activities
  • Computer and internet access
  • Board games
  • 6 hybrid bikes for on- and off-road riding
  • 2 canoes and gear for flat water canoeing
  • Volleyball/badminton/basketball equipment
  • Outdoor fire pit and wood
  • Things to do around Harvard Forest and the Region. 
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Harvard Forest has a fleet of vehicles for use for research and education purposes. Typically, about half of the summer students bring their own vehicles. For those folks not having a vehicle, we provide limited access to Harvard Forest vehicles during non-working hours for group educational/recreational trips. In addition, the proctors organize trips to the local stores (Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, etc) for students to stock up as needed. Collaborators are allowed to drive or ride in Forest Vehicles, family and friends are not. Authorized drivers must have a clean driving record, and have had a valid driver's license for at least 2 years. Student drivers are covered by Harvard Forest's commercially insurance policy but if a student is negligent and causes damage to a vehicle, they may be required to pay a deductible. 

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Because we receive nearly 600 applications every year for the Harvard Forest Summer Research Program, we are unable to provide detailed feedback to anyone that we are unable to hire. The most common reasons that an applicant was not hired are listed below.

 

1. The applicant’s aspirations and goals do not match up well with projects. There is intense competition for each position. Applicants whose personal aspirations, educational pathways, or career goals as discussed in their essay do not fit well with a particular project are unlikely to be hired. For example, if a student writes that s/he is pursuing a goal in wetland management or pollution control but has identified a project on small mammal dynamics in hemlock forests as her/his first choice, there is a clear mismatch.

 2. The applicant’s letters of recommendation are non-specific or weak. It is very important that the faculty advisor, teacher, or employer writing a letter of recommendation writes a strong letter that is focused on the match between the summer research program/project and the applicant’s aspirations and goals. Students not only should ask a potential reference if s/he can write a letter of recommendation but also should ask if s/he can write a strong letter of recommendation. Follow up with a discussion of the summer research program and how it meshes with the student’s short- and long-term goals.

 3. The applicant lacks particular skills. Although most of our projects do not require particular skills, some do. For example, projects involving computer programming may require that students already have facility with a specific programming language such as Java, R, or C. For other projects, demonstration of work-skills, commitment to a job, or leadership will be more important.

 4. The applicant has too much previous REU experience. Summer research programs like that at Harvard Forest are Research Experiences for Undergraduates. In general, we hire students who have not had a previous paid summer or academic-year research internship so that we can provide them with a first research experience.

 5. The applicant is not academically well prepared. Demonstration that the applicant has had lab- or field-based coursework that emphasizes the scientific method is important. We do not use a particular grade-point average (GPA) as a reason to decline an applicant. However, reasons for unusually poor grades in science courses should be discussed in essays and/or letters of recommendations.

 6. The applicant is indifferent or unenthusiastic during the application process or interviews. One of the most important characteristics of successful applicants is enthusiasm. It is important to respond promptly to e-mails and be available for scheduled interviews. We seek students who not only really want to do research in the summer but also really want to do that research at the Harvard Forest. This is not simply another internship.

 7. The applicant is disrespectful during interviews. The Harvard Forest Summer Research Program is an intensive 11-week residential experience. Students ranging in age from 17 to > 40, coming from different parts of the world and with different backgrounds, live together, work together, and play together all summer. It is important that the participants demonstrate an ability to respect their peers and mentors.

 8. The applicant cannot be here for the full length of the program. Students are expected to be at the Harvard Forest from the day before the program starts until the last day of the program. In most years, the program starts the 3rd week of May and ends the first week of August. Trimesters that run into mid-June, extended summer vacations, or other conflicts rarely can be accommodated.

 9. The applicant currently is not enrolled in a 2- or 4-year college or university. The vast majority of the available funding for our summer research program can be used only to support undergraduate students (including students who are planning to enroll as freshman in the coming fall). Only on rare occasions can we can support one or two students who have already graduated from college or who are already enrolled in a M.Sc. program.

 10. The applicant is not a U.S. citizen or green-card holder. The vast majority of the available funding for our summer research program can be used only to support students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Only on rare occasions can we can support one or two students who are neither U.S. citizens nor permanent residents.

 11. There are simply too many good applicants. Even after we have winnowed the applicant pool based on the preceding ten criteria, there are still far more highly qualified applicants than we can possibly hire in any given summer. If the applicant is willing, we can share their application with other REU programs with which we interact.



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Send an email to hfapps@fas.harvard.edu with the subject line: REU: RE-SEND REFERENCE INSTRUCTIONS
Include the following three items:
1. Your student application name
2. The name of the person who needs letter of instruction sent
3. Confirmation of this reference's email address

Please be advised that many emails are being filtered out into spam or trash.  Reference letters sent via attachment are not accepted. 

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The core of our funding is for undergraduate students who are enrolled in a 2 or 4 year colleges during and after the summer program.   Students who have completed their associates degree (2 year program) and are going on to get a bachelor's degree (4 year program) are also encouraged to apply and will be considered as part of the general applicant pool. Students who have already obtained a bachelors degree, will obtain one by the time the summer program begins, or who are currently enrolled in a graduate program are welcome to apply but should be aware that we may not have funding for any such positions.

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Students live at Fisher House (23 beds) or Raup House (16 beds). Most students will have 1 to 3 roommates. While both houses are co-ed, rooms are single-sex. Please note that linens, blankets and towels are provided and there are coin-operated laundry facilities located on site. 

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Telephone:
Raup House 978-756-6192
Fisher House 978-756-6191

The house phones are utilized by all the interns, so if no one picks up, leave a detailed message with your name, who you're calling for, and the number they can reach you at, or what time you will be calling back.

Emergencies:
During regular office hours (M-F 8:30am - 4:30pm): 978-724-3302 (Main Office)
After 4:30pm and weekends: 1-866-844-4923 (On-call facilities staff)

Program Coordinator:
Manisha V. Patel, Summer Program Coordinator
978-756-6148 or manishapatel@fas.harvard.edu 

Mailing Address:
Student Name, Harvard Forest, 324 North Main Street, Petersham, MA 01366 

Parents

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The program runs for 11 weeks beginning Monday, May 21, 2018 and ending at 5 pm on Friday, August 3, 2018. There is a Student Symposium on Thursday, August 2, 2018 to which family and friends are welcome to attend.

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Student compensation includes the following:

  • Stipend of $5775 for the 11-week session ($525/wk)
  • Free furnished housing at Fisher and/or Raup Houses
  • Free full meal plan
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Telephone:
Raup House 978-756-6192
Fisher House 978-756-6191

The house phones are utilized by all the interns, so if no one picks up, leave a detailed message with your name, who you're calling for, and the number they can reach you at, or what time you will be calling back.

Emergencies:
During regular office hours (M-F 8:30am - 4:30pm): 978-724-3302 (Main Office)
After 4:30pm and weekends: 1-866-844-4923 (On-call facilities staff)

Program Coordinator:
Manisha V. Patel, Summer Program Coordinator
978-756-6148 or manishapatel@fas.harvard.edu 

Mailing Address:
Student Name, Harvard Forest, 324 North Main Street, Petersham, MA 01366 

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There are health risks associated with lab and field research. Students working in the lab may be exposed to caustic chemicals and other toxic substances. Students working in the field often have to travel over uneven ground, and through areas with biting insects, falling trees, and sticking plants.
The most common health problems result from reactions to biting insects, including mosquitoes, wasps and bees, and ticks. The most common cause for medical treatment is when students exhibit symptoms of Lyme disease following a tick bite. We monitor such situations very closely to ensure that anyone showing symptoms of Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. For more information about Lyme disease, please see

Centers for Disease Control... http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/

National Science Foundation (NSF) Discoveries - Lyme Disease: Ten things you always wanted to know about ticks...
http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=131439&WT.mc_id=USNSF_1

Please know that we work hard to ensure the health and safety off all our staff and students. We spend a substantial portion of the program orientation in safety training. We provide radio equipment for researchers working in the field to communicate between themselves and the main building. Finally, students are not allowed to do work with hazardous chemicals in the labs during off hours and solo field work is discouraged. 

Printer-friendly version

All temporary employees of Harvard Forest are covered by Harvard University's Worker's Compensation policy for injuries sustained while working. Harvard Forest does not provide general health insurance for summer employees. All enrolled undergraduates should be covered by their student health insurance policy; ideally all students should be covered by their parents' health insurance too. Students injured during non-work time are responsible for the costs of any health care required. 

Printer-friendly version

Students live at Fisher House (23 beds) or Raup House (16 beds). Most students will have 1 to 3 roommates. While both houses are co-ed, rooms are single-sex. Please note that linens, blankets and towels are provided and there are coin-operated laundry facilities located on site. 

Printer-friendly version

Each summer we hire 1-2 live-in proctor(s), who is a combination resident advisor and assistant program coordinator. Proctors help organize group activities, assist students having any problems, act as mentors regarding research projects and ensure that students follow the Code of Conduct, contribute to keeping communal areas clean, and abide by house rules. 

Printer-friendly version

The program includes a complete meal plan, provided by a professional chef with 20+ years experience. Our cook has extensive expertise in addressing food allergies and cooking vegetarian and vegan meals. However, students with very strict dietary needs may need to do their own cooking or work with the chef to develop a reasonable meal plan. We ask students to answer a food preference survey prior to arrival to assist the chef in planning. Monday through Thursday, students have a self-serve breakfast buffet, and hot lunch and dinner. Friday, the cook makes a special hot breakfast and has a BBQ-style lunch for students. Weekends, students are given large quantities of left-overs from the week. The residences have fully stocked kitchens for their use on weekends. Students sign up for 2-3 shifts per week to set-up for, and clean up after, meals in the communal dining hall/ kitchen. 

Printer-friendly version

The summer program is a core part of the research and education mission of Harvard Forest. While every student, mentor, and project is different, we place high expectations on all the students and their mentors to ensure everyone has an excellent, albeit demanding, research experience. These expectations are stated explicitly for mentors and students and program staff seek to ensure all participants understand them and act within this spirit.
Students are expected to comply with the Code of Conduct, which they sign as part of their acceptance materials. This code clearly states that all illegal drug use is prohibited and only students who are of legal age to drink may to do so, and even they are limited to specified occasions while on Forest property. No alcohol is allowed to be stored in student dorms, regardless of the age of the purchaser. The Code is taken quite seriously at the Forest and violation of it may lead to discipline or dismissal from the program. 

Printer-friendly version

Harvard Forest provides:

  • Satellite TV/DVD in dorms
  • Limited access to Forest vehicles for group educational/recreational activities
  • Computer and internet access
  • Board games
  • 6 hybrid bikes for on- and off-road riding
  • 2 canoes and gear for flat water canoeing
  • Volleyball/badminton/basketball equipment
  • Outdoor fire pit and wood
  • Things to do around Harvard Forest and the Region. 
Printer-friendly version

There is NO public transportation to Harvard Forest.

We work with all students to get them to and from Harvard Forest safely and expeditiously.

More information with driving directions and closest transportation hubs is available.

Referees

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Reference writers can submit letters on-line only after the student has activated their application.

Please note that references are due by the first Friday in February. 

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Please confirm that your student has actually entered you in as a reference. You should receive an email from hfweb@fas.harvard.edu with the instructions on how to upload a reference. Also, confirm which email your student used to identify you, this is how we keep track of referees. If you are replacing another faculty member who was listed as the original letter writer, the student needs to change the information in their application before you can submit your letter. 

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No. We only accept uploaded references. 

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We do not accept reference letters via email, they must be uploaded into our on-line application to be associated with the student's application. 

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We accept PDF, Office documents or Plain (ASCII) Text. 

Faculty & Advisors

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Click here to learn about current research at the Harvard Forest. 

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Contact Manisha V. Patel

Lab Manager & Summer Program Coordinator

Harvard Forest, Harvard University

324 North Main Street, Petersham, MA 01366

978-756-6148 (office); 978-724-3595 (fax)

manishapatel@fas.harvard.edu

Bullard Fellowship

Applying

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If you are changing referee information, you must email hfapps@fas.harvard.edu with the subject: REU REFEREE CHANGE.  The email must simply include your full name and the full name of the reference you want to have REMOVED. The errant information will be cleared and you will receive confirmation. Please note: This change UNSUBMITS your application. Please edit with the proper referee information and remember to SUBMIT. 

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Students should bring what will make for a comfortable and enjoyable summer. The top two items which are almost universally desired are insect repellant and a fan. Here is a suggested Summer Equipment List to consider.

Referees

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If you are changing referee information, you must email hfapps@fas.harvard.edu with the subject: REU REFEREE CHANGE.  The email must simply include your full name and the full name of the reference you want to have REMOVED. The errant information will be cleared and you will receive confirmation. Please note: This change UNSUBMITS your application. Please edit with the proper referee information and remember to SUBMIT. 

Accepted Bullards

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There is NO public transportation to Harvard Forest.

We work with all students to get them to and from Harvard Forest safely and expeditiously.

More information with driving directions and closest transportation hubs is available.