You are here


Update (March 30, 2020): The 2020 Harvard Forest Summer Program in Ecology is cancelled due to COVID-19. This was a very difficult decision for us, as the Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology and the students involved are a big part of what makes Harvard Forest a vibrant research community. We continue to have a strong dedication to providing students with premier, immersive research experiences.

The program runs for 11 weeks beginning Monday, May 18, 2020 and ending at 5 pm on Friday, July  31, 2020. The annual Summer Student Symposium will be held on Thursday, July 31, 2020 to which family and friends are welcome to attend.

Student compensation includes the following:

  • Stipend of $6600 for the 11-week session
  • Free furnished housing at Fisher and/or Raup Houses)
  • Free full meal plan
  • Travel to/from Harvard Forest

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...

National Science Foundation (NSF) Discoveries - Lyme Disease: Ten things you always wanted to know about ticks...

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. 

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. The Code is taken quite seriously at the Harvard Forest and violation of it may lead to discipline or dismissal from the program. 

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 own health insurance policy. Students injured during non-work time are responsible for the costs of any health care required. 

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 should work with the chef to develop a reasonable meal plan or may need to do their own cooking. 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 cook-out 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. 

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. 

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

The house phones are utilized by all the student 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.

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)

Summer Program Manager:
Manisha V. Patel (she/her)

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

Harvard Forest provides:

  • Limited access to Forest vehicles for group educational/recreational activities
  • Computer and internet access
  • Board games, puzzles
  • 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. 

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 is available.

Each summer we hire 1-2 live-in proctor(s), who is a combination resident advisor and assistant program coordinator. As program assistants, he/she organizes seminars and workshops, takes photos of student research, help students with research-related issues, and generally assists in the smooth running of the summer program.  As resident advisors, he/she can help organize group activities, counsel students on any problems, ensure students follow the Code of Conduct, and maintain communal house living.