Range Ecologist

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North Platte, NE, United States

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19 days ago

The National Audubon Society is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. We work throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state, regional, national, and international programs, nature centers, and chapters have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. As a sentinel species, we recognize that the fate of birds is inextricably tied to the fate of us all.

Audubon has more than 700 staff working across the United States and seven countries in 17 state and regional offices, 41 nature centers, and 23 wildlife sanctuaries. Together as one Audubon, we aspire to alter the course of climate change and habitat loss, leading to healthier bird populations and reversing current trends in biodiversity loss.

Audubon is committed to a culture of workplace excellence, where our talented and diverse staff are deeply engaged, with a strong sense of belonging. The birds Audubon pledges to protect differ in color, size, behavior, geographical preference, and countless other ways. By honoring and celebrating the equally remarkable diversity of the human species, Audubon will bring new creativity, effectiveness, and leadership to our work throughout the hemisphere.
Position Summary:

Audubon Nebraska is a growing conservation leader in Nebraska, establishing innovative programs to conserve and enhance habitat for a wide variety of bird species. From backyard conservation to prairies and wetlands, Audubon Nebraska is on the leading edge of advancing conservation in the Nebraska. We are heavily involved with private and public stakeholders to ensure that the future is bright for birds and the community of Nebraska, because we believe that “Where birds thrive, people prosper”.

The Range Ecologist will work closely with local landowners to implement working lands programs, including the Audubon Conservation Ranching (ACR) Program and the Prairie Management Toolbox which works in partnership with conservation organizations and agencies to deliver private landowner programs. These working lands programs aim to improve private landowners’ ability to practice bird-friendly land management. They will be responsible for enrolling landowners into these programs and assisting them with implementation of innovative land management practices.

Utilizing habitat management plans (HMPs), the Range Ecologist will partner with landowners to determine land management goals and ensure program compliance. These HMPs support practices such as adaptive grazing, prescribed fire, prairie restoration, invasive species removal, and establishing rotational grazing infrastructure. HMPs rely on the designation of grassland bird species for each ranch or project site. The Range Ecologist will also conduct vegetation and bird surveys to ensure landowners are compliant with program goals and that actions are enhancing grasslands to benefit grassland birds. The Range Ecologist will also be responsible for monitoring projects over time.

Essential Functions:
  • Proactively connect with and liaise with landowners providing excellent technical service to agricultural producers participating in Audubon’s working lands conservation programs. Specifically,
    • Facilitate demand for Audubon conservation programs through partnerships with local agencies and organizations.
    • Connect with local conservation professionals, organizations, and landowners to deliver programs and recruit new program participants.
    • Provide timely access to financial assistance programs for enrolled ranches, through Audubon, local, state, and federal financial assistance opportunities. Refer producers to partner conservation programs when applicable.
    • Establish and maintain professional relationships with ranchers and landowners participating in Audubon’s working lands programs.
    • Communicate program goals and work with rancher/landowner to develop site-specific farm habitat conservation plans for each assigned ranch or project.
    • Execute agreements and plan projects for landowners participating in financial assistance conservation programs.
    • Facilitate enrollment process and assist Audubon project budget tracking.
  • Advocate for science-supported habitat management.
  • Establish habitat management plans using SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive) goals on all enrolled program ranches.
  • Conduct essential avian and grassland monitoring on program lands.
  • Identify monitoring needs regarding avian and vegetation; develop and implement monitoring techniques to address land use, avian density and occupancy, and vegetation response to disturbance.
  • Support grant writing related to Audubon Conservation work.
  • Participate in local events targeted at youth, professionals, or the general community to share expertise.
  • Maintain excellent communication with supervisor, supporting partner organizations, and administrative staff.
  • Participate in partner meetings and conferences.
  • Identify and participate in opportunities that allow for continued professional growth aimed at improving skills related to grassland management and avian conservation.
  • Attend training events held by local partners, such as NRCS, USFWS, NGPC, and others.
  • Serve as a resource for local producers and partners.
  • Plan and participate in landowner workshops and other educational events.
  • Represent Audubon at events to promote and educate the public on Audubon’s working lands programs, grassland bird conservation, and grassland management practices.
  • Other duties as required.
Qualifications and Experience:
  • Bachelor’s degree in range management, ecology, natural resources management, wildlife management, or related field required, advanced degree a plus. An equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered.
  • At least one year of experience with project development/coordination, conservation planning, or similar work.
  • Experience working with local agencies and organizations to help ranchers secure cost-share and incentive program funding to implement improved rangeland management practices.
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills, including public speaking, public presentation, and the ability to synthesize and communicate technical and complex information to both technical and non-technical audiences
  • Strong project management skills, including but not limited to setting and implementing effective goals and objectives, problem-solving, time management, contract, and grant management, creating and maintaining collaborations with other organizations, developing public awareness activities, preparing reports, etc.
  • Ability to effectively communicate with a wide range of individuals (e.g. conservation partners, private landowners and ranchers, volunteers, and local community members).
  • Working knowledge of ArcGIS, GPS, and other GIS technology.
  • Proficiency with Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and other key Microsoft Office and web-based products.
  • Experience with grassland plant identification and management.
  • Experience with avian identification and management.
  • Familiarity with common grassland management activities and grazing systems.
  • Must be comfortable with travel, with multiple overnight trips per month within the target area. Willingness to work occasional weekends and evenings as the job demands.
  • Familiarity with grassland bird ranges and their habitat associations is a must.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license.
This position is represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
EEO Statement:
The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
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COVID Policy:
All new hires must be fully vaccinated prior to their start of employment unless they are pre-qualified by HR for exemption.