Land Steward - Niobrara Valley Preserve

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Johnstown, Nebraska, USA


The mission of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is to conserve the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we develop innovative, on-the-ground solutions to the world’s toughest environmental challenges so that people and nature can thrive. Our work is guided by our values, which include a commitment to diversity and respect for people, communities, and cultures. From a rewarding mission to career development and flexible schedules, there are many reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want to know more? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube to hear stories from staff or visit Glassdoor.

One of TNC’s primary goals is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that employees around the globe have a sense of belonging and feel that their unique contributions are valued. We know we’ll only achieve our mission by hiring and engaging a diverse staff that reflects the communities in which we work. Recognizing that people bring talent and skills that have been developed outside the scope of a job, we take a holistic approach to recruitment that considers life experience in addition to the professional requirements listed in our postings. Please apply – we’d love to hear from you. To quote a popular saying at TNC, “you’ll join for the mission, and you’ll stay for the people.”


The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve is one of the largest TNC preserves in the U.S., and a model for grassland management using bison, cattle, and fire. It encompasses majestic pine-clad canyons, extensive grasslands, and a 25-mile stretch of the Niobrara River. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the preserve year-round, including the bison herd grazing in the vast open prairie.

The Conservation Practitioner IV (land steward) performs and participates in preserve operations including the maintenance, management, development and coordination of conservation and land management programs. The CPIV maintains preserve areas frequented by the visiting public, removes exotic species and/or monitors and researches species, maintains tools and equipment, operates heavy machinery, and oversees bison and cattle grazing infrastructure such as water and fencing. The CPIV may oversee technicians and volunteers to accomplish conservation programs and preserve maintenance. May assist with outreach and education events on and off the preserve. May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.

Responsibilities and scope

  • Coordinate and implement stewardship tasks that support conservation goals of the preserves, such as invasive plant management, rotational grazing, trail maintenance, and restoration projects.

  • Assist with contract management (including fencing and cedar removal), partner and vendor coordination, and project implementation. May assist with grant reporting tasks.

  • Maintain and operate tools and equipment (e.g. lawn mower, chain saw, tractor, skid steer, two-way radio, ATV, UTV, sprayers, etc.)

  • Identify, map, treat, and monitor invasive plants especially eastern redcedar

  • Monitor and maintain bison and cattle fences

  • Monitor and Maintain bison and cattle water sources (solar and windmill).

  • Conduct ecological monitoring of plant and animal communities

  • Assist with prescribed fire operations under guidance of burn boss

  • Use GPS technology (field tablet, handheld GPS unit) to support mapping and monitoring projects

  • Maintain preserve areas frequented by the visiting public including mowing and snow removal

  • May oversee seasonal technicians and volunteer groups

  • Assist with basic maintenance and management of the Niobrara Valley Preserve Field Campus and facilities

  • Interface professionally and effectively with preserve neighbors, private landowners, partners, and volunteers to garner trust and support of grazing, restoration, and fire programs within the community.

Work Environment and Schedule

  • May work under minimal and/or distant supervision; may make some independent decisions based on analysis, experience, and context.

  • May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.

  • Schedule is flexible, weekend and evening work is necessary at times

  • Long-term, On-site housing is NOT available on the preserve, but we can work with you by providing short-term, temporary housing until permanent housing is acquired.

  • Responsible for addressing and/or coordinating maintenance and repairs at the field campus


Want to help save the planet? Through the efforts of The Nature Conservancy, 56,000 acres in at the Niobrara Valley Preserve have been preserved for people and nature. From the rivers to the plains the Nebraska Chapter is dedicated to conserving the natural resources that make Nebraska unique. This is an exceptional career opportunity for a highly motivated, capable individual interested in joining the world’s leading conservation organization!



  • One (1) year related experience in ecological land management or similar field, BA/BS/AS/Technical or vocational degree in science-related field, or equivalent combination of education and experience

  • Ability to act in accordance with our code of conduct; be respectful of differences of identity and/or beliefs, and successfully work across those differences to meet work objectives.

  • Experience operating and maintaining various types of equipment and heavy machinery, e.g. lawn mowers, 4-wheel drive vehicles, power tools, grass trimmers, tractors, tracked loader, trailers, etc.

  • Must have a valid driver's license.

  • Ability to hike five miles a day on a regular basis in inclement weather and hazardous terrain.

  • Experience using common software applications such as Word, Excel, web browsers, etc.

  • Experience using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

  • Experience in Prescribed burning and/or wildfire suppression

  • Desire to advance in NWCG fire qualifications.

  • Must achieve physical fitness standards as set by local Fire Manager and the TNC Fire Manual.


  • 1 – 2 years related experience in ecological land management or equivalent combination of education and experience.

  • Multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experiences are appreciated.

  • Some experience managing volunteers or entry level staff.

  • Ability to recognize plant and animal species of Nebraska and northern great plains ecosystems to complete preserve management activities.

  • Knowledge/understanding of current trends and practices in Sandhills and Riparian conservation, land management and natural resource preservation/conservation or similar field.

  • Ability to complete tasks independently with respect to timeline(s).

  • Qualified as a Fire Fighter Type 2 (FFT2), including Introduction to ICS (I-100), Human Factors on the Fire line (L-180), Introduction to Wild Land Fire Behavior (S-190), Firefighting Training (S-130), and one training burn serving under the supervision of a qualified FFT2 OR willingness to obtain the position of FFT2. See


Since 1951, The Nature Conservancy has been doing work you can believe in protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on. Through grassroots action, TNC has grown to become one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than 1 million members, over 400 scientists, and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff, we impact conservation throughout the world!

The Nature Conservancy offers a competitive, comprehensive benefits package including: health care benefits, flexible spending accounts, 401(k) plan including employer match, parental leave, accrued paid time off, life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, other life and work wellbeing benefits. Learn more about our benefits at in the Culture Tab on

We’re proud to offer a work-environment that is supportive of the health, wellbeing, and flexibility needs of the people we employ!

This description is not designed to be a complete list of all duties and responsibilities required for this job.


This position requires a valid driver's license and compliance with TNC’s Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered "high risk drivers." To learn more about the Auto Safety Program, visit under the FAQ section.

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee's motor vehicle record.


Hourly Rate: $22 - $25 per hour

Position Closes: November 24, 2023 11:59 EST


To apply for job ID 54210 submit your materials online by using the Apply Now button at by 11:59 PM EST on November 24, 2023. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

The successful applicant must meet the requirements of The Nature Conservancy's background screening process.

Do you have military experience? Visit our U.S. Military Skills Translator to match your military experience with our current job openings!

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

An attractive salary and benefits package is part of TNC’s value proposition to our employees. TNC strives to provide competitive pay and bases salaries on the geographic location of the role committing to being equitable across groups and providing hiring salary ranges when possible.

Since we support flexible and remote work for our employees, many positions have a flexible location within countries where we’re registered as a Non-government Organization and established as an employer. This may mean we’re unable to provide a hiring salary range in the posting for some of our positions. However, candidates invited to be part of our interview process will be provided their location specific range upon request.