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Ornithology Exchange
  • Range Ecologist

    • Employer: National Audubon Society
      Location: Eastern Dakotas
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 07/15/2018
      Open Until Filled: No

    Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action.  By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive.  And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level.  What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 23 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country.  Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).

    Position Summary:

    Audubon Dakota is a growing conservation leader in North and South Dakota, establishing innovative programs to protect, conserve, and enhance habitat for a wide variety of bird species. From backyard conservation to vast prairies and prairie wetlands, Audubon Dakota is on the leading edge of advancing conservation in the Northern Great Plains. We are heavily involved with private and public stakeholders to ensure that the future is bright for birds and the community of the Northern Great Plains, because we believe that “Where birds thrive, people prosper”.  Audubon Dakota’s range ecologists work closely with local landowners to implement working lands programs, including the Audubon Conservation Ranching (ACR) Program and the Prairie Management Toolbox. These working lands programs led by Audubon Dakota aim to improve private landowners’ ability to practice bird-friendly land management. Range ecologists are responsible for enrolling landowners into these working lands programs and assisting landowners in the implementation of innovative land management practices.  Integral conservation tools utilized through these programs are habitat management plans (HMPs), which are adaptive and annually referenced by the range ecologist and landowner to determine management goals and confirm program compliance. HMPs support practices such as adaptive grazing, 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; therefore, the range ecologist needs to be familiar with grassland bird ranges and their habitat associations. The range ecologist conducts vegetation diversity and use monitoring to ensure landowners are compliant with program goals and are enhancing their grasslands to benefit grassland birds.

    **To be considered for this role, you must include a cover letter with your application**

    **This position will be based remotely in Eastern Dakotas**

    Essential Functions:

    • Serve as an on-the-ground range ecologist for Audubon Dakota’s working lands programs to enhance grassland habitat for Dakotas priority bird species. This will include:
    • Landowner Liaison - Provide excellent technical service to agricultural producers participating in Audubon Dakota’s working lands conservation programs.
    • Facilitate demand for Audubon Dakota conservation programs through partnerships with local agencies and organizations. 
    • Provide timely access to financial assistance programs for enrolled ranches, through Audubon, local, state, and federal financial assistance opportunities.
    • Maintain connections with local conservation professionals and organizations to deliver programs.
    • Habitat Management - Advocate science-supported habitat management on partner lands.
    • Establish habitat management plans using SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time sensitive) goals on all enrolled program ranches under the range ecologist’s supervision.
    • 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.
    • Team Player - Participate in all appropriate administrative duties of the state office.
    • Support grant writing related to Audubon Dakota Conservation work.
    • Participate in local events targeted at youth, professionals, or the general community to share expertise.
    • Maintain excellent communication with supervisor and administrative staff.
    • Professional Development - Continuously improve skills related to range management and avian conservation.
    • Attend training events held by local partners, such as NRCS, USFWS, and state grazing coalitions.
    • Become a USDA certified conservation planner, if not currently certified.


    • Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree in range management, ecology, natural resources management or related field, preferred.
    • Must possess excellent verbal and written communication skills and be able to work effectively with producers and a variety of partners.
    • 1+ years’ experience with similar work within the target area.
    • Grassland plant identification and management knowledge.
    • Avian identification and management knowledge.
    • Knowledge of common grazing systems in the northern Great Plains.
    • Experience working with local agencies and organizations to help ranchers secure cost-share and incentive program funding to implement improved rangeland management practices
    • Working knowledge of ArcGIS, GPS, or other GIS technology
    • Must be comfortable with extensive day travel and occasional overnight travel, up to 20%.
    • Must possess valid driver’s license.

    Other Information:

    • Position will be located in Eastern North Dakota, but office location is flexible within this region.
    • This position is grant funded, and grant funds are available for a 2-year position. Audubon Dakota anticipates pursuing additional grant funding for the position.
    • The range ecologist will work under the direction of Audubon Dakota’s Senior Range Ecologist to meet position and program related goals.
    • Essential gear is provided, including a laptop, GPS, and organization apparel.

    Application Instructions:

    **To be considered for this role, you must include a cover letter with your application**

    Submit applications through Audubon's career portal along with your resume and cover letter.  

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