Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (DU) is seeking an experienced wildlife biologist to deliver conservation projects, lead partner teams and strengthen partnerships across the northeastern portion of its “Big Rivers Initiative” (BRI) program area (as further identified below), with a focus on DU’s conservation opportunity areas. The position will invest considerable time and resources in leading and managing diverse partnerships through collaborative and strategic conservation planning at the parcel-level, conducting landowner outreach, assessing conservation opportunities (both protection and restoration) on private and public parcels, and discussing additional opportunities with landowners and managers. The position will work closely with multiple partners, especially the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and State wildlife agencies, and become part of a highly-motivated team of biologists, land protection specialists, engineers, public policy experts, scientific researchers and other resource professionals responsible for the protection, restoration and enhancement of wetlands and other associated habitats.
Specific Duties and Responsibilities
The primary duties and responsibilities include initiation, coordination, and delivery of DU and partnership objectives in conservation across the northeastern BRI program area, encapsulating southeastern Wisconsin, northeastern and east-central Illinois, and northern Indiana. This position may also assist existing DU staff in other regions. Simultaneous management of multiple projects at varying stages of development across a wide range of disciplines in conservation will be required.
A) Project Initiation will include but not be limited to developing relationships with public agencies, non-profit partners, private landowners, funders, and other stakeholders to identify and implement shared objectives around targeted conservation areas. Associated tasks may include but are not limited to fundraising (including grant-writing), developing strategic plans, conducting outreach, meeting with legislators, other potential stakeholders and landowners, managing land acquisition and protection processes and contractors, and initiating and managing habitat projects to protect, restore and enhance wetlands and associated uplands.
B) Project Coordination will require concise communication and competent evaluation to assess DU and larger partnership needs, leverage unique partner strengths, prioritize multiple objectives to maximize efficiency and effectiveness, and develop processes to guide equitable implementation. Associated tasks may include but are not limited to coordinating with Federal, State and Non-government staff, and with DU policy, fundraising, and conservation staff to identify and assign tasks and responsibilities, facilitate regular meetings, manage multiple stakeholders and engage funders.
C) Project Delivery will broadly include completing initiated projects through efficient coordination and administration. Deliverables will include but not be limited to administering grant awards, implementing partnership objectives, identifying grant sources to leverage and implement active projects, developing restoration projects with partners and in coordination with DU engineering staff, completing new fee-title acquisition, conservation easement and property transfer projects, and development of outreach, education, and communication pieces promoting DU’s mission and accomplishments to DU members, volunteers, major donors, partners, elected leaders and media contacts. For project delivery, the position will need to manage contractors and permitting agencies to ensure timely and on-budget completion of projects.
The Biologist I may additionally be asked to assist with some DU volunteer events, major donor engagement, recognition events and to lead aspects of public policy efforts. Establishing and maintaining long-term successful relationships with conservation partners and funding entities is essential. This position requires frequent work out-of-doors, possibly in inclement weather, and may require physical exertion or lifting as needed. A flexible schedule, and overnight travel are required.
• Knowledge of wetland and waterfowl ecology, land protection, natural resource conservation, and the management of wetland and native grassland habitats.
• Demonstrated leadership skills coordinating diverse interest groups and experienced conservation professionals around common goals.
• Demonstrated skills in written communication, public speaking and establishing professional and positive working relationships with landowners, partners, and other colleagues.
• Experience managing multiple tasks and delegating to stay proactive and meet deadlines.
• Minimum of a Bachelor of Science degree (M.S. preferred) in Wildlife Biology, Ecology, or related natural resources field with at least five years of professional work experience in conservation (including internships).
• Knowledge of local, state, and federal conservation programs and policies (especially the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and U.S. Farm Bill) used to protect and restore wetlands and grasslands.
• Proven ability to secure grant funding, prepare funding reports, and help manage detailed budgets
• Experience with spatial analysis and working with geographic information systems programs.
• Knowledge of the conservation organizations and funders working in the stated geography