Whiterock Conservancy (www.whiterockconservancy.org), a 5,500-acre non-profit land trust founded in 2005, located in rural west-central Iowa along the Middle Raccoon River near the progressive small town of Coon Rapids, Iowa (www.coonrapidsiowa.org), is seeking a full-time Land Conservation Director.
WRC manages a diverse landscape that includes crop ground, pastures, farm districts, recreational trails, and remnant oak ecosystems and prairies that are being actively restored. . The ideal candidate will manage WRC’s agricultural and non-production lands for ecological health, recreation, and production and work with constituents and partners to sustain restoration activities, develop strategic plans, and develop land management and outreach initiatives. Leads field data collection activities, data analysis and interpretation, and uses data gathered and assessed to deliver/develop education programs and to help set, develop, and implement WRC conservation programs.
Whiterock was created in 2005 to steward a large, bio-diverse private land donation that includes seven square miles of land along both sides of the Middle Raccoon River as well as the historic Garst Farm District visited by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev during the Cold War. Whiterock’s three main programs are: 1) environmental stewardship and restoration of prairie, wetland, woodland, riverine and oak savanna habitats; 2) demonstrate sustainable agriculture practices (pasture and crop ground) for operational income and to demonstrate profitable and scalable sustainable agriculture practices; and 3) education and low-impact public recreation including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, lodging, camping, event hosting, canoeing, interpretive events, exhibits and signs.
Whiterock has endowment and farm income sufficient for minimum operations but relies on grants and donations for internal trail and facilities development, restoration activities, and public programming activities. The WRC team is comprised of 20-25 employees, which increases seasonally, to meet land management needs.
Whiterock’s Vision Whiterock Conservancy works to achieve a sustainable, resilient rural landscape, and transform people’s connection with agriculture and nature. Whiterock’s Mission is provide Iowa’s most sought after outdoor destination as a place to witness, enjoy and learn; where every acre advances economic, environmental and social good; and where the landscape is managed to regenerate life on earth. Land stewardship, agriculture, and restoration activities take place concurrently with developing a variety of ways, both recreational and educational, for the public to interact with Whiterock’s unique history and landscape.
Reports directly to: Executive Director
Status: Full-Time Year Round Salaried - Exempt
Vacation: 10 Days Annually (year 1)
Paid Holidays: 10 Days Annually
Health Insurance: Whiterock provides up to $3,600 payment/reimbursement for health insurance.
Proximity to WRC:. On site housing may be available
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
• Develop/possess a strong agro-ecological background with regards to oak ecosystems, prairies, crop ground, and pasture systems.
• Develop annual work plans and supervise staff in the implementation of land management activities.
• Ability to direct and support long-term stewardship planning on a large scale (5,000+ acres).
• Sustain long-term record keeping and update when needed.
• Provides science-based leadership and planning of WRC's land management, including but not limited to merging conservation and land protection issues with enhanced public recreation opportunities and agricultural production.
• Develops assessment protocols for and leads implementation of baseline ecological data collection on WRC property, environmental impact assessment data on WRC property, long-term ecological monitoring of WRC property.
• Facilitates and develops partnerships with like-minded organizations, local, state, regional and federal agencies and research institutions as needed to develop and deliver WRC conservation programs.
• Work closely with the Land Stewardship Committee and the Board of Directors to ensure information is being shared and effectively communicated.
• Ensure metrics established WRC’s strategic plan being met, and adapted as necessary, to fulfill strategic plan objectives.
• Administers WRC’s USDA program contracts and contract implementation, including Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts and mid-contract management practice implementation, Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contracts and practice implementation, and land certification.
• Manage WRC’s agricultural leases to develop and implement innovative agricultural programs that integrate production systems with land conservation and outdoor recreation.
• Manage WRC’s hunting leases to ensure the health of the ecosystem and ensure that game species populations remain stable.
• Assists with the implementation of conservation-science based Best Management Practices (BMP's) on WRC property and works with adjacent private landowner properties as needed.
• Serves as WRC on-site natural heritage expert with an emphasis on performing natural resource talks and interpretation for individuals and groups.
• Provides all of WRC’s GIS-based land management and mapping program needs, including GIS generated maps and figures (protection plans, restoration plans, sampling plans, partner reports, river conservation and monitoring plans).
• Ability to operate farm machinery associated with routine operations of WRC’s land and the implementation of special projects.
• Plan and implement prescribed fire practices at WRC.
• Assist with livestock management.
• Assists in the development and delivery of professional workshops and presentations.
• Develop, write, and implement grants designed to deliver WRC conservation, recreation, and working landscape programs.
• Attends local, regional, and national meetings to represent WRC as needed.
• Supervise land maintenance staff and volunteers in the delivery of routine land management tasks and special projects, including but not limited to land restoration projects, agricultural projects, and recreation projects.
• Acts in the best interest of WRC at all times while serving in the capacity of WRC representation.
• Carries out programmatic responsibilities in accordance with WRC's organizational policies, programs and procedures.
• Participates in non-grant related fundraising efforts, including but not limited to assisting with donor and constituent cultivation events and community/special events.
• Provides assistance with, and science-expertise for, the development and production of WRC publications, including but not limited to newsletters, media releases, brochures and flyers, advertising, display board development, interpretive signage, and special program development.
• Willingness to travel on business, using own vehicle if necessary, under the existing WRC business travel reimbursement policy.
• Become active in advancing community-related activities, strive to participate in a community-leadership capacity.
• Willing to assist with general upkeep of office space and general office/clerical tasks, such as but not limited to copying, running business errands, helping to keep the office stocked with office materials as needed.
• Assists Executive Director with organizational strategic planning, development of 1-year work plans, development of yearly projects and the organizational budget.
• Performs other duties and responsibilities as assigned.
• A Bachelor’s of Science Degree in watershed science, agronomy, natural resource management, environmental planning, geography, or a related field; plus 3 or more years professional experience.
• Proficient computer skills, experience with all aspects of using ArcGIS software.
• Proven commitment to conservation of natural resources and agricultural production. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
• Must have ability to work successfully with people at all levels and proficient public presentation skills. Ability to travel and willingness to work some evenings and weekends.
• Master’s of Science Degree in environmental science, biology, agronomy, land management, natural resource management, geography, or a related field.
• Applied experience in production agriculture.
To apply, send a resume and cover letter to Daniel Gudahl, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may contact Dan with questions at 712-292-8640. The position is open until filled. Start date is negotiable.