The Grassland Conservation Program Manager (Program Manager) leads Audubon’s work to enhance grassland bird habitat on working lands through development and application of regional bird-friendly management practices and ranch specific habitat management plans, monitoring of bird populations and natural resources, testing and development of market-based solutions and incentive programs, and outreach and education on Farm Bill legislation and Farm Bill conservation programs. This position will work closely with federal and state natural resource and wildlife agencies, civic organizations such as livestock and agricultural alliances and conservation partners, and individual ranchers to meet these goals. The initial geographic focus of the grassland conservation programming is the Southern Shortgrass Prairie and shin oak community in eastern New Mexico with programmatic expansion in the Southern Rockies Colorado Plateau short-grass prairies and Chihuahuan Desert grasslands as time and resources permit.
The ideal candidate for this position will have range management and/or private lands wildlife conservation experience, proven ability to work with a variety of partners, ability to manage complex projects, skills to communicate and work with private landowners, and a passion for science-based conservation and working lands conservation.
- Under the supervision of the Director of Conservation, lead efforts to identify, prioritize, apply and implement resources and strategies to strengthen region-specific bird-friendly land management, grassland conservation programs and delivery, and market opportunities and incentives for sustainable livestock production on New Mexico’s working grasslands.
Planning and Policy:
- Working with Audubon New Mexico’s Conservation Director, the Audubon network and partners, identify key strategies including Farm Bill programs that will increase the capacity to further goals of grassland conservation and full life-cycle conservation of grassland birds in New Mexico and across the Great Plains.
- Using region specific bird-friendly habitat protocols, assist ranchers with implementing a habitat management plan that provides essential habitat needs for target grassland bird species.
Monitoring and Research Coordination:
- Work with scientists, partners and Audubon staff in New Mexico and the Audubon network to achieve research goals and communicate results widely to appropriate audiences including: monitoring of bird populations, vegetation, soils and other natural resources; economic and marketing studies on development of supply and value chains for pasture-raised beef; and cost-benefit studies on bird-friendly habitat management practices.
- Apply the best available science to further the acquisition of knowledge to inform alternative on-ranch management practices such as rotational grazing, adaptive high stock density, holistic managed grazing and/or patch-burn grazing. Provide scientific input to the research efforts within the Grasslands Conservation Program.
- Develop and maintain relationships with partners, including but not limited to the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Intermountain West and Playa Lakes Joint Venture, Office of State Lands, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, New Mexico Avian Conservation Partners, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Center for Excellence, Association of New Mexico Soil and Water Conservation Districts, livestock and landowner alliances, and private ranchers and farmers.
Public Relations, Outreach and Education:
- With the support and direction of the Audubon New Mexico’s Communications and Engagement Manager, raise brand awareness about bird-friendly land management and the Grasslands Conservation Program to targeted audiences through printed, spoken, and electronic media outreach channels.
- Host workshops with agency, NGO, and landowners to both gather and disseminate information.
- Support Audubon NM Director of Education in the creation of a grassland education curriculum including providing technical assistance about grassland ecology and management, as well as helping identify potential partners, guest lecturers, field sites, and projects to benefit students.
- Establish and maintain relationships with ranchers and landowners to facilitate development of and participation in grassland conservation programing.
- Communicate program goals and objectives of Audubon’s Grassland Conservation Program.
- Assist the Senior Management Team to identify and secure program funding.
Qualifications and Experience:
- Bachelor’s degree in rangeland ecology, environmental science, natural resource management, or related field, as well as 3+ years’ experience of program management in organizations that have a reputation for strategic thinking and organizational excellence.
- Familiarity with farming and/or ranching systems and environments and their interaction with birds or other wildlife.
- Knowledge and appreciation of the people, values, and current ranching and agricultural conservation issues.
- Experience applying the best available science and other information to achieve conservation outcomes.
- Ability to synthesize and communicate technical and complex information for a non-technical audience, with effective communication skills reaching farmer, rancher and rural audiences desired.
- Excellent written and verbal communications skills with experience in grant writing and working with the press preferred.
- Effective interpersonal skills—ability to motivate people to action.
- Demonstrated skills applying a range of field data collection techniques and experience with research, data management, and basic statistical analysis are desired.
- Demonstrated ability to identify birds by sight and sound preferred.
- A working knowledge of ArcView/ArcInfo or other GIS technology preferred.
- Ability to operate Windows-based computers.
- Willing to conduct in-state travel, occasional out-of-state travel and be comfortable with working evenings and weekends as job responsibilities demand.
- Valid driver's license is necessary.
- Demonstrated interest in and a commitment to conservation.
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