Land Stewardship Manager

Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation

The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (“JDCF”) is a 501(c) nonprofit conservation land trust whose mission is to preserve land for the lasting well-being of people and wildlife. JDCF is an accredited land trust that works with volunteers, local landowners, business owners, and community leaders to find creative solutions to conservation challenges that produce lasting results. Since its founding in 1993, JDCF has preserved over 5800 acres of land in the beautiful Driftless Area of Jo Daviess County, Illinois. JDCF’s preserves are free and open to the public for recreation and enjoyment.

JDCF offers competitive pay, as well as a benefits package that includes health insurance, employer contributed retirement funds, and generous paid time off.

Position Summary

The Land Stewardship Manager (“the Manager”) position is a full-time, permanent position responsible for the stewardship, management, ecological restoration, and maintenance of public access of the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation’s (“JDCF”) preserves and conservation areas. This position reports to the Director of Land Conservation.

This is an exciting opportunity for motivated individual with a passion for conservation and natural areas. The selected individual will have the opportunity to work in a dynamic, results-driven nonprofit organization and create a lasting impact on the landscape of northwest Illinois.

The Manager’s time will be split between working on office-based duties at the JDCF office (or remotely) and field-based duties as needed. Responsibilities include supervision of other Land Stewardship Program employees, including two permanent staff positions, temporary work crews, and internships. The Manager shall also supervise and interface with Land Stewardship Program volunteers, including the Galena Area Land Enthusiasts (“GALE”). The Manager is also responsible for implementing land management plans, ecological restoration plans, leading prescribed ecological burns, maintaining sites for public access and recreation, and managing contractors working on JDCF sites.

Essential Functions

The Manager’s primary responsibility is managing 9 sites (1338 acres) owned by the JDCF as well as 3 sites (672 acres) owned by JDCF’s conservation partners and co-managed by JDCF. These properties require land management activities and restoration of habitats including various prairie and forest ecosystems. Many of these properties are open to the general public for recreation and enjoyment and require maintenance of public access amenities.

On-Site Preserve Management and Stewardship

  • Implement management plans and ecological restorations on JDCF sites independently or alongside other staff, volunteers, interns, and temporary work crews. Routine tasks include invasive species control, tree/vegetation removal, mowing, and trail maintenance
  • Serve as Burn Boss for all prescribed burns on JDCF sites and function as co-manager of the NW Illinois Burn Co-op
  • Unaided operation of vehicles and equipment in a variety of maintenance, construction, and/or utility tasks. Operate heavy equipment under extreme environmental conditions including tractors, trucks with trailers, trail mowers, chainsaws, sprayers, hand saws, and small tools. Repair and maintain supplies and equipment
  • Ensure routine maintenance and upkeep of any buildings, structures, or public amenities located on JDCF sites

Manage and Supervise Employees and Volunteers

  • Management of other Land Stewardship Program employees including week-to-week scheduling of work for Seasonal, Internship, and Maintenance positions; approving leave requests; certifying time sheets; conducting training; purchasing supplies and equipment
  • Supervising land management and stewardship work by Stewardship Branch employees at all sites as well as ensuring
  • Manage, recruit, inspire, and empower volunteers for the Land Stewardship program

Office-Based and Administrative Duties

  • Assist the Director of Land Conservation with the development of land management plans and ecological restoration plans as needed for JDCF preserves.
  • Assist Director of Land Conservation with the development of grant funding applications and work plans for grant-funded projects
  • Serve as Co-Chair of the JDCF Land Stewardship Committee to develop policies, land management plans, and inform and educate committee of stewardship program
  • Serve as JDCF’s Cultural Resource Manager, reviewing all proposed actions and development at the organization level to ensure no unethical or on the ground negative impacts occur to Cultural Sites
  • Serve as JDCF’s Prescribed Burn Program Manager, ensuring all prescribed burning activities comply with JDCF’s Prescribed Burn Policies and applicable law.
  • Handle other duties as assigned

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Experience

  • Bachelor of Science Degree in biology, natural resources, land use management, forestry, or other related field
  • Two to five years of relevant professional experience
  • Familiarity with plant and animal communities typical of the Upper Midwest region
  • Experience implementing land management and ecological restoration plans
  • Strong social and interpersonal skills including the ability to resolve and mediate conflict and maintain good working relationships with coworkers, volunteers, and members of the community.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead employees, volunteers, and interns in performing tasks through indirect supervision or as a project/team leader.
  • Knowledge of operation and maintenance of vehicles including tractors, pick-up trucks, trailers and equipment in a variety of maintenance, construction and/or utility tasks.
  • Experience planning and leading prescribed ecological burns in prairie and woodland habitats.
  • Experience working with trail mowers, tractors, chainsaws, sprayers, weed whip, and hand tools.
  • Ability to effectively relate to a diverse range of people, including both oral and written communication skills.
  • Ability to work in extreme environmental conditions, including excessive heat and cold, biting and stinging insects, and steep terrain.
  • Able to perform heavy lifting of weights up to 60 pounds
  • Computer literacy, including using a database to maintain land management records, use of the internet, and Microsoft Office Suite

Required Training, Licenses, and Certifications

  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Illinois Pesticide Applicator License (within 1 month of hire) or other state’s equivalent certification
  • Illinois Certified Prescribed Burn Manager (within 6 months of hire) or other state’s equivalent certification
  • National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG):
    • S-130 Firefighter Training
    • S-190 Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior
    • S-131 Firefight Type 1 (within 6 months of hire)
    • S-219 Firing Operations (within 6 months of hire)
    • S-290 Intermediate Wildland Fire Behavior (within one year of hire)
    • S-390 Advanced Wildland Fire Behavior (within one year of hire)
    • S-212 Wildfire Chainsaw (or SAWW Level 2)
  • Safety and Woods Worker (SAWW) Level 2 Certification (or equivalent)

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