Forest Program Manager- Audubon South Carolina
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).
Situated on the Atlantic Flyway, South Carolina provides critical stopover and nesting habitat for hundreds of bird species, including dozens in decline and/or at serious risk from climate change. Audubon South Carolina (ASC) is a state program of the National Audubon Society, and focuses on establishing statewide conservation and education programs while independently pursuing local funding to support these efforts. ASC, with a staff of 20 full- and part-time professionals, is poised to fulfill significant elements of National Audubon Society’s strategic plan to conserve birds and habitats at scale. The work of Audubon South Carolina is grounded in science, education, policy, and on-the-ground conservation with more than 22,000 acres of land, 20,000 members and 6 Chapters. ASC programs include the Audubon Center and Sanctuary at Beidler Forest (18,000 acres in Four Holes Swamp watershed of the Edisto River) and Silver Bluff Center and Sanctuary (3,400 acres located on the Savannah River outside of Aiken), and additional land assets in Charleston, Colleton, Calhoun and Orangeburg Counties. ASC just recognized 4 million acres of Important Bird Areas, associated with high priority forest blocks that correspond to the major river systems of South Carolina. ASC has developed Bird-Friendly Forest Best Management Practices for Bottomland Hardwood forest systems and has an active demonstration site at Silver Bluff. Both Sanctuaries are active in Longleaf Pine Restoration efforts. The Forest Program Manager will oversee additional outreach opportunities to promote ASC BMPs in other IBA forest systems in the state. Audubon South Carolina is based in Charleston SC with offices in Aiken, Harleyville and will soon have an opportunity to influence forest management in the Winyah Bay region of Northeastern SC. Audubon operates several wetlands mitigation banks and a Carbon Sequestration Bank. The Forest Manager will be active in mitigation negotiations and implementation.
Audubon South Carolina has a robust forest program that includes working with private landowners and public land managers in the forested landscapes in the state to implement forest management practices to enhance habitat for priority birds. Reporting to the Executive Director, and working with State and Center Staff, the Forest Program Manager will be charged with leading forest protection and stewardship efforts, with a focus on key-forested landscapes in the priority forests of the state, as part of Audubon’s Healthy Forests and Audubon’s Climate initiative that protects and restores Climate Stronghold Forests (forests that NAS Science has determined to be critical in the future for the diversity and richness of forest interior species as temperature and precipitation changes in response to increasing CO2 emissions. This position is responsible for leading the efforts to achieve expected outcomes in a grant received from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Forest Habitat Stewardship Program. Additionally, s/he will design and conduct education and outreach programs in partnership with SC Forest Commission, NRCS, USFWS, SC DNR, NGO partners including TNC, Lord Berkeley Land Trust, Pee Dee Land Trust and others targeting forest owners and managers, both public and private, to promote sustainable forest management techniques that create habitat required by priority forest bird species (Swainson’s Warblers, Prothonotary Warbler, Red Cockaded Woodpecker as three umbrella species). The Program Manager effectively trains foresters on bird-friendly management practices; conducts field assessments; and consults with forest land owners and managers on management plans for their properties. S/he collaborates with Audubon staff from SC and other states in the Atlantic Flyway, as well as with partner organizations that share Audubon’s forest conservation objectives. In addition, the Forest Program Manager will work with and advise Audubon South Carolina’s Executive Director and two Sanctuary Manager in the pursuit of policies and programs that promote and support our forest conservation goals.
The National Audubon Society has completed a Strategic Plan and Audubon South Carolina is in the process of finalizing a complementary state implementation plan. Forest focus areas have been identified throughout the U.S. portion of the flyway, with a long-term goal of increasing the proportions of those areas that are protected from conversion to non-forest uses and managed in ways that are compatible with the habitat needs of priority species.
Candidates should include a cover letter when applying to this position. Additionally, the role may be located remotely, with a strong desire for the Harleyville Beidler Center as frequent travel for meetings, events and other activities will be required.
- Manage and oversee the Land Managers/Sanctuary Managers at Beidler Center and Sanctuary and Silver Bluff Center and Sanctuary and additional staff as the program evolves in funding and capacity.
- Develop decision-making framework to help forest managers identify treatments in specific situations that benefit target bird species.
- Promote training program for foresters to increase their understanding of integrating silviculture and forest management for birds.
- Develop, plan, and deliver outreach programs, in collaboration with partners, to promote sustainable forest management that also helps create habitat required by priority bird species.
- Conduct workshops and outreach to private landowners, public land managers, foresters, and others.
- Conduct field site visits and assess properties and management plans in order to provide management options to improve bird habitat; and write habitat management plans.
- Serve as a leader and expert on forest management and forest bird habitat requirements in order to advise other Audubon South Carolina staff members.
- Collaborate with other Audubon staff in surrounding states on Healthy Forests and Climate Stronghold projects.
- Enhance existing and establish new partnerships with state and federal agencies and NGOs.
- Provide technical review and develop comments on public land management as related to forest conservation.
- Work with land trusts, state and federal government agencies, and other conservation groups to achieve conservation results shared with Audubon’s forest program.
- Identify funding opportunities to further the forest program, and assist with writing grant proposals, developing grant reports and meeting with donors, as needed to support the forest program.
- Give public presentations and bird walks as related to the forest program.
- Assist with other project-related activities deemed necessary by Audubon South Carolina and partners.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
Qualifications and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree in forestry, natural resources, conservation biology, wildlife management, or a closely related field required, as well as 3-5 years of relevant professional experience. Master’s degree preferred and an equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered.
- Strong knowledge of forest birds of South Carolina and their habitat requirements and the ability to identify all forest birds by sight and sound, as well as knowledge of forestry and forest management techniques that are employed in eastern forests.
- Ability to use GIS for conservation planning; proficiency with MS Office applications also required.
- Ability to traverse uneven and steep terrain in inclement weather.
- Must have a valid driver’s license and vehicle and be able to provide your own transportation.
- Must be results-oriented; success will be evaluated by number of forest owners and managers reached, number of foresters trained, and, ultimately, by acres of habitat properly managed.
- Excellent writing and oral communication skills.
- Able to work independently as well as part of a larger team in a dynamic fast-paced environment.
- Strong interpersonal and social skills with a positive attitude and good sense of humor.
- Passion for and commitment to the mission of the National Audubon Society.
- This position requires a self-motivated, independent, progress-driven individual who is capable of interacting extensively with private landowners and conservation partners.
- Must have strong social skills to work well with private landowners and maintain productive partnerships with agencies and other conservation groups.
- Experience in South Carolina forest systems, Longleaf Pine Restoration, Bottomland Hardwood management, and wetlands mitigation.