Forest Program Associate
Situated on the Atlantic Flyway, Pennsylvania provides critical stopover and nesting habitat for hundreds of bird species, including dozens in decline and/or at serious risk from habitat loss, climate change, and a variety of other environmental stressors. Audubon Pennsylvania (APA) 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.
Audubon Pennsylvania, with a staff of 21 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 Pennsylvania is grounded in science, education, policy, and on-the-ground conservation with more than 30,000 members and 21 Chapters. APA programs include the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, the Discovery Center in Philadelphia, and the Waggoner’s Gap Hawk Watch in Carlisle. Adding to activities are programs across central Pennsylvania and Important Bird Area projects throughout the state, with a significant presence in the Kittatinny Ridge area of eastern and central Pennsylvania. Audubon Pennsylvania is based in the village of Audubon at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, with offices in Harrisburg.
Audubon Pennsylvania is developing a robust forest program that includes working with private landowners and public land managers in the forested landscapes in the north-central and western regions of the state to implement forest management practices to enhance habitat for priority birds.
Reporting to the Forest Program Director and based in central Pennsylvania, the Forest Program Associate will help implement forest conservation efforts, with a focus on key-forested landscapes in the north-central and western regions of the state, as part of the organization’s Healthy Forests initiative – a critical contribution to Audubon’s national Working Lands conservation strategy. Specifically, this position will help deliver expected outcomes associated with a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program. The Program Associate helps design and conduct management, education, and outreach programs targeting forest owners and managers, both public and private, to promote sustainable forest management techniques that create habitat required by priority forest bird species (Prairie Warbler, Golden-winged warbler, American Woodcock, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, and Wood Thrush). They will also train foresters on bird-friendly management practices, conduct field assessments and consult with forest owners and managers on management plans for their properties. A key contributor to forest work within the Atlantic Flyway, the Program Associate effectively collaborates with key Audubon staff in the eastern region and partners with organizations that share Audubon’s forest conservation objectives.
Candidates will ideally be based out of State College, PA given eastern and western state travel required for the job, although other locations may be considered. Additionally this position is grant-funded for three years, but there is an opportunity for renewal pending programmatic needs.
- Help develop decision-making framework to help forest managers identify treatments in specific situations that benefit target bird species.
- Develop 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 Pennsylvania staff members.
- Collaborate with other Audubon staff in surrounding states on Healthy Forests projects.
- Enhance existing and establish new partnerships with state and federal agencies and NGOs.
- Work with land trusts, state and federal government agencies, and other conservation groups to achieve conservation results shared with Audubon’s forest program.
- Give public presentations and bird walks as related to the forest program.
- Assist with other project-related activities deemed necessary by Audubon Pennsylvania and partners.
Qualifications and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree in forestry, natural resources, conservation biology, wildlife management, or a closely related field (Master’s degree preferred) and 3-5 years’ relevant professional experience required. An equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered.
- Strong knowledge of forest birds of Pennsylvania and their habitat requirements; must be able to identify forest birds by both sight and sound.
- Demonstrated understanding of forestry and forest management techniques that are employed in eastern forests.
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to coordinate with diverse audiences, including landowners and forestry professionals.
- 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.
- Ability to work independently and part of a larger team in a dynamic fast-paced environment. A positive attitude and sense of humor is essential.
- Tech-savviness, including proficiency with Microsoft Office applications and comfort using GIS for conservation planning.
- Willingness and ability to work outdoors, including in inclement weather and traversing across uneven and steep terrains.
- Must have a valid driver’s license and personal vehicle for state-based travel.
- Passion for and commitment to the mission of the National Audubon Society.