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Conservation Land Steward

Website HCA_KC Heartland Conservation Alliance

Position available: Conservation Land Steward (full-time)

Work Schedule: Tuesday – Saturday

Heartland Conservation Alliance (HCA) is seeking a full-time, year-round Conservation Land Steward to work as part of a growing team to advance our mission, core values, and strategic initiatives. Our mission is to work with partners in the Kansas City metro to connect, protect, and restore the Blue River watershed and its urban greenspaces for the benefit and enjoyment of all. HCA is also committed to building an inclusive work environment and thus strongly encourages qualified candidates from all backgrounds and beliefs to apply.

​​Position Summary

The Conservation Land Steward, who works under the supervision of the Conservation Program Manager, is responsible for managing natural areas in accordance with HCA’s strategic plan and Blue River Action Plan. To do this, the Land Steward will work with HCA, partner organizations, and volunteers to sustain land and water conservation benefits across a wide range of HCA projects and partner initiatives. In the field, the Land Steward will  manage conserved properties, implement and monitor (including effectiveness of) restoration actions, help assess new project opportunities, and contribute to landscape-scale conservation initiatives throughout the Blue River watershed. The Land Steward will also lead training and provide mentorship to HCA/partner led workforce development and volunteer stewardship programs.

Key Responsibilities

The Conservation Land Steward will carry out land stewardship and monitoring activities for habitat restoration sites, manage public access, and support community engagement goals for HCA owned land, conservation easements and partner-owned land in order of priority. Stewardship work will be both administrative (i.e., in-office project/plan development) and practical (i.e., field-based conservation work). Work plan elements vary across seasons but will generally include (but are not limited to) the duties outlined below. Note that percentage allocations are only an estimate and may change depending on staffing and programmatic needs.

Land and Easement Stewardship (50%)

  • Help develop and lead stewardship and restoration projects in accordance with HCA’s Blue River Action Plan and 2023-2027 strategic plan. 
    • Restoration activities may include removing and treating invasive species, planting native plants and seed collection, trail maintenance and building, managing prescribed burns, and overseeing volunteer workday events.
    • Safely operate and maintain all stewardship-related machinery and equipment. 
    • Identify, record, and manage non-native plant species using best management practices in mechanical and chemical control techniques followed by native planting implementation and monitoring.
    • Assist staff by providing oversight to volunteers, training programs, interns, work crews, contractors, and seasonal staff as delegated. 
    • Lead public volunteer workday events (typically on Saturdays) related to ongoing conservation projects. 
    • Manage public access protected land as assigned.  
  • Monitor HCA-held conservation easements through site visits and documentation while also facilitating positive landowner relations. 
  • Support the creation of property condition assessments, baseline documentation reports, and land management and monitoring plans, including the collection of field data, file organization, writing, and staff/partner consultation.
  • Manage riparian/stream habitat assessments as needed for the Blue River and its tributaries.

Internal Organization Support and External Partnership Development (40%) 

  • Provide regular training and mentorship to the Build Trybe workforce development
  • Conservation Landscaping program while also connecting Build Trybe to external training and engagement opportunities with other partners.
  • Accurately record and enter stewardship and volunteer data into the monitoring database. 
  • Support other HCA programs (Environmental Justice and Education & Outreach) and community outreach events as needed.  
  • Assist Finance & Administration Manager with Land Trust Accreditation as appropriate.
  • Collect field observations and high-quality photos for reporting, communications, and outreach. 
  • Participate in organizational planning efforts including strategic planning and work plans.   

Administrative and Fiscal Responsibilities (10%) 

  • Complete expense reports, including collection, review, and submission of invoices for payment along with accurately recording/coding related receipts and qualified mileage reimbursements. 
  • Actively participate in all-staff meetings, training, committees, and partner events as directed.  
  • Assist Conservation Program Manager with property budget management and work plans. 
  • Assist in grant writing and fundraising efforts as directed. 
    Other duties as assigned. 

Required Qualifications

  • Ability to walk a minimum of one mile over rough terrain, navigate in remote areas, and work independently under physically demanding conditions, including inclement weather (field-based position with some office work). 
  • Have a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance, and good driving record.
  • Willingness to have a variable and flexible work schedule (Tue-Sat), including working weekends and evenings to accommodate training programs, volunteer workdays, and other events. 

Preferred Qualifications – May be met with related college or university degree programs, significant professional or volunteer experience, certification programs, skills courses, or a combination thereof.

  • Field experience in ecological land management and familiarity with principles of ecology, habitat restoration and management, floodplain dynamics, and climate change adaptation/resilience.   
  • Knowledge of and experience working with a land trust and/or in urban conservation and restoration projects using best management practices, including strong problem-solving, critical thinking, and technical application skills. 
  • Working knowledge of local flora, fauna, and hydrology or ability to quickly get up to speed.   
  • Ability to identify and remove invasive and non-native herbaceous and woody plant species using manual, mechanical, prescribed fire, and chemical techniques.
  • Computer proficiency in word processing, database and spreadsheet applications, and mapping software with preference for ArcGIS or qGIS.
  • Highly organized and motivated to create action plans, satisfy grant deliverables, and meet project deadlines.
  • Ability to work independently and make day-to-day decisions using sound judgment without direct oversight.
  • Ability to foster community and comradery that creates a safe, professional, collaborative, and growth-oriented work environment.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and experience communicating with diverse peoples of varying expertise and engagement. 
  • Ability to engage volunteers and the general public in educational outreach activities.
  • Track record of successful leadership in managing, motivating, and training individuals and teams to implement and complete short- and long- term projects, including real-time troubleshooting when challenges arise.
  • Desired (not required) job-specific experience, training, and/or certifications: 
    • Missouri/Kansas Master Naturalist
    • Invasive species removal/treatment
    • Pesticide/herbicide applicator license 
    • Stream quality assessment
    • Stormwater best management practices
    • Erosion control
    • Prescribed burns
    • Trail establishment and maintenance 
    • Chainsaw operation
    • OSHA 10 training 
    • DOT Medical Card
    • Wilderness first responders certification

*Applicants who meet at least 80% of the listed qualifications are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Compensation: This new position’s salary range is from $45,000-$52,000 (commensurate with experience) with a competitive benefits package, including paid holidays, 15 days per year of paid time off, 12 weeks of paid parental leave, as well as employer contribution of $500/month to our health, dental, vision, and life insurance plans.

How to apply: All interested applicants should submit the below information using our application form. To ensure full consideration, please submit your application by February 5, 2024.  Applications will be accepted until a candidate has been selected.

  • Respond to the four candidate questions below based on your knowledge, experience, and opinions (in lieu of a cover letter) – 1500 character limit (with spaces) per question. Suggest crafting responses beforehand and then copying and pasting them into the application form.
    1. What does successful urban conservation look like to you and what is its biggest barrier?
    2. How would you generally approach land stewardship (both ecologically and socially) in an urban landscape that crosses jurisdictions and involves multiple stakeholders?
    3. In your opinion, what is the best approach for engaging diverse communities in land stewardship and urban conservation initiatives? Essentially, how can we achieve long-term vested community buy-in?
    4. What is something unique that you would bring to this role and how would it help you to perform the required duties and excel?
  • Resume upload – Save as a pdf with the file name: FirstName_Lastname_Resume.
  • Contact information for three professional references.
  • Optional: Upload a relevant writing/work sample. Save as a pdf with the file name: FirstName_LastName_Sample. Sample should represent your own work. Examples of relevant writing/work samples include but are not limited to a baseline documentation report, land management or monitoring plan or database shell, property condition assessment, field data collection form, training or educational outreach materials related to land stewardship, etc.

Questions? Please contact Jessica Hartel, Conservation Program Manager, at 816.945.8505 (ext. 103) or [email protected].

Heartland Conservation Alliance is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive company culture. This position description is not inclusive of all duties that may be assigned.

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