Preserve Manager & Educator
Posted Jan 29
Background to the Westchester Land Trust
Founded in 1988 by dedicated residents, Westchester Land Trust (WLT) works together with public and private partners to preserve land in perpetuity, and to protect and enhance the natural resources in our communities. WLT has preserved approximately 8,000 acres through accepting the donations of conservation easements and land. WLT’s conservation efforts impact the long-term health of the cities, towns and villages of Westchester and Eastern Putnam Counties through protection of watersheds, wildlife, air and water quality, and local food supply. WLT’s nature preserves consist primarily of forests, wooded wetlands and meadows.
Preserve Manager & Educator (PME) is responsible for carrying out land stewardship projects on land protected by the Westchester Land Trust as well as performing a lead and support educator role in a variety of land stewardship-based education programs. Preserve management projects will generally be geared toward 1) protecting/enhancing their natural resources, 2) enhancing visitor experience and accessibility at WLT’s public nature preserves, 3) routine gardening and landscaping and 4) communicating the importance of natural resources. Education programs will typically communicate the topics of 1) land stewardship, 2) health and wellness in relation to nature, 3) natural history, and 4) science. This is a cross functional position that supports Westchester Land Trust’s Stewardship and Programs departments; the PME will work closely with WLT’s Outreach Coordinator to plan and coordinate education programs to diverse constituencies from school groups and camps to municipal leaders and partner organizations.
In addition to carrying out prescribed land stewardship activities the PME collaborates with the Director of Stewardship to design and implement land stewardship projects. The PME supports field-based stewardship projects by creating GIS-based maps, memos, reports and photo documenting all stages of projects as well as sending email updates to volunteers, event participants and organizational partners.
Approximately 75% of this position is field based and approximately 25% will be devoted to office-based activities. Both land stewardship work (70% of position) and education programs (30% of position) take place year-round and includes evening and weekend work.
• Provide leadership in implementing land stewardship projects
• Record keeping and database management for all preserve-related information
• Effectively work with a diverse group of partners to execute the Westchester Land Trust’s stewardship and educational goals and objectives
• Collaborate with other organizations and agencies to increase public awareness of organization goals and mission
• Assist WLT staff in the development of new land stewardship projects and educational programs
• Serve as WLT’s primary field-based stewardship staff member to carry out a variety of land stewardship projects.
• Assist the Director of Stewardship in developing and planning preserve management and land stewardship projects, including drafting Preserve Management Plans
• Manage a small native plant propagation lab and plant nursery
• Teach environmental topics and land stewardship concepts in field-based, workshop and lecture-style programs. Possible topics include: flora and fauna identification, environmental processes, organic gardening and soil health, land protection and community wellness
• On WLT preserves: plan, coordinate, and carry out preserve management activities such as mowing, weed whacking, pruning, tree felling, sign posting, trail building / maintenance, post setting, fence building, gardening and weeding
• On WLT preserves: independently and collaboratively carry out land stewardship activities such as ecological restoration, plantings, removing invasive plants, nurturing native plants, maintaining deer exclosures, timber stand improvements and tree girdling
• Independently and collaboratively carry out all reporting associated with responsibilities
• Alongside representatives from partner organizations (schools, nature centers, hospitals) create curriculum to highlight land conservation/ stewardship themes and to engage diverse audiences in WLT’s mission
• Co-coordinate the planning, scheduling, executing, and evaluating of education programs
• All aspects of small building, construction and carpentry projects such as resource procurement, building, maintaining and repairing kiosks, fences, and wooden signs, and painting, weather-proofing
• Co-coordinate and lead events such as volunteer land stewardship events, invasive plant removal events, public field walks, lectures and garden-based events.
• Assist Director of Stewardship in managing issues related to surveys, neighbors, and encroachments onto WLT property
• Develop and nurture relationships with contractors and partners
• Create, edit and share GIS-based maps
• Maintain WLT’s inventory of tools
• Keep WLT’s stewardship yard and workshop well organized and tidy
Education and Experience Requirements:
Position requires bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study. Applicants are expected to have at least 2 years of experience in land stewardship and environmental/outdoor education. Strongest applicants will have leadership experience in 1) executing land stewardship projects and/or education programs, 2) vegetation management and ecological restoration and 3) horticulture. A master’s degree in a relevant field is preferred.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
• Demonstrated leadership ability with experience in engaging diverse audiences
• Experience with native plants in the context of propagation, nursery operations and wild planting
• Excellent interpersonal skills and facility to educate and communicate with people of all ages and backgrounds
• Strong familiarity with the ecology and natural resources of New York State and/or surrounding area
• Experience working with little or no direction and oversight
• Experience with landscaping/ land stewardship tools and equipment such as lawn mower, brush mower, chain saw, drills, wrenches, weed whacker, hand saws, pole saws
• Experience identifying and removing invasive plants and restoring a site with native plants
• Proficiency with field equipment such as GPS units, digital cameras, compass and maps
• Proficiency with internet and computer software such as Microsoft Office, Adobe
• Experience with Arc GIS and/or other mapping software
Physical Requirements: Ability to walk several miles per day over rough terrain, use power equipment such as chain saw, use herbicide, and work outside in all weather conditions.
Additional Requirements: A valid driver’s license is required.
Westchester Land Trust is an equal opportunity employer and acts in accordance with applicable law in all of our hiring and employment practices.