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16 Jan 2023

Full-Time Land Management Planner

Sonoma Ecology Center – Posted by celina@sonomaecologycenter.org Glen Ellen, California, United States

Sonoma Ecology Center logo

Job Description

Sonoma Ecology Center has worked with our community for over 30 years to identify and lead actions that achieve and sustain the ecological health of our land, air, water, and biodiversity — the foundation of our region’s high quality of life.

Each year, we provide in-depth environmental science instruction to over 1,200 students, manage over 5,000 acres of public and private land, including Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, raise thousands of native plants and restore critical native habitat, and provide research and technical support on timely issues affecting the region. With an annual budget of over $2.5 million, our professional staff manage numerous large grants and contracts, often in partnership with other nonprofits and agencies that, by working together, significantly leverage our work and impact.

Job Summary

This position is responsible for developing and maintaining partnerships, as well as projects that improve the way private and public landowners and land managers steward their lands, thereby moving toward SEC’s mission of increasing biodiversity and ecosystem function as the climate warms and various social and land use pressures evolve. The position will also be engaged in researching and synthesizing complex information, and writing and presenting educational materials to landowners and land managers. Though Sonoma Valley is SEC’s home watershed, this position will operate across the North Bay and our partnerships on this topic reach across the state. The position reports to the Restoration Program Manager.

Since the 2017 North Bay fires, attention and funding has flowed to land management focused on fire readiness and fire recovery. This narrow focus on “fuels reduction” can be harmful to ecological and watershed systems. This position strives to inform and improve work in fire readiness and recovery with a broader perspective. 

SEC is a regional leader in teaching, influencing, and implementing an approach to land stewardship that combines fire awareness, ecological function, biodiversity, watershed and soil health, beauty, worker well-being, and project durability, in the 100’ defensible space and in the wildlands beyond. For recent outward-facing reflections of this approach, see the Resilient Landscapes Coalition website (SEC is a founding member), this video of Resilient Landscapes workshop for defensible space, and this video of Beyond the Defensible Space workshop

The science, practice, funding, and mandates of these topics are rapidly evolving. Being a leader in this space requires active participation at many meetings, continuing education, creating adaptive strategies to guide next steps, and constant development of new partnerships to take those steps. The successful candidate will work with a volunteer expert who has been leading this charge and is now reducing her commitments. They will also work with and attend meetings of, among others, Fire Safe Sonoma, Forest Working Group, Ag + Open Space, Permit Sonoma, Fire Forward, Fire Safe Councils, homeowner associations and similar groups, Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative, Marin Wildfire Protection Authority, UCCE Sonoma County, Occidental Arts & Ecology Center, Pepperwood Preserve, Audubon Canyon Ranch, and Santa Rosa Junior College.

Main Responsibilities  

  • Develop, expand, and maintain productive, collegial partner relationships with government agencies, nonprofits, and landowner groups that advance the position’s purpose (see Position Summary above).
  • Act as SEC’s liaison, ambassador, and representative with many nonprofits, governments, and funders.
  • Create and refine fundable project concepts with colleagues and partners for within and beyond the 100’ defensible space zone that advance the position’s purpose. Project activities may include habitat restoration, fire resiliency and post-fire restoration, land stewardship education, and convening and coalition building.
  • Research and write successful funding proposals to public (primarily) and private sources (less) to support current and future activities, supported by other SEC staff. This position is funded for 9-12 months, with the expectation that the position will, in combination with other SEC fundraising, fund itself thereafter.
  • Create and present educational events similar to Resilient Landscapes workshops, within and beyond the defensible space zone, virtually and in person, to audiences ranging from agency staff to homeowner associations.
  • Develop and manage higher level, ongoing relationships with landowner clients through SEC’s fee-for-service or grant-funded implementation projects. More than 90% of Sonoma County lands are privately owned, so capacity to understand and respond to landowner interests is key.
  • Co-lead a team to research, write, and produce a document and related workshops through a recently funded 16-month grant. Working title: A Handbook of Principles and Practices for Vegetation Management in Sonoma County.

Essential Competencies

  • Practical knowledge of regional ecology, plant and animal species, land use ecology, fire ecology, ecological restoration, watershed function, and related permitting. Ability to communicate about these topics in technical and non-technical languages.
  • Demonstrated ability to secure funding and complete successful projects by creating and maintaining coalitions and partnerships 
  • Ability to work effectively in a highly collaborative and team-oriented structure
  • Excellent communication and people skills including negotiation
  • Competence with word processing, presentation, scheduling, and spreadsheet applications (GoogleDrive apps, Google Calendar, Zoom, Word)
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Decision-making ability
  • Demonstrated understanding of and commitment to the values and mission of SEC

Additional Competencies (Preferred)

  • Spanish competency 

Requirements

Any combination of education and work experience which would provide an opportunity to acquire the knowledge and abilities listed herein. Normally, this would include:

  • Masters degree and/or equivalent experience in ecological restoration, California ecosystems, fire ecology, and/or related fields
  • Experience successfully building and maintaining funded partnerships
  • Experience working with funders, governments, and nonprofits active in fire preparedness, California wildland ecology, and climate resilience

Physical Demands and Work Environment

Most of the job can be done from home, with prolonged periods of sitting/standing. You must be able to see, hear, and speak in order to use a computer, establish and participate in video conferences, and use office equipment. Physical participation at occasional in-person meetings or site visits is part of the job. Site visits may involve walking over rough terrain in high temperatures for short periods. Lifting up to 40 pounds may occasionally be required.

Benefits

On the first of the month after hire, a new employee is eligible to enroll in one of two Kaiser health insurance plans. SEC pays 80% of the employee’s premium (not that of dependents). SEC provides paid holidays, vacation accrual, sick accrual, an optional self-funded TIAA 403(B) account, and an optional free cell phone plan. Candidates under consideration should contact Human Resources for details. 

Sonoma Ecology Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will be given equal consideration; equal access to programs, services, and employment opportunities is available to all persons. Persons with diverse backgrounds and of all ethnicities and genders are encouraged to apply. We recognize there is value in diversity. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodations to the application and/or interview process should notify Human Resources.  

How to Apply

Job Categories: Environmental. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 60,000 - 80,000.

Job expires in 38 days.

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