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).
Among the most endangered ecosystems in North America are the once immense grasslands that span from Canada, through the heartland of the United States, and into northern and central Mexico. More than 50 percent of North America’s vast native grasslands, an area that once covered roughly 585 million acres, has been developed or converted to other uses over the past century. The grasslands that remain have been degraded by a range of factors, including invasive & woody plant encroachment, fragmentation from urbanization, energy development, and unsustainable livestock management practices---all of which are incompatible with the habitat needs of many grassland birds and other wildlife. As a result of the combined impact of these factors over many decades, grassland birds are now among the suite of species in sharpest decline and are widely recognized as species of conservation concern.
To protect these iconic American birds, Audubon has established the Conservation Ranching Program to work with private and public partners to create market-based solutions that help ranchers manage their land in ways that support healthy grassland ecosystems. Audubon has developed land management protocols that improve habitat, while creating opportunities for ranchers to reach new and growing markets for their products. Public partners and private sector experts have been enlisted to help spread and encourage these practices, and we are now connecting certified ranches to retail markets.
Audubon has created a “bird-friendly” certification using the Audubon brand that can be used by those who voluntarily implement land management protocols on their ranches. This “seal of approval” with the trusted Audubon brand will expand marketing opportunities for participating ranchers and help to attract buyers in a market that is expanding exponentially. In fact, over the last 15 years, the market for certified sustainable products has grown from $5 million to $2 billion. Market analyst’s project that this segment will grow to $15 to $20 billion in the next decade. If you add the fact that there are more than 46 million birders in the U.S. alone, the opportunities to broaden markets and generate premiums for products that display the Audubon logo and that support bird-friendly habitats is sizeable.
Audubon is advancing this market-based approach by:
The Southern Great Plains Coordinator works with ranchers, partners, and Audubon flyway and state staff to coordinate the expansion of Audubon’s Conservation Ranching program in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and the Chihuahuan grasslands of northern Mexico. S/he is responsible for recruitment of ranches; development of Habitat Management Plans; coordination of workshops to provide production assistance; development of program protocols and their adherence in all participating landscapes; coordination of agreements and relationships with state and federal agency partners, peer organizations and NGOs; coordination of supply-chain and retail/market-side partnerships; and support of monitoring and ranch certification.
This position will be a direct report to Audubon’s Director of the Conservation Ranching Program.