Forest Ecologist

Job Locations
Regular, Full-Time
Job Category


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. The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion, and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.


Position Summary

The Forest Ecologist will work collaboratively with partners to implement the Upper Mississippi River Systemic Forest Stewardship Plan by restoring floodplain forest for the benefit of forest dependent birds and other wildlife along the Upper Mississippi River and its tributaries.


They will be responsible for 1) writing floodplain forest management prescriptions including site goals and objectives, recommendations for invasive species control and forest regeneration, and cost estimates; 2) implementing restoration projects following management prescriptions (timber stand improvement, prescribed burning, site preparation, herbicide application, tree planting, timber sales and other forestry techniques); and 3) monitoring project effectiveness for forest regeneration and bird use.  Management plans will be developed in close cooperation with the appropriate land managers including U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wisconsin DNR, Minnesota DNR, Iowa DNR, Missouri Department of Conservation, and key private landowners.   


The Forest Ecologist will work primarily along the Mississippi River and major tributaries in southeastern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin, and northeastern Iowa. This position will be based out of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge LaCrosse District office located in Onalaska, Wisconsin.  The Forest Ecologist will assist the Director of Conservation in assessing opportunities for bottomland forest restoration projects on the Upper Mississippi River system in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri.

Essential Functions

  • In collaboration with partners, develop management prescriptions for floodplain forest restoration within management units of the Upper Mississippi River’s bottomland forests, including invasive species control, site preparation, tree planting, timber harvest and other forestry methods.
  • Develop cost estimates for implementing management prescriptions.
  • Coordinate project implementation including Audubon administrative procedures for developing bid proposal and soliciting bids, selecting and overseeing contractors, managing contracts, and ensuring work is being completed as described in the management prescription. 
  • Coordinate and conduct monitoring to document project effectiveness in controlling invasive species, tree survival, forest regeneration and bird use.

Qualifications and Experience

  • Bachelor's degree in Forestry, Forest Ecology, or related field.
  • 2+ years of experience in forestry, forest ecology, or closely related environmental or conservation work. 
  • Experience in bird identification and monitoring desired. 
  • Must have professional knowledge of forestry science principles and practices including silviculture methods and forest ecology.
  • General use pesticide applicators license is desired.
  • Experience with project management including writing management prescriptions, administering contracts, coordinating with key partners, implementing projects, and completing reports. Experience or knowledge writing Environmental Impact Statements/Assessments a plus.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with limited supervision.
  • Demonstrated experience working with foresters and biologists from public agencies (federal and state) and private landowners and promoting good public relations.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills and the ability to synthesize and communicate technical and complex information to both technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Demonstrated ability in interpreting observations, drawing sound conclusions, and recommending remedial actions.
  • Strong leadership and collaborative ethics, as demonstrated in previous work.
  • Strong interpersonal and social skills with a positive attitude and good sense of humor.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office, working knowledge of GPS and GIS technology preferred.
  • Willing to travel within the local region with occasional out-of-state travel and be comfortable working evenings and weekends as job demands.
  • Valid state driver’s license is required.
  • Willingness to travel in cars, boats, and other vehicles.
  • Boat handling certification is desired.
  • Certification in CPR and first aid desired.
  • Ability to work outdoors and carry field equipment in all weather conditions and on varying terrain, with or without accommodation.


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