Preserve Steward & Naturalist
Full Job Description
225 State Route 37, New Fairfield, CT www.greathollow.org
Preserve Steward & Naturalist
Great Hollow is seeking a dynamic and passionate Preserve Steward & Naturalist to maintain its grounds, facilities, and trails, manage its preserve for native species, and develop and lead engaging outreach programs. Approximately two thirds of the position will entail property and facilities maintenance while the remainder will entail education/outreach, field research, administrative tasks, animal care, and other miscellaneous responsibilities.
About Great Hollow
Great Hollow is a non-profit environmental education and research center that was founded in 2016 in New Fairfield, Connecticut, a little more than an hour north of New York City. Great Hollow is dedicated to biodiversity conservation, applied ecological research, experiential environmental education, and the promotion of passive outdoor recreation. Our scientists conduct integrative, conservation-driven studies of wildlife and plants within and beyond the preserve. Active areas of research include the effects of invasive plants on wildlife and habitat quality, the effects of light pollution on bats, the spatial ecology of wood turtles, and the effects of mercury pollution on migratory songbirds. Great Hollow also runs numerous education and outreach programs for both children and adults throughout the year, including school programs and a nature-based summer day camp. The preserve consists of 825 acres of forest, wetlands, and freshwater streams, a 4-mile trail network, and historic houses and barns that provide seasonal staff housing, offices, a lab, and program rooms. The trails and grounds are open to the public year-round. Visit GreatHollow.org to learn more.
The Preserve Steward & Naturalist position is very multifaceted and has a wide range of responsibilities that require intimate knowledge of local natural history along with facility maintenance and groundskeeping abilities. The person in this position plays a critical role in the day-to-day operation of Great Hollow and works closely with Great Hollow’s executive director and education coordinator.
As Great Hollow’s land steward and head of facilities maintenance, s/he will be directly responsible for (1) the maintenance of Great Hollow’s buildings, which include historic houses and barns; (2) groundskeeping/landscaping of Great Hollow’s campus; (3) maintenance of a 4- mile trail network; (4) helping to care for Great Hollow’s collection of non-releasable birds of prey; and (5) management of habitat in support of native plants and wildlife.
The selected applicant will also contribute to Great Hollow’s education, outreach, and research initiatives by (1) cultivating and maintaining relationships with local conservation groups, land trusts, regulatory agencies, schools, community organizations and the general public; (2) developing and leading outreach programs; (3) helping to organize large community events; (4) providing support to children’s environmental education programs and camps; and (5) assisting with field research.
Weekend and evening work is sometimes required to lead or support programs and events, accommodate renters of Great Hollow’s property for private functions, respond to urgent matters (e.g., storms, power outages), care for education animals, and other reasons. Weekend and evening work will be compensated for by taking time off during normal working hours the following week(s).
Responsibilities of the position include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Maintain Great Hollow’s hiking trails, including removal of fallen trees and other debris, mowing and weed whacking, replacement of trail markers and other signage, temporary closure of trail sections due to flooding or unsafe conditions, etc.
- Manicure and maintain Great Hollow’s campus, including landscaping, lawnmowing, weed whacking, weeding of flower beds and pollinator garden, snow plowing and shoveling, leaf removal, litter removal, etc.
- Maintain facilities, including basic repairs, heating and cooling system maintenance, gutter cleanouts, winterization of seasonal housing, and light janitorial work (e.g., trash/recycling management; sweeping/vacuuming; upkeep of restrooms, main work areas, and program rooms).
- Maintain and operate gas-powered equipment including but not limited to zero-turn and push-lawnmowers, Kubota UTV, portable generator, chainsaw, weedwhacker, leaf- blower, etc.
- Set up and break down tables and chairs, and reset bathrooms for private rentals of Great Hollow for weddings, birthday parties, and similar functions.
- Help care for Great Hollow’s non-releasable birds of prey, including management of food supplies, feeding, and cleaning and maintenance of enclosures.
- Develop and lead engaging outreach programs and interpretive hikes focused on Northeastern natural history.
- Steward cooperative relationships with diverse groups, including schools, land trusts, community organizations (e.g., Scouts), local businesses, adjacent landowners, conservation NGOs, government agencies, colleges and universities, and the general public to promote and further Great Hollow’s education, outreach, land management, and research initiatives.
- Assist Great Hollow scientists with field research and biodiversity inventorying and monitoring.
- Identify and pursue opportunities for habitat enhancement around the preserve, including but not limited to invasive plant management.
- Provide written and photographic content for Great Hollow’s website, social media outlets, annual reports, and other outreach and marketing materials.
- Bachelor’s degree in natural resources management, conservation biology, environmental education, or a similar field.
- Manual labor experience involving landscaping, habitat restoration, groundskeeping, and/or building maintenance and light repair work.
- Ability to maintain and safely operate power equipment such as a zero-turn lawnmower, UTV, gas-powered chainsaw, gas-powered leaf blower, gas-powered weedwhacker, and pressure washer.
- Experience with land stewardship, nature interpretation, environmental education/outreach, field biology, nature center work, or similar.
- Intimate knowledge of northeastern U.S. natural history, including ecosystems and biological communities.
- Familiarity with basic field biology methods (e.g., vegetation surveys, bird surveys, radiotelemetry) and current principles of wildlife and habitat management.
- Outgoing and engaging personality, strong interpersonal skills, and ability to design and deliver inspirational interpretive programming to all ages.
- Experience working with partners such as local NGOs, land trusts, schools, community organizations, and local and state government agencies.
- Strong organizational and time management skills, punctuality, and ability to meet deadlines.
- Strong self-direction and successful experience meeting goals with a high degree of autonomy.
- Ability to communicate well with diverse audiences, verbally and in writing. English fluency required.
- Proficiency with common software such as Microsoft Word and Excel, web browsers, social media applications, etc.
- Ability to work under variable and inclement weather conditions, on challenging terrain, under physically demanding circumstances, climb ladders, and lift heavy objects.
- Valid driver’s license.
- Current CPR-First Aid certification or willingness to obtain.
- U.S. citizenship or current authorization to work in the U.S.
- Ability to start no later than July 15, 2023.
The Preserve Steward & Naturalist will receive a competitive compensation package that includes a starting salary of $45,000 – $55,000 (DOE), an annual performance-based bonus, 10 paid vacation days and 5 paid personal/sick days per year, fully employer-covered health insurance, and a 401k retirement plan with an employer match of up to $2,500 per year. Short-term, on- site housing will be temporarily available for anyone moving long-distance until they are able to make their own living arrangements.
How to Apply
As a single PDF, please email (1) a cover letter that summarizes your most relevant experience with facilities and property maintenance, land stewardship, and nature interpretation/outreach, and what attracted you to the position (2) a resume/CV, and (3) contact information for at least two relevant references to Chad Seewagen at email@example.com. Please put “NATURALIST/STEWARD_[last name]” in the subject line. We are looking to fill this position immediately, so applications will be reviewed as they are received and accepted until the position is filled.
Job Type: Full-time
Pay: $45,000.00 - $55,000.00 per year
- Flexible schedule
- Health insurance
- Paid time off
- 8 hour shift
Supplemental pay types:
- Bonus pay
Ability to commute/relocate:
- New Fairfield, CT 06812: Reliably commute or planning to relocate before starting work (Required)
- Day Shift (Preferred)
Work Location: One location
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