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Western Iowa Land Steward

The Nature Conservancy

Westfield ,  Iowa

TITLE: Western Iowa Land Steward

LOCATION: Broken Kettle Grasslands Preserve - Westfield, IA

JOB FAMILY: Conservation 450004, Grade 5

SUPERVISOR: Director of Stewardship

STATUS: Salaried

START DATE: July 2017


The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to make a positive impact around the world in more than 69 countries, all 50 United States, and your backyard. Founded in 1951, the mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we are committed to a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Visit to learn more.

Broken Kettle Grasslands is the largest Conservancy preserve in Iowa and the largest native prairie remnant in the state, and maintains a bison herd to assist with land management. Visit to learn more.


The Western Iowa Land Steward works collaboratively with the Iowa stewardship team and project directors to provide both stewardship skills and partnership building skills. Under the supervision of the Director of Stewardship, the Land Steward will develop and implement prairie restoration and management strategies in the Little Sioux Valley and Loess Hills project areas to achieve conservation outcomes that will have impact beyond preserve boundaries. 

S/he will negotiate and write grazing and row crop leases and contracts for preserve management. S/he will be responsible for conservation easement monitoring and preserve management records. S/he will participate in prescribed fire activities including outreach to local fire partners and assisting with training. S/he will provide formal and informal outreach and education to preserve visitors, neighboring landowners and partner agencies including County Conservation Boards and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. S/he will supervise seasonal stewardship crews in the field, lead volunteer groups, and be responsible for safety training and orientation. This position is based at Broken Kettle Grasslands preserve.


  • Assist in the development and implementation of preserve management plans, using a variety of tools and techniques
  • Collaborate with a team to develop and implement community-based stewardship and outreach programs on The Nature Conservancy preserves and private and public lands that target reducing landscape level threats, which includes organizing/leading field tours and workshops.
  • Maintain positive relations and work cooperatively with local communities, neighbors and local agency personnel.
  • Assist with developing and working within budget. This includes negotiating and contracting with vendors, developing and negotiating agricultural leases, and working with Conservancy legal staff and grant administrators.
  • Participate in prescribed fire activities on preserve and partner areas.
  • Maintain fire certification credentials.
  • Work to build and maintain relationships in the professional fire community where the Conservancy works.
  • Assist Iowa Fire Manager as needed with annual refreshers and physical fitness testing and other fire training.
  • Research and remove exotic species; monitor, map and data management of exotic species using GPS/GIS
  • Work with livestock - cattle and bison
  • Work with Eastern Iowa Land Steward to hire and supervise seasonal staff and preserve volunteers. This includes working with staff to organize the summer volunteer intern crew, work schedule, and safety training. See Anna Beal intern program at
  • Works with seasonal staff and/or volunteers to maintain all facilities and equipment at these preserves, including boundaries, access roads and buildings.  
  • Operate and repair heavy machinery, equipment, vehicles and small engine tools
  • Support philanthropy staff with fundraising activities on the preserves and assist in developing grants as needed to support preserve management and research activities.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Performs tasks with minimal supervision, makes independent decisions based on analysis, experience and context.
  • Supervises technical, administrative and professional staff with responsibility for performance management, training and development.
  • Ensures program compliance with internal policies and external requirements.
  • Will work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.


  • Bachelor’s degree and 3 years’ experience in natural resource management or similar field or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience managing and training staff or volunteers.  
  • Relationship building skills to work closely with a variety of partners, i.e., media, government officials, internal scientists.
  • Experience completing tasks independently with respect to timelines.
  • Excellent communication skills via written, spoken and graphical means in English.
  • Experience using common software applications such as Word, Excel, web browsers, etc.
  • Must have valid driver's license and good driving record.
  • Experience directing prescribed fire operations.
  • Must meet NWCG qualifications for Squad Boss/FFT1, including coursework and experience requirements. See the Conservancy’s Fire Management Manual for a full explanation of qualification requirements:
  • The Nature Conservancy has adopted the Work Capacity Test (WCT) as the method for assessing fitness for fire qualifications. The WCT for an arduous fitness level consists of completing a three-mile hike, within forty-five minutes, while carrying a forty-five-pound pack. The person selected for this position is required to pass the arduous WCT within 60 days after starting employment
  • Ability to become a certified applicator of chemicals within 60 days of employment


  • 3-5 years’ experience in natural resource management, fire operations, ecological land management, or similar field or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Class A CDL driver’s license
  • Experience working with natural systems, especially grassland and woodland management. Ability to recognize plant and animal species as required to plan and execute ecologically appropriate land management techniques using current trends and practices.
  • Knowledge of ecological land management principles and land acquisition or similar asset acquisition.
  • Strong leadership skills. Ability to lead effectively in complex and stressful situations.
  • Working knowledge of software applications e.g. GPS and ArcView GIS software.  
  • Safe record of using and maintaining preserve tools and equipment, including chainsaws, mowers, skid loaders, tractors, trucks, trailers, ATVs and power tools.
  • Ability and willingness to apply science to decision-making and guide activities.
  • Knowledge of current trends and practices in conservation, land management and natural resource preservation.
  • Experience writing and managing grants.


Application Deadline: Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Please submit your resume and cover letter as one document through The Nature Conservancy’s online application system at All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. If you are having technical problems with the site or application process, contact and include the job opening ID. Any questions related to this specific position may be directed to

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