Expected Start Date: February 2024 (can be flexible)
Full job posting can be found at https://mecostacd.org/job-postings
The Mecosta Conservation District (MCD) is seeking enthusiastic applicants to serve as an educational/outreach Forester in the area of private lands forestry for the Michigan Forestry Assistance Program (FAP). The purpose of the Forestry Assistance Program is to provide private landowners with technical assistance regarding forestry, wildlife habitat, and related natural resource concerns, so that they may make informed decisions about the use and management of their forestlands. The candidate will be based in Big Rapids, Michigan and will include assignments in Mecosta, Osceola, and the eastern half of Lake Counties. Duties will be performed under direction of the MCD District Administrator with yearly goals guided by an advisory board made up of Conservation District staff, directors, local, state, and federal partners. Office to field work ratio is approximately 50/50 depending on the time of year.
- *Forestry degree from SAF accredited University (see below for more details)
- Enjoys working with the public and part of a team
- Willingness to build customer service skills
- Exceptional organization/self-starting skills
- Experience with technical writing for general public
- Valid state issued driver’s license and reliable personal transportation
- Knowledge base of tree pests, diseases, and invasives
- Willingness to expand services and programs
- Positive outgoing attitude
- SAF Candidate/ Certified Forester Status
- Knowledge/Experience with the Michigan Qualified Forest Program (QFP)
- Proficient in using GIS and ArcMap
- USDA Farm Bill Program knowledge
- Prior outreach and program planning experience
- Forest Management Plan writing experience
- General understanding of marketing and utilization of forest products
- Willingness to speak in front of a group
*It is preferred that this position hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a Society of American Foresters (SAF) accredited program. The SAF does not accredit colleges and universities. Rather, they accredit specific degree programs within the academic institution. Bachelor’s or master’s degrees in forestry from a university program that is not accredited by the SAF will also be accepted, although not preferred. Candidates that maintain the Certified Forester or Candidate Certified Forester credential, regardless of degree, will be accepted.
- Serve as initial point of contact for private forest landowners, natural resource professionals and local governments for the management of forestland, wildlife habitat, and related natural resource activities in Mecosta, Osceola, and the eastern half of Lake Counties.
- Provide, as a public service, both in-office and on-site assistance to private forest landowners so that they can make informed decisions regarding resource management on their property.
- Conduct outreach and education including: demonstrations, workshops, and field days. Topics may include, types of forest management plans, Qualified Forest Program, Michigan Tree Farm, forestry and taxes, timber management options, forest health, tree identification, tree planting trainings, foraging workshops and more. Topics can be dependent on the candidate’s expertise, and interests and/or community interests and needs.
- Create and maintain a list of qualified foresters and actively implement a referral program which connects interested landowners with those professionals to facilitate sustainable planning and management of their property.
- Work closely with and maintain a good working relationship with other resource management professions, both in the public and private sectors.
- Prepare and submit an annual plan of work and accomplishment reports to MDARD, Board of Directors, and other stakeholders.
- Maintain a landowner contact document which tracks name, address, phone number, site location, acres, a general assessment, and timber type.
- Promote stewardship practices and program aspects through displays and booths, newsletter articles, group presentations, demonstrations, public service announcements, news releases, radio programs, social media, and other means.
- Provide advice on the selection and planting of trees, shrubs, and other plans for reforestation and wildlife habitat restoration.
- Provide appropriate management options for threatened and endangered plants/animals to all landowners by using the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) database.
- Provide advice on the identification and control of insects, diseases, invasive plants, and wildlife pests for woodlands. Help monitor the occurrence and spread of insects, diseases, and pests.
- Work closely with the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) to provide the technical assistance necessary for producers to access Farm Bill cost-share funds for forest management activities.
- Review all Qualified Forest Program (QFP) applications to determine program eligibility and complete all QFP Parcel Eligibility Determination Forms sent to the district office by the QFP staff.
- Promote the availability of the MAEAP Forestry, Wetlands, and Habitat (FWH) assessment tool to landowners. Conduct and record the completion of the MAEAP FWH assessments. Encourage the full implementation of the management plan and pursuit of MAEAP verification.
- Support Conservation District programs and activities, such as Clean Sweep and Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection, tree sales and native plant sales, tire recycling events, and others as needed.
- Perform other essential activities as required by the MDARD grant agreement or as assigned by District Administrator of the Conservation District.
WORKING LOCATION AND CONDITIONS
The position will be based in Big Rapids, Mecosta County, Michigan at the USDA Service Center. This is a full-time (40 hours/week) position, typically working between the hours of 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, with a possibility to occasionally telework after 1 year of employment. Working hours can be flexible with approval from the District Administrator. Some evening and weekend work will occasionally be required. Work time is split between office work and field work on forested parcels. The Mecosta Conservation District office is co-located with NRCS and this strong organizational relationship generates a fun, charismatic, and busy workplace. The forester will frequently be in the woods, which may involve traversing uneven terrain or wetlands, often times working in a wide range of weather conditions. The forester may occasionally be in the vicinity of timber harvesting crews using power equipment and harvest machinery.
COMPENSATION & BENEFITS
This is an hourly position paid bi-weekly that includes the following benefits: 12 paid federal holidays, 3 District recognized paid holidays (day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Years Eve), generous vacation and sick leave, longevity leave, retirement plan with employer matching, dental and vision insurance, health care stipend, mileage reimbursement, phone reimbursement, and more. Opportunities for training and skill development will be paid by the District, including conference fees, hotel stays, and meal cost reimbursements. Starting pay rate will be $21-23 per hour, with opportunities for an increase after a year of employment. This may vary if the candidate is currently a FAP Forester in another Michigan Conservation District. This position is funded by an annually renewed grant provided by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to the Mecosta Conservation District. This program has been funded since the mid-80’s and shows excellent potential to continue for years to come.
Provide a cover letter, resume, transcripts (unofficial are acceptable), and list of three references, all combined into one PDF, and email to Brook Baumann at the Mecosta Conservation District at email@example.com. Please list “Forester Application” in the subject line. Any questions pertaining to the position may also be directed to Brook Baumann via email or by calling (989) 309-9229. The Mecosta Conservation District wishes to hire the right person for this position. As such, we are willing to develop a dialogue with candidates that are possibly interested. Rick Lucas, current District Forester of 36 years, is willing and available to answer any questions specific to the job. Rick can be contacted at (231) 408-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you desire to start that dialogue, please connect with us as soon as possible as our current forester’s last day is January 12th. To view additional District information, please visit www.mecsotacd.org or visit our Facebook page.
Applications accepted by 11 a.m. on January 5th or until filled.
When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.