Grassland Monitoring Crew Member (Glyndon, MN)

Expected Dates
June 15, 2020 to August 23, 2020
The Nature Conservancy South Dakota
Position ID

The Grassland Monitoring Crew Member will be an integral part of a long-term Adaptive Management project aimed at improving the condition of the plant communities on TNC’s native prairie preserves. The Intern will also participate in a habitat assessment project for the federally threatened Dakota skipper butterfly. The Intern will work on a crew of two and gain exposure to two major science and conservation initiatives within our chapter’s grassland ecosystems. TNC is working with partners to evaluate broad changes in condition of native grasslands in response to grazing and fire. The project is a collaborative effort in which multiple agencies and organizations have overlapping goals (TNC, Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources, USFWS, etc.). Partners in this work are coordinating sampling to compare data and management practices across ownerships throughout the prairie region. The Intern will revisit sites on which management has been implemented to measure the outcomes. The team will fill a critical role in helping our chapter to close the adaptive management loop in our grassland conservation work. The team will also spend time contributing to monitoring outcomes for the impacts of fire on habitat quality for the federally threatened Dakota skipper butterfly. For both of these projects, the Intern will have the opportunity to travel to many of TNC’s preserves across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota experiencing first-hand the beauty of many high-quality native prairie landscapes.

Duties Include:

-Using handheld GPS units to navigate to vegetation survey locations (5%).

-Conduct vegetation surveys for Adaptive Management and Dakota skipper projects (80%).

-Data management and entry (15%).

The Intern will work on a crew of 2 people in the field on a daily basis. The Crew Leader will assist with and teach plant ID in the field for the vegetation surveys. The work week will be 5 days a week and 8-hour days. The position will often require working in variable weather conditions and at remote locations. Prior experience with plant identification is a plus, and training will be provided. Strong organizational skills and attention to detail are important.  Self-motivation, the desire to learn, and the desire to work outside are the most essential qualifications. This position provides an excellent opportunity to enhance botanical skills and experience first-hand the unique beauty of the biodiversity of the northern prairies.

This position provides:
- $125 weekly Living Allowance
- $650 one-time round trip Travel Allowance
- Housing on-site
- AmeriCorps education award (dependent on availability at the time of candidate selection)

Before an applicant to this position can begin their term of service, they must complete and pass a two part background check which is comprised of: the NSOPW, and an FBI fingerprint check. Specific instructions on how to complete this requirement will be provided upon official offer. 

  • The Agassiz Beach Ridges in western Minnesota are an incredible mix of native prairie interspersed with numerous wetlands creating high biodiversity in the region. Housing will be provided near The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) office in Glyndon, Minnesota on the Bluestem Preserve. The seed source mapping and collection crew will be based on the Preserve and will travel around the landscape to identify numerous sources for seed collection of key floral species. Travel to many other TNC preserves during the summer will be required.
  • The intern will receive training in the first week including: safety, plant identification, and data management. Plant identification skills are welcome coming into the position, and training will be provided.
  • The Agassiz Beach Ridges are a breathtaking landscape in the summer with the multitude of wildlife in the landscape including waterfowl, waterbirds, shorebirds, songbirds, and the charismatic Greater-Prairie Chicken.
Main Area of Focus
Natural Resources Mgmt
Education, Training & Skills Expected
some coursework or experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience
competent with supervision
Plant Identification
competent with supervision
Orienteering compass skills
competent without supervision