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Land Manager

Hiring Organization: Calvin College
Employment type: Full-Time
Application Deadline: August 31, 2017
Job Location: Grand Rapids, MI

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Calvin College is seeking a Land Manager to steward the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve.


The Land Manager is responsible for day-to-day management of the lands and facilities of the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve and the Flat Iron Lake Nature Preserve, including execution of initiatives in the approved management plans for each preserve; supervising the use and maintenance of buildings, built infrastructure and equipment for each preserve; development of programs for the monitoring and control of invasive plant species and problem animal species; enforcement of preserve policies, and supervision of student stewardship personnel and volunteers.

 Position Term: 2017-2020 (This position is fully funded for 3 years with possible extension)


 ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES will include the following. Other duties may be assigned.

  1. Develop, expand, modify, and execute seasonal land management programs for each preserve land management unit by identifying, researching, and prioritizing management issues and writing up procedures for addressing them.
  2. Hire, train, supervise, and evaluate a working team of land management staff and volunteers. This includes making sure all required paperwork, safety trainings and evaluations are completed as well as scheduling staff and volunteer assignments, and supervising payroll for hourly land management personnel.
  3. Regularly monitor conditions on the preserves by walking the trails and keeping a log of observations to maintain a consistent record of activity on each.
  4. Oversee day-to-day land management logistics, including supervising the use of the preserves and working with other departments at Calvin to maintain the buildings, equipment, motorized equipment, and surrounding grounds. Will also purchase, inventory and maintain equipment and supplies for land management and research activities at each preserve. Will ensure facilities and materials are well maintained and safe.
  5. Train all employees and volunteers in safe practices and in procedures for emergencies. Will maintains secure and safe cabinetry for chemicals (e.g. herbicides and flammable materials), maintain current MSDS’s in accordance with federal regulations and insure safe disposal of unused or outdated chemicals.
  6. Supervise, in collaboration with the program manager, the regular production of native plant stock for preserve restoration projects and the annual native plants sale, including seed collection, storage, and greenhouse propagation of new stock.
  7. Develop and maintain cooperative working relationships and partnerships with departments on campus, student organizations, and a variety of like-minded community organizations and partners.
  8. Work with the director and college development department to support fundraising efforts for the land management activities of the preserve. Will provide information for and help write grants and proposals. Will manage budgets related to land management activities.
  9. Propose an annual budget for land management activities.
  10. Regularly report on management activities to the director and the preserve Governing Board and recommend management plan updates when needed.



Regular direction includes hiring and managing of land management student staff and volunteers.  Duties for each group include training, scheduling, payroll supervision, and evaluation.

Required Skills


  1. A demonstrated knowledge of the natural history of the Great Lakes Region including basic biological, ecological, and geological principles is necessary.
  2. If not already certified, the ability to obtain and maintain a Pesticide Applicator Certificate from the State of Michigan within 3-6 months of date of employment.
  3. Ability to safely use and maintain (and train others to safely use and maintain) basic landscaping and forestry equipment.
  4. Experience in conducting prescribed burns is desirable.
  5. GIS capability is highly desirable.
  6. Experience supervising, mentoring and evaluating multiple personnel and volunteers.
  7. Strong communication skills, both verbal and written, and interpersonal skills to communicate with and work with a variety of people and ages, from various points of contact are needed.
  8. Basic word processing and data spreadsheet usage are needed. Aptitude for learning other software.
  9. CPR/AED and First Aid certifications are strongly recommended.
Required Experience


  1. A Bachelor's degree from a four-year college or university
  2. 3-5 years of experience in the management of ecological reserves or nature preserves
  3. Experience identifying and developing ecological objectives for the restoration and management of natural areas
  4. Experience identifying ecological threats to local native ecosystems and recommending appropriate best management practices to mitigate those threats.


PHYSICAL DEMANDS/WORK ENVIRONMENT.  The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. The work in this position requires exposure to potentially hazardous or unpleasant conditions and/or physical effort of some duration. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  1. Physical ability to walk over irregular terrain and in snow and to stand for prolonged periods is critical.
  2. Physical ability to lift and carry heavy objects is critical.
  3. Visual ability to proofread and check documents for accuracy and using a keyboard for entering and retrieving data are critical to this position.
  4. Driving an automobile, van, or truck on public roads or highways is essential to this position.


DIVERSITY COMMITMENT: Demonstrated awareness and commitment to effectively establishing relationships and positive communication across multiple dimensions of diversity including, but not limited to, race, gender, physical limitations, class, or religious perspectives.



  1. Commitment to the educational mission of Calvin College as a Christian liberal arts college affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church.
  2. A commitment to the Christian faith and to the integration of faith, learning, and student development.
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