Crane Conservation Fellow

The International Crane Foundation (ICF) is looking for a detail-oriented team member to join our North America Program team in the role of Fellow. Over the past 50 years, ICF has grown from the dream of two college students to a world-renowned conservation effort to save the world’s cranes and the flyways and habitats they frequent.  Our new Fellow member will assist in maintaining best practices, crane research and crane tracking, along with many other department initiatives. 

What is it like to work at ICF? Prepare to be surrounded by people who are passionate for our mission, dedicated to the organization, and engaged with their fellow staff and associates. You will find dedication in all levels of the organization from staff and volunteers to our dedicated Board Members. You will play a critical role in fulfilling our mission across the U.S. and within our partner countries around the world.  This position has a set duration of March 1, 2024 – February 28, 2025. The compensation for this position is $1,500/month plus housing at our International Guest House located on site in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Position Summary:

The North America Program at the International Crane Foundation is currently involved in research and outreach focused on Greater Sandhill Cranes and re-introduced Whooping Cranes in the upper Midwest. Fellows will assist in studying the foraging ecology, movements, habitat use and social behavior of these breeding and non-breeding cranes throughout central Wisconsin. Whooping Crane research will focus on nesting and colt survival, as well as the movements and behaviors of juveniles and adults, particularly associated with the release of captive-reared chicks into the wild. Sandhill Crane research will focus on the habitat use and behavior of these cranes within an agricultural landscape, chick survival and productivity for color-banded breeding pairs, and this population’s overall recruitment rate in central Wisconsin.

This position also involves engaging individuals and conservation partners willing to assist with the awareness and protection of cranes. The Fellow will form appropriate partnerships that include involving hunters, landowners and other citizens in monitoring and keeping “watch” over the Whooping Cranes in their areas. Fellows will develop an awareness of Sandhill and Whooping Cranes and the ecosystems they depend on and a commitment to safeguarding their future.

In addition, fellows will assist with various landscape restoration activities at our headquarters including prescribed burning and invasive species management. Opportunities may also be available for volunteering with the conservation education and aviculture staff at the International Crane Foundation. Fellowship positions provide an opportunity for professional growth through participation in applied conservation efforts.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Radio tracking of free-ranging Whooping Cranes mainly in the central/southeastern part of Wisconsin; however, travel into other states may also be necessary.
  • Deploying and maintaining trail cameras to monitor potential predators and incubating cranes. Also processing photographic data with guidance.
  • Support virtual and in-person outreach programming to a broad array of audiences.
  • Further develop writing skills and contribute written articles to pertinent media sources.
  • Developing and presenting an independent research project with the guidance of staff
  • Support ecosystem restoration efforts and learn relevant techniques (including prescribed fire and invasive species control) on the foundation’s lands
  • Gain experience in and contribute to crane research efforts. Including assisting with capturing adult and juvenile Whooping Cranes and Sandhill Cranes for banding and sampling of environmental contaminants. Observing color-banded cranes within a wild population to assess productivity, habitat use and breeding pair dynamics. Entering data into online platforms.
  • Maintain partnerships with hunters, landowners and other citizens who monitor or keep watch over the cranes in their areas.
  • Work cooperatively with individuals across departments, making valuable contributions to shared projects and assisting with the outputs of others. Commit to the free sharing of information and technical expertise as needed. Communicate clearly and effectively within a team.

Core Competencies:

  • Excellent verbal communication skills, including speaking clearly and persuasively to individuals and groups; listening effectively; responding well to questions.
  • Ability to establish project plans, regularly monitor and track progress on work projects, and ensure appropriate communications with project partners.
  • Excellent organizational skills, including the ability to prioritize work and to work with others to meet designated deadlines and desired results.
  • Analytical, problem solving, and decision-making skills, including the ability to identify problems, research and analyze issues from different perspectives, organize information, reach sound conclusions, and work cooperatively with others to develop and implement effective solutions.
  • Attentive to detail and thoroughness.
  • Written communication skills, including the ability to write correspondence and reports in a clear, concise, logical, and grammatically correct manner.
  • Experience and comfort using word processing and spreadsheet software (MS Office).
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective, collaborative relationships with donors, vendors, Board members, other stakeholders, and staff at all levels of the organization. Ability to establish project plans, regularly monitor and track progress on work projects, and ensure appropriate communications with project partners.
  • Attentive to detail and thoroughness.
  • Work as a constructive member of a team, including the free sharing of information and technical expertise as needed.
  • Demonstrate respect and sensitivity for others; inspire trust; and work with integrity and ethically.
  • Quickly, effectively, and continually adapt to changes in work environment and duties, processes, and technologies.

Qualifications Required:

  • B.S. or B.A. in biology or a related field.
  • Tolerance is needed for working in difficult conditions and long field days (before sunrise to after sunset), often spent in vehicles.
  • Excellent oral communication skills, including communicating conservation messages to various audiences, from individuals to lecture halls, and across online platforms.
  • Excellent written communication skills, including the ability to effectively proofread and edit reports and correspondence in a clear, concise, logical and effective manner while utilizing proper grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure. 
  • Attention to detail regarding the quality of their own and others’ work, ensuring the accuracy and effectiveness of large and small projects and products.
  • Manage multiple concurrent and competing priorities in a fast-paced workplace, using appropriate manual and electronic resources to ensure timely completion.
  • Very strong interpersonal skills and ability to build relationships with key stakeholders. Demonstrate respect and sensitivity for others; inspire trust; and work with integrity.
  • Demonstrate ability to work independently, including experience independently leading projects, providing metrics of milestones and meeting deadlines.
  • Individuals seeking graduate training are encouraged to apply. 
  • A valid driver’s license (USA or International) and an acceptable driving record are required.

**All applicants must be eligible to work in the United States when they apply.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Background relating to wildlife conservation, education or biology preferred.
  • Previous fieldwork experience including radio telemetry, behavioral observation, and trail camera deployment.
  • Previous outreach experience.
  • Proficiency with basic Microsoft Office programs, including Word, Excel, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and PowerPoint.
  • Experience working with volunteers to achieve desired results; train and encourage skill development; access and provide feedback on individual performance.
  • Exceptional public speaking skills and the ability to teach diverse audiences in a non-formal setting.
  • Demonstrated a strong interest/background in the fields of interpretation, science communication, environmental education, conservation biology, ornithology, education, film/documentary production graphic design or other related fields.

Physical Abilities and Work Environment:

The physical abilities and work environment characteristics described below are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this position.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Ability to operate computer and phones.

  • Ability to communicate with fellow staff and donors. Communication will include both one-to-one communication, small, and large group communication.
  • Must be able to remain in stationary position for 5-7 hours a day.
  • Occasionally required to lift and move items up to 20 pounds.
  • Ability to work outdoors in difficult conditions for long periods of time. 

Work Environment:

  • Ability to work outdoors in difficult conditions for long periods of time. 

To apply send cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references to icfjobs@savingcranes.org.  Please list in subject line “Crane Conservation Fellowship”.

“ICF is committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion. We hire great people.’

ICF is an equal opportunity employer.