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Forest Wildlife Specialist

Ruffed Grouse Society & American Woodcock Society
Job Field:
Job Type:
Full Time
Location Detail:
Job Description:

Forest Wildlife Specialist – Forester

Southwest Virginia- Public Lands

Location: Within 50-miles of Norton, VA

Employer: Ruffed Grouse Society & American Woodcock Society

Posting Open Date: August 25, 2023

Posting Close Date: September 25, 2023

Starting Date: November 1, 2023

Term of Position: November 1, 2023, to October 31, 2026, with a possibility of position extension.


Background and Primary Duties:

The Ruffed Grouse Society & American Woodcock Society (RGS & AWS) is a national, nonprofit organization with a 62-year record of forest wildlife conservation. In partnership with the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests (GWJEFF) we’re seeking a dedicated forester to increase capacity for planning and implementing active forest management projects on National Forest System lands in Virginia, with a focus on the Clinch Ranger District, Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and Eastern Divide Ranger District. The Forest Wildlife Specialist will function as an assistant hardwood silviculturist on the GWJEFF, providing silvicultural planning support and on-the-ground field forestry assistance. The position will focus on restoring forest age-class and structural diversity to achieve objectives from the GWJEFF’s Forest Plan and to assist in the recovery of Species of Greatest Conservation Need from Virginia’s State Wildlife Action Plan, including ruffed grouse, American woodcock and golden-winged warbler.


The position salary is $52,000 plus benefits, health insurance and retirement options. A vehicle or monthly vehicle stipend will be provided for business travel. A purchasing card for business and travel expenses, computer, printer, cell phone and office supplies will be provided. Training and support as needed to excel in this position.

Application Instructions: Please send a cover letter and resume to Grant Erhard (RGS & AWS) at by September 25, 2023. Use “Virginia Specialist” as the email subject line. If you have any questions, please contact Grant at 412-627-4312.


• A degree in forestry with experience in forest operations, applied silviculture and timber sale administration. A bachelor’s degree with 3+ years of experience or a master’s degree is preferred.

• Knowledge of USDA Forest Service processes, regulations, policies and directives. Previous experience working with the Forest Service, or another federal land management agency is preferred.

• In-depth understanding of connections between active forest management and wildlife habitat needs, contract administration, forest product markets, forest harvesting systems, forest ecology and environmental regulations.

• Technical skills and experience in field forestry, including forest inventory design and implementation, timber marking and cruising, project layout, GPS data collection, map making in ArcGIS Pro, data analysis and silvicultural treatment writing.

• Experience in forest management planning, including growth and yield modeling, database management and the utilization of decision-support software applications (e.g., Forest Metrix Pro, ExamsPC, FVS and REGEN3).

• Excellent spoken and written communication skills, networking skills, well organized and ability to engage with a diversity of collaborators.

• Willingness and ability to travel frequently throughout southwest Virginia and perform arduous field work on steep terrain and a variety of weather conditions fully independently.

• Experience managing complex projects under deadlines.

• Applicant must have a valid U.S. driver’s license.


Position Summary:

The Forest Wildlife Specialist will provide technical assistance in planning and implementing active forest management projects on the GWJEFF’s National Forest System lands. Specifically, the Specialist will:

• Provide project planning support, including GIS assessment, stand reconnaissance, common stand exams, old growth surveys, GPS data collection, GIS mapping of treatment areas, data analysis, model runs through decision-support software applications and preparing draft proposed actions (silvicultural treatments).

• Administer commercial timber sales implemented under stewardship agreements with the GWJEFF, including drafting timber sale prospectuses, preparing contracts and completing timber sale inspections of logging contractors.

• Administer noncommercial forest stand improvements and wildlife habitat enhancements through various agreements with the GWJEFF, including challenge cost-share and stewardship. This includes project layout, flagging or marking treatments, contract administration and contractor inspections.

• Supervise three temporary Forest Wildlife Technicians during the summer field season to assist with field work.

• Complete a geospatial habitat restoration prioritization analysis across the GWJEFF to inform priority watersheds for active forest management treatments.

• Develop future collaborative work with the GWJEFF and other partners. This might include assisting with grant writing and preparing agreement proposals.

• Lead volunteer efforts with RGS & AWS members and the public, including monitoring efforts, information or interpretive programs and habitat workdays.

• Communicate the importance of active forest management to RGS & AWS members and the public during field trips, presentations, blog posts and local media pitches.

• Maintain a database to track performance, achievements and outcomes.

• Write and submit regular summaries, and interim and annual reports to RGS & AWS and partners.

How to Apply:

Application Instructions: Please send a cover letter and resume to Grant Erhard (RGS & AWS) at by September 25, 2023. Use “Virginia Specialist” as the email subject line. If you have any questions, please contact Grant at 412-627-4312.

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