Position announcement: Pollinator Biologist/Wildlife Ecologist

Three native pollinators at FMR restoration sites

The Mississippi River is one of the world’s great rivers, a natural resource of global significance. Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) is a leading nonprofit that protects, restores and enhances the Mississippi River and its watershed primarily in the Twin Cities region. The organization has become a national model for conservation and watershed protection. Our goals are to: improve water quality; conserve important lands; engage people in learning about and taking action to protect and enhance the river; inspire widespread commitment to this natural wonder flowing through our community; and protect our river's unique scenic, natural, cultural and recreational qualities. 

The organization has an annual budget of $3.7 million and employs a dedicated, professional staff of 23 who work to improve the health of the river through policy advocacy, education and engagement, land conservation and restoration and other disciplines. Over 30 years, FMR has established deep relationships and credibility with thousands of local residents, landowners, neighborhood organizations, volunteers, government agencies and elected officials. 

With a well-known and respected brand, a seasoned and effective staff, a strong Board of Directors, and a growing base of support, FMR is poised for continued growth and success. The workplace culture at FMR is collaborative and fun, and staff share a common love of the river and dedication to the mission of the organization.

FMR believes the Mississippi River connects us all, and that social and environmental issues are woven together. We strive to be culturally competent, welcoming and inclusive of all people and are committed to using our resources and influence to redress structural inequality in our own organization and where it intersects with the health and vitality of the Mississippi River. 

The Position

The Pollinator Biologist/Wildlife Ecologist will be a member of FMR’s four-person Land Conservation Department and will provide wildlife survey, research, land management and restoration services to landowner partners in the organization’s conservation focus areas. The position will report to the Conservation Director and work closely with the two Ecologists to conduct pollinator, bird and other wildlife surveys, evaluate properties, complete land use histories, develop natural resource management plans, monitor wildlife use of restorations, manage restoration projects and design and participate in wildlife research projects.

The position is right for a hard-working and independent person with a commitment to and a passion for environmental protection, wildlife and ecosystem restoration. The ideal candidate will have an advanced degree in wildlife biology, pollinator biology, conservation biology, natural resources or another related field and will have experience in conducting plant surveys, be familiar with native Minnesota fauna, and have extensive experience in developing natural resource management plans and implementing ecological restoration projects with an emphasis on wildlife habitat. In addition to the above, knowledge and experience in research methodologies and statistical analysis is highly desired.


  • Conduct independent wildlife surveys at specified project locations in the metropolitan area using standard scientific methods, procedures and classification systems. Includes documentation of birds, pollinators and other animals
  • Conduct property evaluations, plant surveys and assessment of erosion and other ecological concerns
  • Lead long-term pollinator and wildlife monitoring projects and establish new monitoring sites and techniques
  • Lead a two-year prairie pollinator research project including plot set-up, pollinator and vegetation surveys, data analysis and report writing
  • Prepare detailed natural resource management plans using the existing template, including historical background, existing conditions, restoration/management goals and methods, project timeline and cost estimates
  • Conduct and lead restoration and land management activities
  • Oversee contractors and restoration projects
  • Keep detailed records of project data
  • Track grant and project budgets
  • Assist in preparing grant proposals and reports 
  • Plan and lead restoration events for volunteer groups
  • Prepare articles and other organizational communication pieces 
  • Develop and present educational presentations

Additional Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assist/participate in organizational events, including strategic planning, staff meetings, budgeting, fundraisers.
  • Foster good working relationships with other environmental organizations, agencies and community leaders to help accomplish program goals

Core Competencies

  • Sound judgment with ability to balance independent action with guidance and consultation with colleagues 
  • Ability to work collaboratively and communicate effectively with the Ecologists and the Conservation Director
  • Ability to effectively manage own time, prioritize tasks and meet deadlines
  • Meet project deadlines and complete organizational needs in a timely manner
  • Provide a positive image of FMR to people encountered while in the field    
  • Creative and efficient use of time and resources in planning and managing conservation activities
  • Build and maintain positive working relationships with FMR staff, board, partners and other outside parties

Minimum Qualifications

  • Advanced degree in wildlife biology, pollinator biology, conservation biology, restoration ecology, environmental science or related field. Applicants with a BS and substantial professional field experience will be considered.  
  • Ability to identify Minnesota pollinators, especially bumblebees.  
  • Experience conducting various pollinator surveys, small mammal surveys and bird surveys
  • High proficiency with data and statistical analysis techniques
  • Experience using statistical software such as R, JMP, SPSS, etc.
  • Experience designing and undertaking research projects, especially related to pollinators
  • Ability to identify a majority of native plants in a variety of different habitats in the Upper Midwest  
  • Experience with or solid understanding of standard vegetation surveys methods 
  • Experience writing natural resource management plans and restoration prescriptions
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Proficiency in ArcGIS 10 and the Microsoft Office Suite of programs
  • Ability to effectively communicate with people of all ages in the field, or in public forums
  • Ability to direct/instruct volunteers in ecological stewardship activities 
  • Reliable transportation
  • Ability to work outdoors in difficult terrain under adverse field and weather conditions
  • Strong organizational skills, including the ability to plan work, meet deadlines and balance multiple projects and objectives
  • Commitment to and passion for the mission of Friends of the Mississippi River

Additional Desired Qualifications

  • Expertise with additional wildlife groups such as birds, herpetofauna or mammals
  • Experience conducting or supervising restoration and management activities such as prescribed burning and herbicide application 
  • Experience with aerial photograph interpretation 
  • Knowledge of water quality & erosion BMPs, streambank stabilization, wetland ecology, soil science, tree diseases
  • Grant writing and management
  • Budget management
  • Experience hiring/overseeing contractors

Salary & Benefits

This is a full-time position. The annual salary range is $50,000 – 62,000 commensurate with experience. Benefits include health, dental and short-term disability insurance, a retirement plan with employer match, and generous paid vacation, sick, personal and holiday leave.

To apply, please consolidate your application into one PDF document that includes: a cover letter summarizing your interest in and qualifications for the position; a 1-2 page résumé; and the names, titles and phone numbers of three professional references (or two professional and one personal reference). Please include your last name in the file name and email it as an attachment with “Job Title” as the subject line to Monica Bierma (mbierma@fmr.org).

The position will remain open until filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply by February 17, 2023.

Learn more about FMR’s commitment to advancing equity, our work and our Land Conservation Department.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, February 17, 2023

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