Grain for Cranes Fellowship, Monte Vista, Colorado

Job Title: Grain for Cranes Fellowship

Organization: Colorado Open Lands

Type of opportunity: This position will spend 2 years gaining a variety of experiences ranging from monitoring conservation easements on private lands, working on active barley farms during planting and harvest, monitoring and analyzing data on Sandhill Cranes, surveying barley producers, and working with a variety of partners and organizations. In addition, the Fellow will be helping ensure that Sandhill Cranes have enough barley to eat during their migration all while building positive relationships with barley farmers and wildlife refuge managers and visitors.

Contact:  Mari Johnson, Landowner Liaison, at


  • Collect, map, and analyze Sandhill Crane baseline data in the SLV (25%)
    •  Identify and map roosting sites
    •  Identify and map barley production
    • Identify, create routes, and map high priority barley fields annually
    •  Identify properties in the SLV that cranes are utilizing
    •  Identify growing practices on high priority barley fields
    •  Participate in Fall recruitment Sandhill Crane surveys, sampling, and data entry
    •  Participate in post-harvest technique monitoring
  • Assist MillerCoors agronomist on site visits during barley planting and harvest cycles (20%)
  •  Complete survey of barley producers (15%)
    •  Work with partners to develop survey design
    •  Reach out to barley producers
    •  Meet and develop relationship with MillerCoors barley producers
    • Determine feelings toward Sandhill Cranes
    • Determine management techniques utilized
    • Determine willingness of landowners to participate in baseline research
    •  Analyze data
  •  Complete experiments on combine harvest efficiency and caloric content of different varieties of barley (10%)
  •  Initiate Grain for Cranes payment program (10%)
    •  Identify landowners interest in participating in program
    •  Begin to reach out to landowners and develop contracts
  •  Annual conservation easement monitoring (5%)
    •  Monitor approximately 10 conservation easement properties in and around the San Luis Valley.
    •  Meet with landowners and prepare report documenting observations from the field
    •  Update GIS maps as needed to incorporate GPS field data
    •  Assist with land conservation projects (5%)
    •  Attend landowner visits
    •  Assist with due diligence (title review, appraisal review, environmental report, water rights review, etc.)
    •  Assist with project related grant funding


Desired qualifications:

 Required Qualifications

  •  Bachelor’s degree in natural or environmental sciences, agriculture, wildlife biology, agronomy, zoology, or a related
  •  Experience with ESRI ArcGIS computer mapping software
  • Experience with bird surveys, data collection, and analysis
  • Experience working with agricultural producers and an understanding of the agricultural industry in Colorado or the western United States
  • Ability to work outdoors and navigate large farms and ranches independently, often in remote settings
  • Ability to complete tasks with a high level of accuracy and consistency
  •  Ability to communicate with diverse stakeholders
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  •  Strong organizational, time management and problem-solving skills
  •  A valid driver’s license and good driving record
  •  A positive attitude, sense of humor, and commitment to conservation

Preferred Qualification

  • Completion of a graduate degree in natural or environmental sciences, agriculture, wildlife biology, agronomy, zoology, or a related field.

Start and end dates: August 2018-August 2020


  •  $36,000 per year for a two-year term
  •  Housing is provided by one of the partners.
  •  Exempt position, benefits eligible. Benefits include: health and HSA, vision and dental insurances, vacation and sick
    leave, 401k plan, and conference and professional development stipend

How to apply: Please send résumé and cover letter to Mari Johnson, Landowner Liaison, at

Application deadline: Applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. (MST) on Friday, July 20th, 2018