Freshwater Fellow

The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota

Location: Minneapolis


Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable.  One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we strive for a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 72 countries, including all 50 United States, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.orq or follow @nature_press on Twitter.


The Freshwater Fellow will work in the field of conservation and water resource management. This position will add capacity to the Freshwater Team of the Minnesota-North Dakota-South Dakota Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and help to accomplish our freshwater conservation goals. The Fellow will also gain meaningful experience and exposure to a variety of tasks related to freshwater science and conservation. This 12-month position will start in April or May 2020. It will require 35 hours per week. The main office location is in the downtown East neighborhood of Minneapolis at 1101 West River Parkway, Suite 200.  Work will also be done at a variety of locations around the region. This will mainly be daytrips with occasional overnight trips needed, therefore the willingness and ability to travel is required. A valid driver’s license is required. Work schedule will typically be Monday to Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm with very occasional weekend and evening events.


The Freshwater Fellow will assist with implementing restoration and conservation practices and provide insight into watershed assessment, planning and analysis activities. This position will also conduct site monitoring to assist with our science program, analyze data, produce reports and maps, and create education materials. This position will work with multiple Freshwater Team staff and the work will focus within the Upper Mississippi River basin.


GIS and desktop studies / analysis

  • Map and assess natural resources and conservation information to support TNC decision making in conservation and restoration projects related to water quality and quantity.
  • Carry out pre-defined analysis for prioritization of restoration and conservation activities.
  • Develop methodology for science and conservation-based studies.

Field-based data collection and analysis

  • Assist in collection of soil and water samples to support a wetland study on nutrient removal and carbon storage.
  • Assist in field collection of hydrologic data from monitoring wells and water quality sampling at various TNC sites
  • Assist in stream geomorphology surveys and functional assessment of streams and stream crossings.
  • Conduct plant community surveys estimating species coverage and abundance.
  • Assist in soil studies related to soil health, organic matter, carbon and other soil properties in conservation and/or agricultural BMP studies.
  • Assist with data entry from scientific data collected during the field season.
  • Assess and synthesize data into graphs, tables and/or schematics for use in chapter reports, programs, and/or meetings.

Education and outreach

  • Develop handouts, fact sheets, reports and other outreach materials focused on freshwater for a variety of audiences.
  • Attend occasional outreach events to promote the importance of clean water and talk about the work being done by TNC’s Freshwater Team.
  • Collect photos to support Chapter newsletters, presentations, and reports.
  • Participate in donor or volunteer events and activities such as canoe trips and tree plantings.


We are seeking early-career professionals, who are looking to gain hands-on experience in freshwater science, conservation and restoration work. Individuals who are highly organized and proactive with a passion for conservation in aquatic ecosystems are encouraged to apply. All people applying for this position must have the following minimum qualifications.                  

  • Degree in natural resources management, environmental science, environmental engineering, conservation biology, hydrology, botany, soil science or related field.
  • Experience in natural resources or conservation science via volunteer and/or work experience
  • High proficiency with ArcGIS software.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office suite.
  • Experience working with scientific data with strong accountability and commitment to accuracy.
  • Experience in field data collection of hydrologic or water quality data.


  • Strong knowledge of wetland systems.
  • Experience managing and prioritizing tasks from multiple sources.
  • Experience working with hydrologic data sets and/or doing basic statistics.
  • Experience working independently and with little supervision.
  • Experience creating outreach and/or education materials.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Ability to identify common plants of the upper Midwest.


Builds Relationships

Builds productive relationships by interacting with others in ways that enhance mutual trust and commitment.

Collaboration & Teamwork

Works collaboratively with stakeholders across levels, geographies, backgrounds, and cultures to improve decisions, strengthen commitment, and be more effective.

Communicates Authentically

Communicates proactively and in a timely manner to share information, persuade, and influence with the appropriate level of detail, tone, and opportunities for feedback.



Takes ownership to help develop others’ skills, behaviors, and mindsets to help them maximize their workplace contributions.

Leverages Difference

Demonstrates commitment to harnessing the power of differences strategically; consistently sees, learns from, and takes strategic action related to difference; and demonstrates the self-awareness and behaviors to work across differences of identity and power respectfully and effectively with all stakeholder. Actively seeks to build and retain a diverse workforce and fosters an equitable inclusive workplace by drawing upon diverse perspectives.



Thinks and acts from a broad perspective with a long-term view and an understanding of 1) the dynamic nature of large-scale challenges and 2) the need for integrating five key practices: skillfully engaging appropriate people; providing a clear process for change; taking a holistic view of situations; focusing on a small number of strategic actions, while learning from and adapting them over time; and being aware of how one’s own thinking or patterns of behavior may be limiting change.

This description is not designed to be a complete list of all duties and responsibilities required for this job.

This position requires a valid driver’s license and compliance with the Conservancy’s Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered “high risk drivers.” Please see further details in the Auto Safety Program document available at

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which will include a review of the prospective employee’s motor vehicle record.

To apply to position number 48410, submit resume (required) and cover letter separately using the upload buttons. All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, February 10, 2020. Click “submit” to apply for the position or “save for later” to create a draft application for future submission. Once submitted, applications cannot be revised or edited. Failure to complete required fields may result in your application being disqualified from consideration. If you experience technical issues, please refer to our applicant user guide or contact  The successful applicant must meet the requirements of The Nature Conservancy’s background screening process.

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of all genders with diverse backgrounds, beliefs and cultures. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants f rom all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientations, gender identities, military or veteran status or other status protected by law.