Napa County resource conservation district
Supporting Forest Health and Wildfire Resilience in Napa County
Background in or experience in forestry, ecology, biology, or environmental science
Understanding of or interest in forest management best practices, forest health and fire resiliency technical assistance
Ability to conduct independent research and synthesize findings into reports/presentations
Experience with or interest in public outreach, community engagement/organizing
Strong communication, project management, organization
Familiarity with Forest Management Plans and GIS software
We understand that applicants will have varied skillsets and prior experiences, and encourage all those who are interested to consider applying regardless of whether all desired skills/traits are met.
Openings: 0 of 1
*This position has been filled*
Education & Outreach
Goals & Needs
The Fellow will contribute to exciting and critical growth in the Napa County Resource Conservation District’s (Napa RCD’s) forestry programming, which focuses on improving forest health and wildfire resiliency. Napa RCD’s work in this space began following the 2017 Wine Country wildfires and has grown significantly due to unprecedented community need as well as the critical role that forest health plays in mitigating the effects of climate change and supporting a healthy community. Improving the long-term health of Napa County’s forests is key to not only promoting fire resiliency, but also sequestering carbon, cleaning the air we breathe, catching and cleaning the water we drink and use for agriculture, protecting wildlife, and improving the health and well-being of our community.
The Fellow will play a key role in growing the Napa RCD’s capacity to help the community improve forest health and fire resiliency by developing new resources and spearheading education and outreach efforts. Specifically, the Fellow will support three projects in their tenure with the Napa RCD that will fill critical gaps in our services, including: (1) developing a Forestry Technical Assistance Process Guide which will be adopted by Napa RCD staff and our partners to provide one-on-one technical assistance more efficiently to forest landowners, (2) developing a Napa County Forest Stewardship Guidebook which will educate land managers about the role they can play in caring for their forested land and help them navigate the various assistance programs available to them, and (3) building awareness of forest health practices in the community by contributing to the development of new education and outreach activities (e.g. community events that promote the Napa County Forest Stewardship Guidebook, supporting education and volunteer activities for local high school and college students).
The Fellow’s day-to-day will include a wide variety of activities, ranging from desk-research, engaging with partner organizations and stakeholders involved in forest health and fire resiliency across the county and region, shadowing staff conducting forestry technical assistance, translating forestry best practices and resources into user-friendly guides, developing and facilitating community events and volunteer activities, and more. The Fellow will work regularly with the three Napa RCD staff who currently comprise the Forestry team, as well as the four staff who comprise the Community Engagement and Education team. Additionally, the Fellow will have opportunities to take part in other dynamic Napa RCD programs, including regenerative agriculture and stream restoration and monitoring.
Capacity Building Projects
The Fellow will play a key role in growing the Napa RCD’s capacity to help the community improve forest health and fire resiliency by developing new resources and spearheading education and outreach efforts. Specifically, the Fellow will support three projects that will fill critical gaps in Napa RCD’s services:
Project 1 - Forestry Technical Assistance Process Guide: The Fellow will lead the development of a guide delineating the step-by-step process for providing one-on-one technical assistance to forest landowners, from customer intake to the development of Forest Management Plans (FMPs) to oversight of implementation projects. This will enhance Napa RCD’s capacity to efficiently serve as many landowners as possible because it would provide a framework for standardizing our customer intake and communication, distributing tasks among staff, tracking task status. As inputs into the guide development, the Fellow will conduct desk-based research on technical assistance steps and components of FMPs, lead interviews with foresters, and shadow staff conducting forestry technical assistance. The guide will be used by Napa RCD staff and shared with RCDs and organizations across the region.
Project 2 - Napa County Forest Stewardship Guidebook: The Fellow will lead the development of a guidebook for forest landowners that educates them about the role they can play in caring for their forested land and helps them navigate the available assistance programs. While many landowners approach Napa RCD and our local Fire Safe Councils with questions, we do not have a user-friendly resource to guide landowners through this process. This resource will explain the basics of forest stewardship and help us more quickly connect landowners to appropriate next steps. The Fellow will develop the guidebook content with support from Napa RCD and Napa Communities Firewise Foundation staff, as well as input from the Napa Pre-Fire Coordinating Group, and aid in disseminating the guidebook.
Project 3 - Education and Outreach: The Fellow will also build awareness of forest health practices in the community by contributing to the development of new education and outreach activities. This could include facilitating community events that promote the Napa County Forest Stewardship Guidebook that the Fellow developed, engaging community members in “Forest Walks”, and supporting our robust education and volunteer programs for local high school and college students. Importantly, as a recent graduate, the Fellow will be uniquely suited to serve as a role model for those in high school and college and help foster interest in careers in conservation and forestry.
Organizational & Community Highlights
Napa RCD was established in 1945 as a special district to help Napa County’s farmers and ranchers tackle erosion and other problems. Today, we help our community achieve conservation goals by providing technical and financial assistance, educational programs, and monitoring programs on forest health, fisheries, soil management, water conservation, and more. Our team includes thirteen conservation scientists, outreach, and administrative professionals skilled at developing, implementing, and monitoring many types of projects.
The Fellow will join us at an exciting time in our forestry program development, which launched in response to the 2017 Wine Country wildfires and has grown significantly since. The Fellow will help grow our capacity to improve forest health and fire resiliency in Napa County. The Fellow will also learn from non-forestry conservation staff and engage with our partners across the region. Thus, the Fellow will have numerous opportunities to develop their professional skillset and build meaningful relationships that they can carry forward in their career.
Napa County’s location provides the Fellow with an interesting opportunity to support forest health. Napa County has an unusually diverse array of habitats due to its diverse topographic and geologic landscape. It has California’s eastern-most populations of coastal redwoods, including trees which began growing around 1200 AD and valley oak woodlands with some of the highest plant and animal diversity in the state. The Napa River watershed retains a largely intact native fish community, so forest management in the upper watershed has important implications for preserving downstream habitats. Most forest lands are owned by private entities include vineyard and ranch enterprises, the Land Trust of Napa County and Pacific Union College, and rural homeowners. Public lands include California State and Napa Open Space District parks, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Bureau of Land Management holdings. As a result, the Fellow will work with a variety of stakeholders.
Living in Napa County comes with many perks. First and foremost, it is a beautiful place to reside, with access to a variety of incredible outdoor spaces, recreational activities, and cultural activities. As a smaller city, the community in Napa is welcoming and easy to integrate into. The Napa RCD office is easily accessible by bike, car, or bus from anywhere within town. Given the proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, the Fellow will also have access to amenities larger cities offer.