Hiring - Ruffed Grouse Society - Western Great Lakes - Regional Engagement Coordinator

Job Type: Regional Engagement Coordinator
Location: Remote or home office centrally within ~130-mile radius of Brainerd, MN
Region: Western Great Lakes – Minnesota, northwest Wisconsin, northeast Iowa (also assists with a
chapter in Seattle, WA).
Posting Open Date: November 30, 2023
Posting Closing Date: December 30, 2023 (Or until filled by an exceptional candidate)

At RGS & AWS, we believe forests are essential, not just for wildlife, but for all life. For more than 60
years, our foundation has been embedded in the tenets of sound science and the belief that
sustainable forest management is integral to wildlife conservation. We create landscapes of diverse,
healthy forests that provide homes for wildlife and opportunities for people to experience them.
These same forests clean the air, filter water and support local communities.
We’re seeking an outstanding individual to increase member engagement. This position will include
organizing fundraising banquets and events, along with engagement and education events for local
chapters in your region, as well as helping develop and drive policy advocacy. The Regional
Engagement Coordinator will empower volunteers to become conservation leaders, working with
chapters that engage a larger network across the region for conservation delivery, advocacy and
• Experience planning, executing and evaluating fundraising events with more than three
years of experience collaborating with and leading community members, volunteers,
staff and board members in project/event management.
• More than three years of experience with public speaking, email communications and other
means of communicating with the public and community groups.
• Ability to lead and motivate with a passion for forest and wildlife conservation.
• Well-organized with experience managing multiple projects under deadlines.
• Ability to establish a home office centrally within the regional service area.
• Willingness to work hours that sometimes extend beyond the typical workday and
workweek, including travel throughout the region (valid driver’s license required).
• A degree in communications, marketing, public affairs, social or environmental sciences or
similar field is preferred.

Position Summary:
The Regional Engagement Coordinator will work directly with RGS & AWS volunteers to engage
various stakeholders to increase advocacy, membership and fundraising opportunities at the local,
state and regional levels. Specifically, the coordinator will:
• Work directly with chapter volunteers to help them organize and orchestrate fundraising
events and activities such as banquets, shoots and online events.
• Effectively communicate with members, donors and supporters, including in-person,
email and social media outreach, keeping them advised of relevant news and success
• Support, encourage and empower current chapter leadership and cultivate new leaders.
• Host regular "meet and greet" events (in-person and virtual) with RGS & AWS staff and
other professionals, offering presentations that engage donors, members and volunteers.
• In collaboration with the Vice President of Communications & Marketing, build
relationships with local media (print and electronic) to publicize RGS & AWS activities and
• Support the RGS & AWS Membership Department on promotional drives and campaigns.
• Work directly with the RGS & AWS regional staff, the Development Director and Conservation
Team to create on-the-ground positive involvement with local communities and businesses.
• Identify potential relationships with companies, foundations and donors capable of
magnifying the RGS & AWS mission through their philanthropic vision.
• Notice opportunities to increase mission impact and convey them to colleagues across RGS
& AWS program areas.
• Make independent decisions based on analysis, experience and judgment with appropriate
oversight from supervisor. Work with supervisor to manage priorities, especially during
busy seasons.
Compensation:  Read the full job posting and/or apply

Building a Grouse Dog Paperback

Building a Grouse Dog: From Puppy to Polished Performer by Craig Doherty, is the most comprehensive, how-to manual there is for taking an eight-week-old little squirmer of any pointing breed and turning him or her into that most coveted game bird finder there is: a finished grouse dog. 

Unlike many general pointing-dog training books, this one concentrates on one species the ruffed grouse. Grouse are notorious for their caginess, their wariness, and their difficulty in being pinned down so a hunter can get close enough to flush and shoot. It takes a dog that has been trained nearly from birth to handle that task, and no one knows how to do it better than Craig Doherty. 

Craig was the driving force behind Field Trial Magazine, is a columnist for The Pointing Dog Journal, regularly competes in grouse trials throughout the Northeast, professionally trains grouse dogs for clients from all over the country, and this is important guides grouse hunters using his own dogs trained in his outstanding methods; important because paying clients need results, and those results can only come by following dogs that know the game. 

A number of how-to training books tell you what to do from beginning to end; but if you have started your own training, run into problems, and consult the literature, many times you ll find that the advice is something along the lines of, Well, you messed up because you didn t do X, Y, and Z. Remember that so you won t ruin your next dog. Not Craig if you have run into a snag with your current dog, Craig tells you what to do to get past it and on with the dog s completed training. So if your aim, your goal, is to own and hunt behind a finished grouse dog that knows what s what in the coverts, Building a Grouse Dog is the best guide you ll ever have.



Eight Wolves trapped between Ely and Babbitt due to dogs being taken

by Parker Loew

After reports of pets being taken, federal officials set up a trapping zone and captured and euthanized eight wolves between Babbitt and Ely.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services Division doesn’t take decisions like these lightly and only performs the trapping of wolves under extreme circumstances.

“After the first report, they (USDA) didn’t set up a trapping zone, just deterrence plans. After the second report two weeks later, they opened a trapping control zone,” said Anthony Bermel, conservation officer with the DNR.

The trapping zone established was only around one acre in size, and lasted roughly a week, but the USDA trapped and euthanized eight wolves in the established zone.

While they would prefer to not euthanize any wildlife, Bermel explains how it isn’t that simple.

“Wolves have their territories, it is very difficult to relocate them,” said Bermel. “Once they identify humans as a food source, it makes it much more difficult.”

The DNR and USDA have received an elevated number of calls this fall from residents in the northwoods on their pets being chased and taken by wolves, and wolves that aren’t afraid of humans.

The wolf-deer dynamic is likely to blame for the increased interaction between people and wolves this year.

“I think it is primarily low deer population in the wolves’ territories,” said Bermel. “The abundance of deer in town and close to residents who often feed the deer plays a large part in drawing the wolves close to people.”

The eight wolves trapped by the USDA were described as “healthy, but fit.”

This time of year, it is early for wolves to be fit (thin), and further adds to the hypothesis that there is an abundance of wolves this year and a low deer population in their normal territories.


“If you live out in the woods or if you’re out grouse hunting or walking your dog, just be aware because there’s been several of these incidents over the last few weeks,” he said.

Read the full Ely Echo article

Ruffed grouse population more resilient than expected, genetic study finds

by Sara LaJeunesse,

Despite decades of decline, a genetic analysis of ruffed grouse reveals that Pennsylvania's state bird harbors more genetic diversity and connectivity than expected. The findings suggest that the iconic game bird could be maintained in persistent numbers if appropriate protections are implemented. The study, led by Penn State and Pennsylvania Game Commission researchers, is published in Molecular Ecology.

According to the researchers, Pennsylvania's ruffed grouse populations have declined by up to 70% since the early 1960s, with birds in the southern part of the state particularly affected by West Nile virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, and by due to development.

"By all typical metrics, the ruffed grouse is in a state of rapid decline," said Julian Avery, associate research professor of wildlife conservation at Penn State and co-author of the paper. "Yet, until now, no one had used genetic tools to investigate the effects of this decline at a deeper level. By applying , we have found that the bird is genetically better off than we suspected, which means that habitat protection and other management interventions can work to protect this species."

Leilton Luna, postdoctoral researcher at Penn State and corresponding author of the paper, explained that when an organism's size drops too low because of disease or , inbreeding can occur, which can lead to a decline in over time.

"Populations with low genetic diversity have a harder time evolving in response to changing and are at greater risk of extinction," Luna said. "In the case of the Pennsylvania ruffed grouse, due to the sharp population decline, it certainly doesn't have the same healthy genetic conditions as it did in the past. Even so, the current levels of genetic diversity and connectivity give us great hope for the preservation of this species."

As an initial step, the team produced the first high-quality reference genome for ruffed grouse. A reference genome, Luna said, is a representative example of a particular organism's genes. 

"This reference genome serves as a standardized genetic baseline, facilitating accurate comparisons of genome-wide diversity between individuals and populations," Luna said. "Additionally, this genomic resource will enable us to investigate important questions, such as whether specific genetic components, like adapted genes, contribute to varying population responses to West Nile virus in different ruffed grouse populations."  

To investigate the population health of the ruffed grouse in Pennsylvania, the research team sequenced 54 individual bird genomes within habitats that were both fragmented by development and intact. The researchers examined the for evidence of gene flow, which indicates that genetic material is readily exchanged among migrating populations. 

Read the full Phys.org article