For Immediate Release
March 30, 2020
The Ruffed Grouse Society & American Woodcock Society (RGS & AWS) announced that the group is moving forward with a planned re-structure of its conservation delivery programs. The re-organization will replace the Regional Biologist job title with a new Forest Conservation Director position.
“We have been working on re-organization plans over the past 18 months,” said Ben Jones, RGS & AWS President and CEO. The change is among RGS & AWS efforts to increase engagement in forest management issues, and will result in the layoff of three biologists in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Eastern Great Lakes Regions. “While we know this is the right move, it is not easy to let folks go. These biologists have worked with great passion and dedication. We appreciate all they have done.”
With expertise in forest management and market economics, the Forest Conservation Directors will lead new efforts, which will include re-investment of timber sale proceeds into conservation. “If there is one thing the COVID-19 situation has affirmed, it’s the need to diversify our business model. Doing so now will empower us to exit this crisis a more impactful organization than we entered,” said Jones.
“To be clear, this re-structure does not suggest past efforts have failed; rather, we are seizing a growth opportunity that will ensure each volunteer hour, every dollar is maximized.” Currently, RGS & AWS raises a significant percentage of annual funding through chapter events. A portion of proceeds are retained locally and applied to habitat projects with over 700,000 acres accomplished over the past decade. Jones adds, “We should be shooting for 700,000 acres each year, not by decade. The need to scale up has never been greater and our network of volunteers, members, and donors is motivated and wanting for more.”
Recruitment of Forest Conservation Directors will begin immediately with intent to fill vacancies in the coming months. The western Great Lakes Forest Conservation Director (serving Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa) is filled, with recruitment for a southern Appalachians Director in its final stages.
Founded in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is a leading proponent of science-based forest and wildlife management. Together with the American Woodcock Society (founded in 2014), RGS & AWS unites conservationists to improve wildlife habitat and forest health.