CONSERVATION EXTENSION OFFICER - Stellenbosch
more than 14 days ago
WWF is the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisation, with over 6 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
WWF South Africa is a national office that is part of the WWF network. We are a local NGO that has worked for 50 years with the aim of inspiring all South Africans to live in harmony with nature, for the benefit of our country and the wellbeing of all our people. WWFs work is for nature, for you. Our work is challenging and exciting and we love what we do. To join our team, you need to be brilliant at what you do, passionate, results-orientated and have a positive attitude.
It is well recognized that landowners, as the “stewards of the land” can play an important role in the long term conservation of our natural heritage, ecological functions such as water provision and healthy soil that provide food security in a changing climate. With 95% of wine growing taking place in the unique habitat of the Cape floral kingdom, WWF initiated a pioneering partnership between the South African wine industry and the conservation sector. The project works with landowners to ensure they are aware of and conserving their unique natural heritage, and that their farming practices do not have any negative impacts on the surrounding environment.
WWF is looking for an energetic and suitably qualified Extension Officer to join the small Sustainable Agriculture team. The role will be responsible for providing technical advisory support around biodiversity stewardship, leading agricultural practices, effective resource management for the (50+) WWF Conservation Champion farms. The position is full time, based out of the Stellenbosch office and will require extensive travel within the Western Cape to undertake farm visits.
The WWF Junior Extension Officer will work closely with and report to the Senior Extension officer, with key performance indicators related to the following activities:
1. Provide technical input to the WWF Conservation Champion wine farm environmental assessments as part of the annual review process:
• Effective planning of the annual farm visit schedule to ensure that all 50+ farms are visited at least once a year.
• During farm visit, complete the environmental assessment in collaboration with the representative from the farm which focusses on providing sound advice on the effective mitigation of any environmental risks, updating the biodiversity management plans, tracking progress against previous annual targets, and supporting the proactive conservation efforts of the farm – thereby ensuring that the WWF Conservation Champion criteria are maintained.
• Negotiate and conclude the signing of WWF Landowner Conservation Agreements with all WWF Conservation Champion farms as well as identified priority stewardship properties falling within WWF stewardship focus areas.
• Maintain positive relationships with key staff members/landowners and update team internally to ensure effective communication across various levels of engagement.
• Support the integration of WWF Freshwater stewardship activities through alignment with existing standards (Global Gap, SIZA, Alliance for Water Stewardship, IPW and SIZA) on shared project objectives.
• Support the team with research & technical input where required to ensure biodiversity criteria of industry standards & technical resources remain relevant and updated.
2. Monitoring & Evaluation (including GIS)
• Undertake Monitoring and Evaluation and Learning (MEL) processes, including GIS spatial analysis of areas under agriculture and conservation, to track improved management over time;
• Updating the GIS database and data management to ensure standardised map development for the Conservation Champion Management Plans per farm;
• All aspects of project administration (updated membership information, contact details, conservation stories, annual review of management plans)
3. Stakeholder Engagement:
• Professional communication and presentation skills to represent the team at meetings and on platforms with targeted partner organisations (such as Landcare, CapeNature, Conservation at Work, various regional Conservancies) and/or broader fruit & wine industry bodies (such as WOSA, IPW, SIZA, Hortgro etc.)
• Coordination, planning and support in hosting technical training workshops both virtually and in- person.
• Support the Senior Extension officer and Programme manager by providing input into fundraising and reporting to key funders and partners.
• Support in content development for WWF Conservation Champion sub-brand in marketing, communication and media liaison
• A minimum of a Bachelor level qualification in conservation ecology, agricultural science, natural resources management, environmental management, or relevant field (e.g. economics, land use planning, viticulture, GIS expertise); and at least five years’ work.
• Knowledge & experience of viticulture processes and wine industry networks with a working understanding of the different wine value chain processes – from vine to bottle – as well as market requirements such as relevant audits and certification schemes.
• A demonstrated understanding of, and experience in engagement with, the various wine industry associations and certification schemes (IPW, WIETA, WOSA, SALBA).
• Working knowledge & experience of the different Conservation Stewardship models & relevant partners in the landscape.
• The successful candidate must be skilled in communications (written and verbal) with strong report writing skills.
• Self-motivated, with strong analytical, administrative and project management skills.
• Passion for the conservation of nature and the involvement of people and businesses in the implementation of practical solutions to the challenges facing the environment.
• Collaborative spirit and ability to work in team settings across cultures and internally within a diverse institution.
• Computer literacy in MS Office (MS Word), spread sheets (Excel), email and presentations (MS PowerPoint).
• Ability to converse in both English and Afrikaans.
• Valid driver’s license and own transportation essential.