Who We Are


The Crane Trust, Inc. is a non-profit organization devoted to addressing protection and enhancement solutions in order to mirror the unique and extraordinary habitat that has been used by the endangered whooping crane, two sub-species of sandhill cranes and other migratory birds along the Big Bend Region of the Platte River Valley in Nebraska.

The Crane Trust consists of two facilities: the main campus includes the headquarter office, research laboratory, Pietrok VIP viewing blinds, and Legacy Cabins. The second facility is the beautiful nature and visitor center located off I-80 exit 305 which welcomes guests to the Crane Trust’s rare, protected lands year round and to the great sandhill crane migration in the spring. With an art gallery, gift shop, butterfly garden, roughly 10 miles of nature trails, and a herd of genetically pure American bison, there is plenty for visitors to do during their visit.

Our compelling mission creates the foundation for rewarding and challenging careers. With a small, dedicated staff consisting of a diverse background including biologists, land managers, fundraising, marketing, and other professionals, everyone contributes to our mission of conservation and the enhancement of this rare ecosystem, including 4,500 continuous acres of native grassland prairie, wet meadows and an uninterrupted seven-mile stretch of the historic Platte River. Whatever your expertise, you’ll find an environment that encourages innovation and collaboration.

Current Employment Opportunities

  • Director of Conservation Research

    We are currently seeking a Director of Conservation Research (DCR) to head the Crane Trust’s science program. This position will supervise the Crane Trust's Habitat Ecologist, Wildlife Biologist, Biological Science Technician, and Threatened and Endangered Species Specialist and serve as a direct point of contact for graduate students working at the preserve.

    Essential duties of the position include:
    • Overseeing research projects on a diversity of subjects including wetlands, braided rivers, Whooping Cranes, Sandhill Cranes, avian ecology, plant communities, landscape ecology, and aquatic ecology.
    • Providing professional guidance to team members regarding data management, analysis, and quality assessment.
    • Applying for and successfully garnering sizable grants to fund cooperative research efforts.
    • Grant tracking and management, report writing, and serving as the lead statistical analyst on a diversity of projects.
    • Regularly leading and supporting staff publications and communicating study results to the Crane Trust's land management team and the regional conservation partners to facilitate adaptive management.
    • Visiting with donors throughout the year to help raise awareness of our mission and helping to garner financial support for the organization.
    • Study design, staff scheduling, evaluation, mentorship, conservation policy negotiation, partner coordination, and community outreach.

    • Strong applicants should have experience with long-term research programs and demonstrate subject matter knowledge of hydrology, wetland ecology, grasslands, avian conservation, and/or crane ecology.
    • Applicants should have a master’s degree or higher in hydrology, natural resources, wildlife biology, ecology, range science, botany, agricultural science, or a related field. The applicant should also have at least 5 years of professional experience outside of graduate school and a strong publication record with a demonstrated ability to lead applied science projects.
    • Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential.
    • Skill in Microsoft Office, Access, Excel, STATA, R, SPSS, Python, ArcGIS, ArcPad, QGIS, Google Earth Pro, DNR Garmin, and other programs often used in Natural Resources Research is a great benefit.
    • Valid driver’s license for the position.

    The application deadline is Friday, July 1, 2022. However, interviews could begin at any time. The position is expected to start in mid-July to ensure some overlap with the outgoing Director of Conservation Research. However, flexibility can be offered regarding the start date for the right candidate.

    Application Instructions
    To apply send one document, preferably a PDF, containing your resume/CV, contact information, >3 references, and a cover letter no longer than 1 page detailing your interests in our science program, your skillset, important experiences (educational, volunteer, or work highlights), and a little about your philosophy on conservation and work. Please email info@cranetrust.org or airmail applications to the address below and feel free to email/call with any questions. Please CC acaven@cranetrust.org on email applications.

    Contact Information
    Andrew J. Caven
    Director of Conservation Research
    Crane Trust
    6611 W Whooping Crane Drive
    Wood River, NE 68883
    Cell: (605)-252-8007