Big River Connectivity Coexistence Coordinator(F/T)


Kelly Borgmann grew up on a historic farm in rural east-central Indiana. Spending her days playing in the woods and taking care of the land gave her a deep appreciation of nature while participating in 4-H and FFA taught her how to be a productive member of rural and agricultural communities.

Following her passion for wild nature, Kelly earned an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology from Ball State University. She then spent the next several years traveling and learning about human connections to nature in myriad contexts. She has spent time working as a field guide in South Africa, a human-manatee interactions researcher for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Florida, a National Park Service cowgirl in Montana, and a conservation educator in Ohio. Through all these adventures she maintained and grew her love of coexistence and connecting people to nature.

Deciding to deepen her knowledge of human-nature interactions, Kelly entered a dual degree program to obtain a Masters of Public Affairs and a Masters of Science in Environmental Science from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Her focus has been on reducing conflict at the rural-wildland interface and building proactive coexistence programs. In her role as Big River Connectivity Coexistence Coordinator, Kelly promotes compassionate coexistence and rewilding landscapes across the Midwest.

When not working to create a better world for all life, Kelly can be found hiking with her dog, reading a good book, or exploring the world through art and photography.

Job Description

Position: Big River Connectivity Coexistence Coordinator (F/T)

Reports to: Michelle Lute, National Carnivore Conservation Manager, Project Coyote

Job Description: The BIG RIVER CONNECTIVITY (BRC) Coexistence Coordinator will be based in Des Moines, Iowa and will advance the BRC mission within and across the Mississippi River Watershed by utilizing all appropriate resources of The Rewilding Institute and Project Coyote. This position will work with the BRC Science and Conservation Manager for Midwest initiatives for the two closely-affiliated organizations as part of their BeWildReWild collaboration with The Half-Earth Project. The successful candidate must understand and enthusiastically articulate how the 4Cs (Cores, Corridors, Crossings, and Coexistence) approach to wildlife conservation creates a wilder, more beautiful, more biologically diverse, and more enduring watershed for the benefit of all life. They will be comfortable in both urban and rural settings and among people of differing origins, beliefs, and motivations. This position will work to unite and network.

We are looking for a motivated team player to join two highly effective and exciting organizations undergoing strategic expansion. As national organizations working to promote coexistence with wildlife and wild nature through rewilding and science-driven advocacy and education, Project Coyote and TRI are consciously and thoughtfully cultivating our network in the Midwest. To make this position play to individual strengths, interested candidates are invited to expand on our brief description of the position and emphasize individual attributes, interests, skills, experiences, and passions to demonstrate in detail what can be expected from their leadership during year one and beyond. Share with us your vision of rewilding the Mississippi Watershed in Iowa and beyond!

About BRC: BIG RIVER CONNECTIVITY is BeWild ReWild’s vision for a wilder, more beautiful, more biologically diverse, and a more enduring Mississippi River Watershed. Goals of this ambitious initiative range from rewilding floodplains and steep slopes to allowing the recolonization of apex predators and keystone species essential to a healthy ecosystem upon which biodiversity and humans depend. Great potential exists for connecting large core habitat areas like the four state Driftless Region, the four state Ozark Plateau, and the four state Loess Hills Area. Our emphasis is on reconnecting, restoring and rewilding the heartland and we take a total watershed approach.

About Project Coyote: Project Coyote promotes compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science, and advocacy.  Read more here.

About The Rewilding Institute: TRI’s mission is to develop and promote the ideas and strategies to advance continental-scale conservation in North America and beyond, particularly the need for large carnivores and a permeable landscape for their movement, and to offer a bold, scientifically credible, practically achievable, and hopeful vision for the future of wild Nature and human civilization in North America. Read more here.

About The Half-Earth Project: The Half-Earth Project embraces BRC as a project aimed at a Half-Earth Future and in keeping with the mission to reverse the extinction crisis threatening humanity. The main role of the Half-Earth Project will be in developing educational resources and networks of learners and educators. Read more here.

Skills, Qualifications & Experience:

  • Strong belief in the mission and values of Project Coyote, TRI and The Half-Earth Project
  • Demonstrated commitment to wildlife conservation
  • Deep understanding of the connections between wildlife (particularly carnivores) and humans in complex socio-ecological systems and the impacts of extinction and climate crises on those systems
  • Minimum of five years’ experience of demonstrated management and leadership skills in biodiversity and/or wildlife conservation, ideally with knowledge/experience in wildlife conservation and agriculture
  • Comprehensive knowledge of state policymaking processes and laws/regulations across the Midwest, relevant to the oversight and treatment of wildlife and their habitats
  • Successful track record of program management from conception through implementation
  • Nimble and exceptional (written and oral) communication skills
  • Team player but also able to work independently/remotely and achieve results with minimal supervision
  • Project- and team-management skills
  • Ability to successfully manage key internal and external stakeholders and relationships
  • Ability to prioritize and multitask efficiently
  • Proven ability to continually develop skills related to use of rapidly changing technology and communications
  • Ability to adapt and be flexible in a dynamic work environment

Compensation: Competitive salary based on experience and comprehensive benefit package (medical, vision and dental insurance, 11 paid holidays per year, paid vacation, and sick leave). This person will be compensated by and report to TRI and PC and can also expect non-financial support from a loosely knit group of BeWildReWild volunteers.

Location: Remote (works from home) with preference for Des Moines, Iowa location. 

Start date: September 1, 2021 start date preferred.  

To apply: Please send a letter of interest, CV/resume, and two relevant writing samples by email to: Please type “BRC Coexistence Coordinator” in the subject line.

For inquiries: Please contact

This BeWildReWild grant provides $170K during year one for two full-time employees living in the Des Moines area and working to advance our BIG RIVER CONNECTIVITY Vision of Cores, Corridors, Crossings, and Coexistence throughout the Mississippi River Watershed.

Roger Ross Gipple