Director of Conservation Impact
Employment TypeJob (Full-time)
Research & Science
Title: Director of Conservation Impact
Exemption Status: Exempt
Department: Science Administration
Reports to: VP of Science
Supervises: Postdoctoral Researcher(s), students, volunteers.
Position Overview: We seek to hire a Director of Conservation Impact at the senior scientist rank to join the Garden’s Negaunee Institute for Plant Conservation Science and Action (https://www.chicagobotanic.org/research). This position will collaborate with Garden science programs (Restoration, Conservation, and Plant Science) to increase the impact of our work. They will provide strategic vision, fund-raising, administration, and implementation for a program of integrated plant conservation based on the tenets of translational ecology. We envision the position working with the Communications and Interpretation Departments to ensure the Garden’s science is widely communicated, as well as working with various stakeholder communities to ensure the Garden’s science is both used and useful. The successful candidate will join a highly collaborative group of scientists focused on addressing key conservation and restoration challenges. All scientists participate in Garden education programs as well as community and Garden-wide engagement activities. Start date is flexible with a preference for summer 2024.
About us: The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Negaunee Institute for Plant Conservation Science and Action is a global leader in plant-based research, education, and engagement to sustain and enrich life. The Institute is housed within the 38,000 square foot Plant Conservation Science Center on our Glencoe, Illinois campus. Our building has eight shared, function-based labs and currently hosts 27 science staff and more than 50 graduate students through a graduate program in Plant Biology and Conservation (offered jointly with Northwestern University). The Garden’s natural areas, managed by a team of ecologists, serve as a living laboratory for our work. Scientists have access to 75,000 sq. ft. of production greenhouse space and technical assistance from CBG’s experienced horticultural staff to assist with propagation and production of plants for research. The Garden also has an herbarium and seed bank and supports several unique programs including two community science initiatives – Budburst and Plants of Concern, a synthesis Center for Conservation and Restoration (sCORE), a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site program, as well as a Conservation and Land Management Internship Program and Stewardship and Ecology of Natural Areas (SENA) internship program. Our research, conservation, and training activities engage with and support local, regional, and national partners.
Based in the Chicago metropolitan area, the Garden is striving to reflect and serve the racial diversity in the Chicago Metropolitan area in our visitorship, staff, and programs. We opened 51 years ago as a beautiful place to visit and have matured into one of the world’s great living museums and conservation science centers. The Garden’s mission is grounded in the belief that caring for gardens and natural areas is fundamentally important to the well-being of everyone. The Garden strives to make its campuses and all its programs available and accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. We value diversity in all its forms and at every level of our organization – board, staff, volunteers, and vendors. Through the diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences, the Garden is more effectively able to create extraordinary and welcoming experiences for our increasingly diverse audiences. We are committed to ensuring a sense of belonging to every individual we encounter, regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, intellectual ability, or economic status. The Garden is currently developing several initiatives to promote equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in science and conservation.
Duties & Responsibilities
In this role you will be responsible for the following:
1. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: (Estimated time commitment: ~50%)
Help synthesize research, communicate science, and develop policy to support conservation or restoration practice by developing and implementing a plan for science translation.
Participate in the Garden’s advocacy work.
Develop and/or help grow and maintain collaborations with partner organizations, such as conservation organizations, agencies, and/or community groups, including the Forest Preserves of Cook County, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Illinois Natural History Survey.
Manage the Garden’s role as chair of the Plant Conservation Alliance Non Federal Cooperators Committee.
Participate in international conservation forums/discussions (e.g. COPs, Global Partnership for Plant Conservation, etc.).
2. RESEARCH: (Estimated time commitment: ~30%)
Collaborate with conservation NGOs, regional, state, and federal agencies, and other organizations to maximize the impact of the Garden’s science efforts. Co-create and carry out research projects with community and conservation partners.
Share results through publications and presentations as well as broader communication venues that engage groups such as policy makers, elected officials, land managers, and the public.
Develop financial support for the program in collaboration with development staff, through the preparation of grant proposals and through presentations to prospective donors.
3. INSTITUTIONAL ENGAGEMENT: (Estimated time commitment: ~20%)
Actively participate in Garden and departmental initiatives including our sCORE synthesis center, community science projects, science engagement/interpretation, and if desired, mentor graduate students in the Plant Biology and Conservation program with Northwestern University.
Collaborate with staff and students on projects that require conservation policy and translational ecology expertise, which may include advising on projects led by other scientists.
Work collaboratively with other Garden departments (Learning and Engagement, Horticulture, Collections, Communications, and Visitor Services) on projects that support the Garden’s mission and strategic plan.
Contribute to departmental and Garden-wide planning, project development/management, and related tasks.
Key Cooperative Relationships:
Botanic Garden staff, students, and volunteers; scientific community; federal, state, and regional land managers; conservation, stewardship, restoration, and community groups; elected officials and other conservation and community stakeholders.
Education and Experience
Our ideal candidate will have the following:
Ph.D. in botany, biology, ecology, conservation, or equivalent and at least 10 years experience in conservation science.
Expertise in, and track record of, increasing impact of conservation science through collaboration with agencies, NGOs, policy makers, and/or elected officials.
At least 5 years managerial experience, including providing strategic vision.
As scientists based at a public-facing institution, we value science communication that is accessible to the public.
We highly value people who are enthusiastic about increasing equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in science.
Office setting. Frequent sitting, standing, walking, bending, listening, speaking, and keyboarding. Use of office equipment including computers, telephones, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. Some requirements for lifting, pushing, or pulling items that are less than 30 pounds. Occasional field work and trainings in outdoor settings.
Chicago Botanic Garden Values & Behaviors:
As an organization, we…
Prioritize a culture of GROWTH.
We commit to remaining curious in how we approach our work.
Create and maintain spaces for learning.
Test new ideas and are willing to take risks to achieve our vision.
Collaborate to strengthen our skills and impact.
Demonstrate perseverance and humility as we work towards our long-term impact.
Seek to UNDERSTAND.
We seek to understand others from their perspective.
Provide opportunities for input and feedback from others.
Actively listen to all points of view.
Consider individuals’ lived experiences.
Advocate for and protect time for reflection especially during times of conflict or confusion.
See one another through a lens of RESILIENCE.
We believe that all individuals can experience good outcomes with support.
Give others the space to balance work and personal needs.
Support others and demonstrate empathy especially during challenging and stressful times.
Seek opportunities to learn from and about one another.
Ask questions about and anticipate the needs of others.
Build TRUST through TRANSPARENCY
We hold ourselves and others accountable by centering decision making that honors all people.
Communicate information in a timely manner.
Provide clarity in complex situations with the goal of common understanding.
Discuss both positive and negative outcomes openly.
Evaluate the impacts of our actions.
In addition to the Garden application materials, please submit: 1) a cover letter (1-3 pages) that includes a description of a) why you are interested in this position; b) your previous experiences and how these experiences would inform your work in this position; c) your experience in science translation; and d) your commitment to fostering an equitable, diverse, inclusive, and accessible environment; 2) a resume/CV; and 3) contact information for 3 references. Contact Kayri Havens at email@example.com with any questions.
Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.
We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, or basis of disability, or any other federal, state, or local protected class.
Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.
In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX Coordinator should you have questions or concerns. Please do not call this number to inquire about job postings or the status of your application, or with solicitations from companies or third-party recruiters.