Coordinator of SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction

Silver Spring, Maryland
Oct 17, 2017
Dec 16, 2017
Job Level
Mid level
Employment Type
Full time, Permanent
Salary Type

General Statement of Position:

Under general supervision: coordinates, supports, and works to advance members’ strategic and collaborative conservation of species through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)’s conservation program, SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction. This position is responsible for coordinating the completion of species-specific three-year conservation action plans, transitioning program management to members, and assisting and advising members in conservation planning. The position focuses primarily on project management at the onset and will become increasingly focused on conservation planning over 2-3 years.

The Coordinator of SAFE will work in partnership with other AZA staff, AZA’s Field Conservation Committee, and AZA members to harness the AZA community’s collective expertise and leverage audiences to save species, build conservation capacity within the AZA community, increase field conservation spending, and raise awareness of AZA members as conservation organizations. Reports to the Vice President of Conservation and Science.

Essential Position Functions:

  • Provide project management support for AZA members to implement and evaluate three-year conservation action plans for five species and closely related taxa.
  • Help members identify and select a program leader for future three-year conservation plans.
  • Provide limited project management support to members developing collaborative, strategic program plans for additional species and closely related taxa.
  • Work with AZA’s Field Conservation Committee to monitor conservation progress for each SAFE Species program.
  • Review and provide feedback on proposals for SAFE Species and program plans.
  • Work with AZA Conservation staff to maintain databases of engagement and program accountability.
  • Collaborate with partners to identify and customize conservation planning approaches for AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.
  • Assist with developing and delivering training related to conservation and conservation planning.
  • Work closely with other AZA Conservation and Science staff to determine how AZA member engagement in conservation changes over time, as measured in AZA’s Conservation and Research database.
  • Collaborate with the AZA Coordinator of Animal Programs and AZA’s Animal Programs to engage all stakeholders including the corresponding AZA Taxon Advisory Groups and Species Survival Plan® Programs, AZA Scientific Advisory Groups and Committees in order to align conservation and sustainability efforts, eliminate redundancy, and identify fundraising needs and opportunities.
  • Work with AZA members to maximize communication and collaboration in SAFE Species programs.
  • Liaise with other AZA staff and board-level committees to maximize communication and incorporate multi-disciplinary expertise in conservation activity.
  • Facilitate relationships among internal and external partners and stakeholders to build partnerships that enable member conservation efforts.
  • Receive reports and create conservation content for AZA SAFE awareness strategies, including developing articles for AZA member communications.
  • Assist with preparation of midyear and annual Board reports.
  • Participate in national and international meetings and workshops to represent AZA.
  • Provide other forms of support for AZA’s animal conservation efforts as required.

Knowledge, Skills and Other Characteristics:

  • Strong commitment to and knowledge of and experience in conservation, conservation planning, and program evaluation. Experience and knowledge of conservation-related research and animal management desired.
  • Commitment to the role of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums in conservation.
  • Demonstrated interest and/or experience in specialties that support conservation objectives, e.g. public policy, conservation education, public engagement, animal health and welfare.
  • Skill in analyzing and interpreting scientific findings and in applying multi-disciplinary information to conservation program development.
  • Demonstrated writing experience that clearly articulates science-based conservation and education programs.
  • Experience collaborating with conservation- and science-based professionals, with a motivational style that is collegial and team-oriented.  
  • Strong communication skills, poise, and confidence. Ability to represent AZA, its programs, and members professionally and to serve as a voice to external audiences.  
  • Skill in project management, as well as in organizing and facilitating meetings.
  • A commitment to customer service, sound judgment, and the determination to work towards a common purpose.

Minimum Training and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences, Conservation Biology, or similar (Master’s degree preferred).
  • Project Management degree/training/experience a plus.
  • Experience related to conservation planning and/or project management in conservation fields.
  • Experience managing numerous multi-faceted projects simultaneously.
  • Computer literacy required; experience with Microsoft Word, Access, Outlook and Excel programs preferred. Experience with Miradi or other conservation planning software desirable.

To apply, please email a cover letter and resume to

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