Director of Conservation, Audubon Minnesota and Upper Mississippi River
Audubon Minnesota (AMN) is the local arm of the National Audubon Society. AMN manages Audubon’s conservation and network priorities the states of Minnesota and Iowa. This geography includes 145 Important Bird Areas covering 14.2 million acres and over 30,000 Audubon members, many of whom belong to one of Audubon’s 22 local chapters.
The Director of Conservation will lead the development of landscape level conservation objectives for the implementation of Audubon’s five priority conservation strategies in Iowa and Minnesota for the benefit of birds and the places they need to thrive. Their portfolio includes leading the science driven conservation objectives of Audubon’s Upper Mississippi River conservation initiative, which spans Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin. S/he will work closely with Audubon Great Lakes, the Audubon Center at Riverlands, and leadership in the Upper Mississippi Flyway. S/he will collaborate with natural resource agencies (federal, state, county, and municipal), private conservation organizations, and Audubon chapters for successful implementation of their work across the landscape. The Director of Conservation will work closely with national, flyway, and state fundraising, science, engagement, and policy teams to build sustainable income streams, engagement efforts, conservation science strategies, and policy objectives to further Audubon’s conservation objectives in the region.
Reporting to the Executive Director & Vice President of Audubon Minnesota & the Upper Mississippi River, the Director of Conservation will manage the conservation and science staff throughout the region, including tracking conservation activity and defining measures of success. S/he will develop funding proposals to foundations, corporations, agencies, and individuals. S/he will also be responsible for identifying funding opportunities and managing the funding relationships with natural resource agencies at multiple levels of governance along with some funder and donor relationships as assigned.
- In collaboration with the Executive Director, develop and implement conservation strategies for the benefit of birds in the region, which includes leadership of conservation strategy for the Upper Mississippi River watershed.
- Design and direct the conservation programs in the region to be fully aligned with National Audubon’s strategic plan, maximizing Audubon’s impact by integrating work across the full suite of Audubon’s national and regional science, conservation, network, policy, and development teams.
- Further Audubon’s reputation through building partnerships and coalitions with a network of land and wildlife management agencies, NGOs, and community scientists.
- Oversee the incorporation of community science engagement in Audubon’s conservation work and the analysis of these data and those collected by Audubon staff to inform adaptive management strategies and understand outcomes of conservation action.
- Manage staff and engage volunteers, as needed, to implement Audubon’s bird conservation programs.
- Design, implement, and direct measures of success focused on birds and habitat across priority landscapes.
- Provide technical expertise related to birds and habitat in the region to internal and external audiences and partners.
- Research and secure public and private funding opportunities to support conservation programs.
- Support the Vice President with development activities including solicitation of gifts and prospect development. Specific activities may include, but are not limited to, leading bird walks and giving presentations to existing and prospective donors.
- Develop and oversee priority bird conservation projects, in coordination with state and regional science staff and partners, in order to achieve the goals of Audubon’s hemispheric bird conservation programs.
- Coordinate with regional science, policy, education, and communications staff not under direct supervision to guide planning, monitoring, and conservation implementation in the areas overseen by Audubon Minnesota. Integrate these efforts into Mississippi Flyway and Gulf of Mexico conservation plans and goals.
Qualifications and Experience
- M.S. in Ornithology, Avian Ecology, Forestry, Natural Resources Management, or a related field.
- 8+ years of experience in natural resources management, biology, or related environmental or conservation work and at least 4 years of management experience, specifically leading professional teams.
- Must be well‐versed in conservation, biology, and identification of regional birds.
- Strong understanding of the value and previous experience supporting community science, especially in the realm of adaptive management.
- Deep understanding of conservation issues in Minnesota, Iowa and Upper Mississippi River region.
- Proven record in project management including managing grants (writing proposals, coordinating with relevant funders, completing reports, and administering contracts), writing articles, and stewarding other relevant projects.
- Proven fundraising experience, specifically from public agencies and in conservation preferred.
- Demonstrated experience working with public agencies (federal and state).
- Must be self‐motivated and willing to work in a flexible, non‐structured environment.
- Excellent oral and written communications skills and the ability to synthesize and communicate technical and complex information to both technical and non‐technical audiences.
- Strong leadership and collaborative ethics, as demonstrated in previous work.
- Strong interpersonal and social skills with a positive attitude and good sense of humor.
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office, working knowledge of GIS technology preferred.
- Candidate must be willing to conduct in‐state travel, occasional out‐of‐state travel and be comfortable with working evenings and weekends as job demands.
- Valid driver's license required.
- Willingness to travel in cars, planes, boats and other vehicles.
- Ability to work outdoors, in all weather conditions and on varying terrain, with or without accommodation.
- Ability to carry field equipment, with or without accommodation.