Chicago Urban Biodiversity Program Manager

Chicago, Illinois
Starting salary for this job type ranges from low $60,000s to low $70,000s
Mar 14, 2019
Mar 27, 2019
Job Level
Mid level
Employment Type
Salary Type

The Urban Biodiversity Program Manager directs the efforts of the Chicago Urban Conservation Program to promote increased biodiversity in Chicago and Cook County for the benefit of natural system function and human community well-being.  Represents the Conservancy in developing partnerships with land management agencies, other conservation organizations, and the academic community. Oversees the Conservancy’s Indian Boundary Prairies as our urban biodiversity flagship site. The position is based in Chicago, with significant time at the Indian Boundary Prairies Office and sites in Markham, Illinois.

The Urban Conservation Program builds on the Conservancy’s science-based, collaborative, results-oriented approach and its record of contributing creative and effective solutions to conservation challenges. We work to improve the quality of life for residents in Chicago and Cook County by augmenting natural areas and deploying natural infrastructure to reduce storm water runoff and other urban environmental challenges, increasing access to nature for all residents, and improving urban biodiversity.  All our work is done collaboratively with other agencies and organizations across Chicago and Cook County.  Our programs are designed with the goals of achieving environmental equity and reducing climate change impacts. 


The Urban Biodiversity Program Manager expands the Conservancy’s legacy as a leader in urban biodiversity conservation, helping to demonstrate the relevance and value of biodiversity in the urban ecosystem for natural infrastructure and human health and well-being. Throughout Chicago and Cook County, they will develop the Conservancy’s capacity to support restoration of high value urban natural areas on public land, while expanding connections to our programs for natural infrastructure and connecting people and nature.  This will include participation and support in restoration, research, monitoring, engagement with local communities, and development of innovative partnerships. They oversee the Conservancy’s Indian Boundary Prairies (IBP) project and restoration staff, ensuring successful ecological management and expanding its role in all areas of urban conservation research and practice. 


  • Expand the Conservancy’s role in meeting public land managing agencies’ goals to restore, manage and/or create urban natural areas in Chicago and Cook County (particularly the Forest Preserves of Cook County and Chicago Park District) in priority locations.
  • Collaborate as part of an urban conservation team to develop projects that integrate goals to expand natural infrastructure and environmental services, build support for conservation with diverse communities, and improve overall biodiversity.
  • Assist in the development of Chicago Wilderness to achieve biodiversity goals and to include human community benefits.
  • Oversee the Conservancy’s long-term urban biodiversity project, the Indian Boundary Prairies (IBP), to ensure exemplary restoration and management (including maintenance of Chicago Wilderness Platinum EERP certification), while building ecological and community connections to the surrounding urban community.
  • Engage the research community in urban biodiversity topics critical to Chicago and Cook County, especially on the benefits of nature to human health and well-being. This includes promotion of IBP as a research site for urban conservation topics, such as pollinator ecology, stormwater management, rare species management, and others.
  • Supervises IBP restoration staff.
  • Establishes and maintains optimal performance standards within budget.
  • Pursues and responds to relevant requests for proposal (RFPs) for grant funding for program and works with Development staff to secure donor support.
  • Local travel, some evening and weekend hours. May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances.