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Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Urban and Small Farms in Underserved Communities

The Xerces Society
Upper Midwest or Southeastern U.S. Detroit MI, Cleveland OH, or Atlanta GA preferred.
$49,000 - $58,000 per year, commensurate with qualifications.
Closing date
Jan 18, 2022

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Conservation science
Job Level
Entry level
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
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JOB TITLE:  Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Urban and Small Farms in Underserved Communities

LOCATION:  USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in a city with significant urban or small farm agriculture and underserved community needs in the Upper Midwest or Southeastern U.S.  Detroit MI, Cleveland OH, or Atlanta GA preferred, but other cities may be considered. 

Employee will be assigned to work from an NRCS office location but may be temporarily required to work from home during COVID restricted periods.

COMPENSATION:  $49,000 - $58,000 per year, commensurate with qualifications.

JOB START DATE:  March 2022

APPLICATION DEADLINE:  Applications reviewed on a rolling basis, closed on January 18, 2022  


All applications must be submitted via our application website at:

As part of the application process, please be prepared to answer two brief essay questions (1,000 characters or less) summarizing your experience with urban or other small farms, and your lived experience working with Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Indigenous, and/or other communities of color.

Xerces is happy to provide accommodations for the job application process if needed.  If you need an accommodation to complete the job application process, please email


Come join a growing team of conservation professionals at the Xerces Society who are dedicated to protecting some of the world’s most important animals. We are seeking a skilled and collaborative Pollinator Conservation Specialist who will provide habitat conservation technical support and training for urban and small farms in underserved communities, with a focus on the Upper Midwest or the Southeastern United States.

At Xerces, we harness the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of the public to implement conservation programs. We take action by helping farms and public agencies develop conservation plans for pollinators and beneficial insects, producing ground-breaking publications on insect conservation, training thousands of farmers, land managers and conservation agency staff to protect and manage habitat for beneficial insects, protecting endangered species and their habitat, and engaging the public to raise awareness about valuable invertebrates found on farms, forests, prairies, deserts, streams, wetlands, towns and cities. Our methods focus on habitat conservation planning, education, scientific analysis, community support, advocacy, and applied research to conserve invertebrates, such as bees, butterflies, mollusks, and fireflies.

Note:  In our effort to keep our employees, partners, clients and the public safe, Xerces Society follows a mandatory vaccination policy, requiring employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.


Working as a member of the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Program team and reporting to the Pollinator Program Co-Director/NRCS Partner Biologist, the Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Urban and Small Farms in Underserved Communities will work with historically underserved farmers and community food systems in urban landscapes and on small farms, focusing on conserving pollinators, beneficial insects and their habitat.  This position will be based in a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office, and work closely with the NRCS, the Xerces Society Pollinator Team, the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovation, local partners, and farmers.  

This position will provide on-the-ground pollinator and beneficial insect conservation and habitat planning support at a local or regional level; conduct remote and in-person training on pollinator and beneficial insect conservation techniques nationally; and assist urban and small farm producers in adopting reduced risk or organic pest management practices that are protective of farmers, neighboring communities, and pollinators.  This position also will assist NRCS state and national leadership in the refinement of conservation practices, practice specifications, and payment scenarios in support of the unique challenges of small and urban farms, and assist in the promotion of pollinator habitats as part of the People’s Garden Initiative.  Finally, this position will support adoption of innovative technologies, such as cover cropping, insectary planting, saving and sharing of habitat plants and seeds, and other on-farm practices.  


Working as a team with the Xerces Society Pollinator Program staff, NRCS field offices and local partners, the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovation, and NRCS state and national technical specialists, the Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Urban and Small Farms in Underserved Communities will:

  • Provide project specific technical support on pollinator and beneficial insect conservation techniques and planning to underserved farmers managing urban or small farms; to NRCS state and field office staff working in urban landscapes and with small farms; and to underserved agricultural and community organizations.
  • Coordinate and conduct regional or national workshops or webinars on pollinator and beneficial insect conservation to underserved urban and small farm communities, NRCS conservation staff, university students in agriculture classes and programs, and other partners across the U.S.
  • Assist in the development of site-specific pollinator or beneficial insect conservation plans for underserved agricultural producers working on urban and small farms in the region where the position is based.
  • Develop Xerces’ relationships and foster new partnerships with farmer organizations and networks that support underserved urban and small farm communities, connecting them to resources and activities across the organization.
  • Develop and implement a survey of historically underserved farmers and NRCS staff working on urban and small farms, to learn more about how pollinator and beneficial insect habitat conservation can best meet the needs of underserved producers and communities.
  • Collaborate with Xerces staff and partners to distribute pollinator habitat plant kits to historically underserved farmers, community farms, and gardens.  
  • Work with local communities to support the sharing of seed, cuttings, or other pollinator plant materials for local propagation of pollinator and beneficial habitat plants.
  • Oversee the development of a technical note on pollinator conservation for urban farming that addresses the unique needs of agriculture in urban landscapes.
  • Develop or assemble relevant pollinator and beneficial insect guidance documents for the NRCS and local partners, including plant lists, habitat installation guides, and reduced risk pest management guidance, focused on the unique needs and challenges of urban landscapes.
  • Identify and document pollinator habitat restoration strategies (i.e. site preparation, seed sources, soil quality, etc.) that are compatible with urban and organic farming practices or that address the unique challenges of urban farming.
  • Review conservation practice standards, payment scenarios, implementation requirements, practice specifications, or other guidance for USDA-administered conservation programs, ensuring they adequately address the needs of farmers working to support pollinator and beneficial insect conservation on urban or small farms.





  • An understanding of pollinator and pollination ecology, and the biology of other beneficial insects. Knowledge of invertebrates, natural ecosystems, ecological processes, and their conservation needs.
  • Knowledge of plants and habitat features that support pollinators and other beneficial insects.
  • Understanding of urban or small farming systems, and the challenges faced by historically underserved Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Indigenous, and other communities of color.
  • Ability to develop and lead collaborative conservation, agriculture or community partnerships.
  • Ability to synthesize, interpret and clearly communicate complex scientific information to influence conservation practice.
  • Ability to develop and give engaging presentations to audiences of more than twenty adults.
  • Excellent written communication skills in English, including the ability to write clear emails, project reports, and technical conservation documents for diverse audiences.
  • Ability to communicate professionally with a wide variety of people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Ability to manage complex or multiple projects.
  • Ability to manage time and multiple activities under deadlines, while delivering quality results.
  • Ability to work independently on assigned tasks.
  • Working knowledge of common software applications (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, web browsers).
  • Ability and willingness to work with diverse teams and constituents in a respectful, equitable, and inclusive fashion.
  • Ability to travel out-of-


  • Knowledge and experience in implementing USDA Farm Bill conservation programs.
  • Experience working in an USDA NRCS field office, implementing the NRCS conservation planning process and using NRCS conservation planning tools.
  • Experience in urban or small-scale farming or managing community gardens in underserved or under resourced communities.
  • Experience in community development or facilitating collaborations in agriculture or conservation.
  • Experience working with organic farming or permaculture.
  • Basic knowledge of Integrated Pest Management practices, Conservation Biological Control, and other strategies for reducing negative impacts of pest management on pollinators and other beneficial insects.
  • Ability to speak multiple languages (Spanish preferred).





  • Bachelor’s degree (Master’s degree preferred) in natural resource management, ecology, agronomy, conservation biology, entomology, wildlife biology, horticulture, or more than 5 years of experience in conservation planning, agriculture, wildlife conservation, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Valid driver’s license in the United States and a motor vehicle records check allowing employee to be insured under Xerces corporate liability insurance
  • Must have current authorization to work in the United States with any employer.  Visa sponsorship is not provided for this position.


Be able to perform the following with reasonable breaks and/or accommodations:

  • Able to move and transport supplies, materials, or equipment weighing up to 30 lbs.
  • Occasionally work in the field for 8-12 hours per day under adverse weather conditions.
  • Occasionally traverse across agricultural fields and roads, unpaved roads and walkways, and unimproved trails for periods up to 8 hours.
  • Occasionally drive vehicle or fly by commercial airline for periods of up to 8 hours
  • Able to work in stationary position for periods up to 8 hours.

STATUS:  Full-Time, salaried, exempt position, scheduled to work ~ 40 hours/week with some scheduling flexibility.

BENEFITS:  This position includes a generous benefits package: eleven paid holidays including two floating holidays that may be used for a personal or religious holiday observed by the employee or other occasion per policy, paid time off, paid health, dental, and disability insurance, option to participate in a pre-tax flexible spending account for medical and dependent care expenses, participation in a 401k retirement program upon eligibility and a flexible work environment.

TERMS:  The Xerces Society is an at-will employer. Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time. In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification form upon hire.

MORE INFORMATION:  For more information on the Xerces Society and our programs, please see our website:


All applications must be submitted via our application website at:


The Xerces Society is proud to be an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer including disability and veterans.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.


We request priority referral of protected veterans for all openings with our organization.  In order to be considered for employment, all applicants for employment with Xerces Society, apply through our Job Board. When referring or being referred as a candidate, including protected veterans, please refer them to this applicant site;

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