Director of Conservation

Job Locations
US-MN-Roseville | US-IA | US-MN | US-MO
Regular, Full-Time
Job Category
Program/Project Management
Additional Location : State/Province


Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action.  By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive.  And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level.  What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of approximately 450 local chapters, 120 campus chapters, 17 state and regional offices, 34 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country. 


The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.


The National Audubon Society endeavors to make accessible to any and all users.  If you would like to contact us regarding the accessibility of our website or need assistance completing the application process, please contact This contact information is for accommodation requests only and cannot be used to inquire about the status of applications.


Position Summary

The Director of Conservation will lead the development of landscape scale conservation goals aligned with Audubon’s five priority conservation strategies in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri for the benefit of birds and the places they need to thrive. Their portfolio includes leading the science inspired conservation objectives of Audubon’s Upper Mississippi River initiative, which spans Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin. They will work closely with Audubon Great Lakes, the Audubon Center at Riverlands, the National Audubon Conservation Team and leadership in the Upper Mississippi Flyway.  The Director of Conservation will collaborate with natural resource agencies (federal, state, county, and municipal), private conservation organizations, tribes and Audubon chapters in order to create long lasting conservation programs that deliver results for bird populations while improving climate resiliency. The Director of Conservation will work closely with national, flyway, and state fundraising, science, engagement, and policy teams to build sustainable income streams, conservation science strategies, and policy and engagement strategies to further Audubon’s conservation goals in the region. Additionally, the Director of Conservation will be a key player in AM/UMR’s Mississippi River Initiative which aims to improve water quality, hydrological management, and community health that also supports the birds of the Mississippi Flyway.  


Reporting to the Vice President and Executive Director for Audubon Minnesota and 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 results. They will develop funding proposals to foundations, corporations, agencies, and people. This role 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.

Essential Functions

  • In collaboration with the Executive Director, develop and implement conservation strategies for the benefit of birds in the region, which includes leadership of the Upper Mississippi River conservation initiative.
  • Design and direct the conservation and science 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 increasing 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 conservation programs.
  • Design, implement, and direct measures of results 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 habitat restoration and overseeing 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 and Upper Mississippi River. Integrate these efforts into Mississippi Flyway and Gulf of Mexico conservation plans and goals.

Qualifications and Experience

  • S. in ornithology, avian ecology, forestry, natural resources management, hydrology, wetland ecology or a related field – an M.S. in one of these fields is preferred. Experience will be considered in lieu of education.
  • 10+ years of experience in natural resources management, biology, or related environmental or conservation work and at least 3 years of management experience, specifically leading professional teams.
  • Must be wellversed in conservation, biology, and avian ecology.
  • Deep understanding of conservation issues in the Upper Mississippi River region.
  • Significant knowledge of conservation initiatives on the Mississippi River or other similar large river-based landscapes.
  • Experience in river conservation and riparian ecology and restoration.
  • Demonstrated record in project ownership including managing grants (writing proposals, coordinating with funders, completing reports, administering contracts), writing articles, and stewarding other relevant projects.
  • Fundraising experience, specifically from public agencies and in conservation preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience working with public agencies (federal and state).
  • Must be selfmotivated and able to work in a flexible, nonstructured environment.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills and the ability to synthesize and communicate technical and complex information to both technical and nontechnical audiences.
  • Excellent leadership and collaborative ethics, as demonstrated in previous work.
  • Excellent 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 travel and be comfortable with working evenings and weekends as job demands.
  • Valid driver's license desired.
  • 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 move field equipment, with or without accommodation.


Sorry the Share function is not working properly at this moment. Please refresh the page and try again later.
Share on your newsfeed