The National Audubon Society is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. We work throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state, regional, national, and international programs, nature centers, and chapters have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. As a sentinel species, we recognize that the fate of birds is inextricably tied to the fate of us all.
Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary comprises 13,000 acres of bald cypress swamp, freshwater marshes and pine flatwoods in Southwest Florida. While more than 100,000 visitors walk the site’s 2.25-mile boardwalk each year, much of the acreage is closed to the public and managed for conservation purposes.
The Director of Conservation will be responsible for overseeing land management, habitat restoration, and applied research at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, including influencing restoration in the larger watershed to benefit the Sanctuary and regional natural resources and wildlife. The Sanctuary is a hub for wetland science, conservation and resource management for Audubon Florida and a critical area of conservation focus. The Director of Conservation will be responsible for a variety of collaborative activities that work to protect and restore freshwater wetlands for birds and other wildlife.
Reporting to the Corkscrew's Senior Sanctuary Director, the Director of Conservation must be an effective project leader aligned with the conservation objectives of the Sanctuary, Audubon Florida, and the National Audubon Society.
Working closely with the Senior Sanctuary Director, inform and implement a vision for the conservation of Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, employing strategies that include on-the-ground projects, policy advocacy, and engagement.
1. Oversee the implementation of a Land Management Plan that reflects contemporary needs, opportunities and challenges for Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
• Regularly review and update land management plan to ensure the use of best available science.
• Lead land management staff in the maintenance and/or restoration of native plant and wildlife communities, including prescribed fire and management of invasive non-native and native species.
• Oversee compliance with Audubon’s management agreement for the Panther Island Mitigation Bank.
• Coordinate and communicate land management activities with other Sanctuary staff.
• Maintain a high standard of health and safety operating practices throughout all land management activities.
2. Build and maintain land management and research partnerships with neighboring property owners and regional conservation partners to benefit Corkscrew’s watershed.
3. Collaborate with program staff and strategic partners to protect and restore freshwater wetland and upland habitat values onsite.
4. Guide the Sanctuary’s Research Program to explore the threats facing the local ecosystem and evaluate and refine restoration and management best practices. Specifically:
• Develop and execute a sustainable restoration plan for Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
• Lead research and policy staff to identify threats and opportunities in the larger watershed, enlisting buy-in from key partners and supporters.
• Design, implement, and assess metrics focused on birds and habitat for the Sanctuary restoration program, and use new techniques and ideas in restoration science to inform Corkscrew practices.
• Collaborate with policy staff to leverage the Sanctuary’s marsh and prairie restoration program to inform regional and statewide best practices.
5. Share best practices and subject matter expertise with policy staff and partners to help promote consideration for wetlands and wildlife in regional land use planning and development in the Western Everglades.
6. Inform Audubon policy and education efforts with best available science and relevant field experience to cultivate volunteers and advocates on the Sanctuary’s behalf.
7. Manage project budgets, reporting requirements, and third-party contracts, following Audubon’s internal grant tracking, contracting, and reporting procedures.
8. Work with the Sanctuary Director, Development staff, and key program staff to increase the Sanctuary’s revenue for land stewardship, restoration, and research by helping cultivate donors and obtaining grants and foundation funding.
9. Closely collaborate with the Senior Director and communications staff to inform materials promoting the Sanctuary’s watershed restoration vision for traditional and social media.
10. Serve as a public representative of Audubon and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary team which may include presentations, public speaking, meeting participation and/or other interactions with agencies, NGOs, Audubon chapters, and landowners to both gather and disseminate information.
11. Promote an organizational culture and structure that fosters cooperation, respectful communication, inclusive leadership, and effective teamwork grounded in collaboration and valuing differing perspectives in decision-making.
• Bachelor’s degree in Conservation Biology or closely related field, Master’s degree preferred. An equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered.
• 10 years of experience in natural resources management, biology, or related environmental or conservation work required and at least 2 years managing staff. An equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered.
• Skillful in the application of ArcGIS.
• Experience in conservation planning and/or policy and applying best available science to achieve conservation outcomes.
• Must be experienced with the principles and application of habitat management and wetland restoration techniques and watershed functions and how those concepts directly and indirectly affect local and regional birds and other wildlife.
• Experience bossing or crewing prescribed fires, eradicating invasive vegetation, operating equipment including ATVs, swamp buggies and/or airboats, or supervising others in the same.
• Experience with permitting and environmental compliance, especially regarding partner agreements preferred.
• Appreciation for and experience with the use of volunteers in land management and community science (formerly citizen science).
• Familiarity with Florida conservation and policy issues preferred. Demonstrated understanding of and passion for conservation issues in Florida is a must.
• A commitment to collaboration and leading by example. Must possess strong interpersonal skills, successful staff management experience, and a positive attitude.
• Experience managing budgets and grants, as well experience or interest in fundraising activities.
• Demonstrated leadership skills, including the ability to collaborate with partners, and manage teams and projects ethically and in a timely manner.
• Experience working with multigenerational audiences and diverse cultural communities and a commitment to increasing equity, diversity and inclusion as a core component of our work.
• A demonstrated commitment to strong health and safety practices in the workplace.
• Must be self-motivated and willing to work in a flexible, non-structured environment.
• Strong oral and written communications skills, including public speaking and presentations, and the ability to synthesize and communicate technical and complex information to both technical and non-technical audiences.
• Demonstrated proficiency with Microsoft Office, as well as ArcGIS.
• Ability and willingness to travel locally and/or across the state (as needed) and be comfortable with working evenings and weekends, as job demands.
• Ability to work outdoors, in all weather conditions and on varying terrain, with or without accommodation; must be able to carry field equipment at times, with or without accommodation.
• Must have a valid Driver’s License.
• Demonstrated interest in conservation and the mission of the National Audubon Society is a must.
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 identity, 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.
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