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Hiring: Senior Biologist / Conservation Planner
Organization: Nova Scotia Nature Trust
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia / Hybrid

The Nova Scotia Nature Trust has an exceptional career opportunity for a seasoned field biologist/conservation planner with a passion for nature.

In this pivotal lead scientist role, you are responsible for shaping our conservation priorities and actions, and providing expert guidance across all facets of conservation operations. You are part of our vibrant conservation team, working together to identify, secure and steward priority conservation lands across the province. It is a diverse role, with responsibilities ranging from ecological field assessments and GIS-based conservation planning and prioritization to serving as expert member of conservation collaborations. As a senior leader in a small, nimble non-profit, you have space to propose and implement innovative ideas and to make a tangible and lasting impact for nature conservation.

A Day in the Life

This is an exciting role for someone who enjoys a balance of independent exploration in the field as well as time in the office. You might spend the day exploring a remote seabird island to help decide if it will be the Nature Trust’s next conservation win. Another day you’ll strategize with government, land trust and Mi’kmaw partners on building landscape connectivity for Nova Scotia’s protected areas, create maps and ecological content for a land conservation proposal, and develop policies to guide managing climate change impacts in the stewardship of our lands. It is a diverse role, with plenty of opportunity for learning, leadership, independence and collaboration. Working in our small, nimble non-profit, you will have space to propose and implement innovative ideas and to make a tangible and lasting impact for nature conservation.

The successful candidate is truly an expert in Nova Scotia’s wild spaces and species and their conservation, with impressive field identification and habitat classification skills. You are respected in your field and well versed in land conservation and planning. While you’re a born naturalist, you’re also tech-savvy and confident with GIS. You are a personable team-player, but hard-working and self-motivated too. You are curious, passionate, and ambitious, and most of all, truly inspired by the Nature Trust’s land conservation mission.


Conservation Science Leadership

  • Provide expertise and guidance for the organization, ensuring decision-making, planning and operations are guided by rigorous conservation science
  • Represent the organization (providing leadership) in strategic land conservation and planning partnerships and collaborations, and scientific/technical committees
  • Nurture strong ties and mutually beneficial research partnerships with the academic/educational/ research communities and oversee research and restoration work on our lands
  • Recommend and implement science-based policies, best practices and systems
  • Build organizational expertise around emerging issues and opportunities
  • Oversee research and Nature Trust response to relevant external policies and initiatives

Land Securement, Conservation and Stewardship

  • Support the land securement team in evaluating the ecological values of candidate conservation properties and in moving through the land securement process (including field-based site assessments, research, reports, recommendations and active participation in decision-making)
  • Provide expertise to support the long-term stewardship of Nature Trust protected areas

Conservation Planning

  • Lead conservation planning and prioritization work (including GIS-based landscape level modelling, data analysis, and prioritization for specific species, habitats or focal areas)
  • Create and maintain the Nature Trust’s strategic Conservation Plan
  • Seek, review, and incorporate local and traditional knowledge into conservation planning

Project Management, Technical and Other Support

  • Manage all GIS files/data, data sharing and collaboration
  • Provide high quality mapping as required by staff and conservation partners
  • Oversee scientific advisors, field contractors, consultants as needed
  • Develop and implement special projects and initiatives to fill information gaps or to solve challenges
  • Support fundraising, communications, public relations and public engagement efforts as an expert/scientist

Qualifications and Education Requirements:

  • University degree (preferably Masters Level) in relevant field of study (biology, conservation, ecology, biodiversity, environmental science, natural science, environmental science, resource management, protected areas planning/management) or equivalent. Preferably post graduate or professional training.
  • A minimum of 6 years, preferably 10+ years of relevant professional or volunteer experience

Job specific knowledge and abilities:

  • Exceptional, Nova Scotia-specific ecological assessment skills and knowledge — landscape ecology, field flora and fauna identification, ecological classification
  • Strong field and backcountry navigation skills (map-reading, GPS use, air photo interpretation)
  • Extensive knowledge of land conservation priorities at landscape, habitat and species scale
  • Skilled in applying ecological and spatial data and conservation biology to conservation planning, prioritization, decision-making
  • Knowledge of protected areas and biodiversity conservation initiatives (national/provincial/ regional), relevant legislation, policies, programs, issues, trends, and opportunities
  • Knowledge of threats, risks to biodiversity and ecological integrity of our conservation lands and appropriate prevention, management, and mitigation options
  • Strong IT skills and comfort with technology (e.g., databases, spreadsheets, field tablets, GPS)
  • High level of competence in using GIS (ArcGIS or equivalent); able to analyze and organize spatial data; produce professional quality maps
  • Expertise in GIS modelling and analysis (preferably in conservation planning context) or strong GIS skills and aptitude/desire to develop advanced skills
  • Excellent research, report and proposal writing skills
  • Strong interpersonal and social skills
  • Paddling (canoe/kayak) experience/skills or strong aptitude/willing to learn

Other Preferred Skills and Experience

  • Project management experience
  • Experience in the non-profit sector and/or private land conservation
  • Proven track record building positive relationships/working collaboratively with diverse conservation partners and stakeholders
  • Training/expertise in science communications; competence in public speaking and education with diverse audiences
  • Training in the identification and management of invasive species and/or habitat restoration
  • Experience working with Indigenous partners, integrating Indigenous knowledge and perspectives
  • Registered Professional Biologist designation


Please include a current resume and a cover letter clearly articulating your relevant knowledge and experience, and why you are interested in the position. We want to learn about you!

Send your application materials to (please send resume and cover letter as one document). Please indicate you saw this posting at GoodWork.

Recruitment for this position will continue until the role is filled, and we hope that will be as soon as possible. Due to the anticipated volume of applications, we will only be contacting shortlisted candidates. We greatly appreciate your interest in the work of the Nature Trust!


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Current status: Open/apply now.   Date posted: Oct 23 2023    ID: 69219