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Position: Conservation Science and Stewardship Director
Organization: Ontario Nature
Location: downtown Toronto, Ontario

Ontario Nature is a charitable conservation organization that protects wild species and wild spaces across Ontario through conservation, education and public engagement. We represent over 150 member groups and more than 30,000 individual members and supporters throughout the province.

Ontario Nature is seeking a motivated and strategic conservation professional for the position of Conservation Science and Stewardship Director. The Conservation Science and Stewardship Director is responsible for leading and managing Ontario Nature’s Nature Reserves and Conservation Science program areas. The objectives of this position are: a) the effective conservation of priority lands, focusing on science-based private land securement and stewardship within a broader landscape of protected areas and conservation lands; b) maximizing opportunities to connect people to nature in a sustainable way through Ontario Nature’s Nature Reserves system; and c) expanding knowledge of distribution and populations of key species and developing best practices for species and habitat conservation through citizen science and other research projects.

The Conservation Science and Stewardship Director provides leadership in developing and implementing well-funded conservation programs with strong grassroots connections by cultivating strong partnerships with Ontario Nature’s Nature Network of local and regional groups, government agencies, First Nations and Indigenous communities, local landowners, funders and other conservation organizations. The Conservation Science and Stewardship Director will manage and administer projects and activities; identify and develop new opportunities to advance program goals; take a lead role in fundraising for the program; lead all aspects of land securement and stewardship; and develop and manage annual program objectives, work plans and budgets.

Duties and responsibilities:

1. Land Securement and Management

  • Oversee the development of landscape scale conservation plans that identify target properties for securement in the context of ecological connectivity between public and private conservation lands;
  • Lead all aspects of land securement projects;
  • Oversee all aspects of surveying and mapping current and new nature reserve and easement properties, and their subsequent monitoring; and
  • Oversee management planning and plan implementation for all nature reserve properties.

2. Conservation Research and Monitoring

  • Oversee the development and successful implementation of province-wide citizen science projects and other projects designed to inform protocols and best practices for management and monitoring of conservation lands and species of conservation concern.

3. Community and Partner Liaison

  • Develop and maintain collaborative working relationships and partnerships with landowners, First Nations and Indigenous communities, government conservation science and land management leads, and other organizations and academics working in the fields of private land protection, landscape-scale conservation planning and species and habitat research and monitoring; and
  • Work closely with Nature Network member groups to ensure effective stewardship of Ontario Nature’s nature reserves and engage them in citizen science and other conservation research initiatives.

4. Program Fundraising

  • Lead development of fundraising proposals for Nature Reserve acquisition and management, and for conservation science projects;
  • Ensure effective and timely reporting to funders and donors;
  • Work with development staff to identify, cultivate and pursue funding opportunities; and
  • Play a lead role in donor relations related to Nature Reserves and Conservation Science projects working with the Development team.

5. Program Planning, Management and Financial Administration

  • Spearhead multi-year program and project planning and evaluation;
  • Develop and oversee the Nature Reserves and Conservation Science budgets;
  • Oversee the hiring, supervision and performance management of all staff and contractors for the nature reserves and conservation science programs;
  • Provide timely internal reports on progress towards achieving key results;
  • Ensure that all records and information on all land securement and Nature Reserve projects are up to date and accurate; and
  • Ensure compliance with the Canadian Land Trust Standards and Practices is tracked and documented, and work towards accreditation once a land trust accreditation program is launched.

6. Program Communications

  • Lead the development and implementation of communications plans for the Nature Reserves and Citizen Science programs;
  • Act as primary spokesperson on the nature reserves and conservation science programs, and on conservation science-related matters.

7. Other

  • Provide scientific advice and guidance to inform Ontario Nature’s positions on a range of environmental and conservation policy issues; and
  • Other duties as assigned


  • Masters degree in conservation biology, ecology, resource management or a related field.
  • Minimum 5-10 years of directly relevant work experience.
  • Flexibility, reliability, self-motivation and ability to work independently and as a leader.
  • Strong communications skills (written, verbal and listening) and ease with communicating with a wide range of audiences from the private and public sectors including making public presentations.
  • Strong negotiation skills and experience with real estate transactions are preferred;
  • Working knowledge of land trusts and private land conservation;
  • Experience with conservation land management and land securement;
  • Demonstrated skills in project planning and management with strong financial management skills;
  • Demonstrated experience in project fundraising, especially proposal writing and donor stewardship;
  • Proven ability to supervise and motivate staff and volunteers;
  • Ability to work respectfully with Indigenous communities and newcomers to Canada;
  • Strong knowledge of Ontario’s flora and fauna;
  • Strong planning and analytical skills;
  • Superior problem-solving skills and sound judgment;
  • Proficiency with all applications of the Microsoft Office suite of programs including PowerPoint, Excel, Access and Word. A working knowledge of Arc GIS is an asset;
  • Current first aid and CPR certification are assets;
  • Valid class G driver’s licence; and
  • Must be prepared to travel, work flexible hours frequently and undertake occasional physically demanding tasks.

Working Conditions
The position is based at 214 King Street West, Suite 612, Toronto. It requires occasional evening and weekend work and occasional travel. Consideration regarding primary work location will be given for exceptional candidates not located in the Greater Toronto Area.

Salary is commensurate with experience.

Direct Reports

  • Conservation Projects Manager, Nature Reserves Coordinator, GIS Analyst and Conservation Technician. The position may also oversee the work of interns.

To apply

  • Include your resume, cover letter and three references in one document (Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF), addressing your qualifications and experience
  • Include “Conservation Science and Stewardship Director” in the subject line
  • Submit your application by email to the attention of Anna Dipple,
  • Deadline for applications: November 20, 2019

Although Ontario Nature appreciates the efforts of all those who apply for this position, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. No unsolicited emails or phone calls please.

Ontario Nature is committed to employment equity, diversity and accessibility. Requests for disability-related accommodation can be made at any stage of the recruitment process, and applicants should make their requirements known when contacted.

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Current status: Open/apply now.   Date posted: Nov 5 2019    ID: 55052