Position: Conservation Planner/Ecologist
Organization: Nova Scotia Nature Trust
Location: downtown Dartmouth, Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia (less than 1km from Alderney Ferry)
The Nature Trust is a land conservation charity dedicated to protecting Nova Scotia’s natural legacy, through private land conservation. Our mission is positive and action-oriented—protecting and stewarding Nova Scotia’s most ecologically significant natural areas, and educating and engaging Nova Scotians in nature conservation. We have a proven 25 year track record in conservation achievement, with over 11,000 acres of outstanding natural areas, encompassing more than 90 conservation sites throughout the province that are protected, forever.
About the Position
The Conservation Planner/Ecologist is a new, specialized position for our conservation team. The successful applicant will provide leadership, expertise and guidance in all conservation planning and conservation science aspects of our operations.
The successful candidate is an experienced ecologist and conservation science professional. You are keen to apply your expertise to advance targeted, strategic, on-the-ground biodiversity conservation, and robust land stewardship. You are inspired to make a tangible and lasting impact on biodiversity conservation in Nova Scotia and have the experience and leadership qualities needed to succeed.
You have exceptional ecological inventory/field identification skills and excellent research skills. You also have a solid understanding of strategic conservation planning, biodiversity priorities, strategies, initiatives, issues and opportunities in Nova Scotia and beyond, and are confident with analyzing/interpreting GIS/conservation modelling and other data to identify, plan and advance high impact conservation action.
You are well-respected in the conservation/scientific community and are a professional, trusted partner to landowners, volunteers, communities and our scientific and government colleagues. You excel at engaging in collaborative approaches to advance conservation planning and action across the province. Under your leadership, the Nature Trust will strengthen its position as a trusted and valued leader in conservation in Nova Scotia, driven by robust conservation science and sound science-based decision-making.
You have excellent project management skills, and are self-reliant with a strong work ethic and dedication. You are highly organized, motivated and results-driven, with exceptional verbal and written communication skills.
Finally, you are a keen naturalist, passionate about nature and nature conservation, and inspired by and committed to advancing strategic land conservation in Nova Scotia.
The Conservation Planner/Ecologist serves as the lead scientist for the Nature Trust, ensuring that sound conservation science informs and guides all aspects of the Nature Trust’s conservation vision, priorities and activities.
Leadership and Guidance
- Provide conservation science/ecological expertise, leadership, and guidance, and ensure robust science-based decision-making across all programs and operations, such as
- Conservation planning and priorities
- Selection of focus areas for targeted private landowner outreach/land conservation projects
- Prioritization of specific properties for protection
- Selection and drafting of appropriate conservation agreements/land protection strategies to meet biodiversity goals
- Stewardship/management plans for conservation sites
- Property/habitat monitoring, adaptive management, restoration
- Recreation, land use and visitor planning and management
- Keep abreast of emerging conservation planning/conservation science issues, opportunities and best practices (e.g. climate change implications, ecosystem resilience etc.) and recommend corresponding strategies/solutions
Conservation Planning and Prioritizing
- Lead all strategic conservation planning for the Nature Trust—oversee development of conservation focus areas, biodiversity targets, conservation priorities, conservation program/special initiatives
- Provide practical leadership and program guidance in technical/GIS based spatial analysis, modelling and mapping; oversee conservation prioritization research/modelling for specific habitats/species (e.g. identifying where to focus private land conservation efforts to best advance seabird and shorebird conservation, or to best create natural corridors/connectivity within existing conservation land assemblages)
- Contribute to collaborative conservation planning and prioritization with our conservation partners in Nova Scotia (e.g. joint efforts for Species At Risk stewardship in southwest Nova Scotia with Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute, Kejimkujik National Park and Indigenous partners)
Ecological Assessment and Field Work
- Manage program of field work to verify ecological significance of potential focus areas/lands (as identified through conservation modelling/planning)
- Carry out ecological assessments/analysis (field and desktop/GIS-based) for potential new Nature Trust conservation lands; contribute to the decision making/prioritization for specific properties proposed for securement
- For new conservation properties, support stewardship staff in completing comprehensive baseline documentation studies/reports including detailed ecological survey, analysis and recommendations for management/monitoring/restoration
- Coordinate other related fieldwork by staff, volunteers and ecological consultants/contractors
- In collaboration with the Land Stewardship Manager, plan and oversee ecological monitoring, adaptive management and other biodiversity-focused stewardship, management and restoration activities (such as managing invasive species, habitat restoration, monitoring endangered species, measuring success of adaptive conservation measures)
Partnerships and Communications
- Foster and maintain collaborations among scientists, land managers, landowners, Nature Trust volunteers, conservationists, Indigenous Peoples and other professionals and organizations that advance biodiversity conservation in Nova Scotia, and specifically on Nature Trust properties
- Represent the Nature Trust at conferences, in public meetings, on Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife In Canada (COSEWIC) recovery teams, scientific advisory boards and other science-based collaborative conservation efforts
- Build awareness, understanding and support for conservation; Foster citizen science and volunteerism; Help communicate science and conservation issues to the general public, decision-makers, scientists/conservation partners, funders, media, Nova Scotia Nature Trust Board and staff
- Lead an effective science advisory committee for the Nature Trust and build a strong network of additional experts and partners to provide guidance, support and expertise on an ongoing basis
- Encourage and oversee ecological research/partnerships on Nature Trust properties (with universities, colleges, other environmental organizations, Indigenous groups and all levels of government) to advance both conservation/ecological understanding within Nova Scotia and to guide and enhance understanding and management of Nature Trust conservation lands specifically
- Develop and oversee systems for managing all ecological data/records/documents, and ensuring that information informs conservation planning/securement and stewardship
- Manage seasonal/project staff, volunteers and consultants, providing mentorship, support and leadership
- Identify and help to secure resources to catalyze and elevate conservation efforts, particularly applied conservation science
- Ensure the scientific accuracy of Nature Trust interpretive and educational programs, communications, projects and proposals
- Support other aspects of the Nature Trust’s work including program administration/budgeting, communications, public relations and fundraising, including grant proposals.
- Passion for nature/commitment to the mandate of the Nature Trust
- Dedicated to land conservation
- Well-respected in the conservation science/protected areas community
- Strategic thinker who prioritizes well
- Professional, diplomatic and tactful
- Supportive team player
- Strong work ethic/dedication
- Self-reliant, independent
- Curious, eager to learn/improve
- Outgoing, confident and friendly
- Problem solver
- University degree in conservation biology, ecology or other relevant field of study (e.g. natural sciences, conservation, environmental science, resource management, protected areas planning/management) or equivalent experience
- A minimum of five years relevant professional experience (ecology, biodiversity, land conservation, protected areas planning etc.)
Key Competencies, Skills and Experience
- Exceptional field ecology skills— landscape and ecological interpretation skills, flora and fauna identification, habitat classification skills (particularly rare and outstanding ecological/natural features)
- Strong field skills (comfortable navigating remote wilderness independently, travelling on foot, by canoe/kayak, motorboat, using GPS, map and compass); able to interpret aerial photography, topographic, satellite and other field/ecological maps and imagery
- Strong knowledge of Nova Scotia ecological and natural history; prioritizing natural landscapes, habitats, communities, species, and other natural features
- Knowledge of Nova Scotia’s biodiversity conservation priorities at a landscape, habitat and species level
- Understanding of how to apply ecological data to conservation planning, prioritization, decision-making and conservation action
- Knowledge of protected areas and biodiversity conservation programs and initiatives (national/ provincial/regional), relevant legislation, policies, programs, issues, trends and oppportunities relevant to the Nature Trust’s conservation planning, science and stewardship
- Knowledge of best practices in landscape scale conservation, biodiversity conservation, protected areas planning, management and stewardship
- Knowledge of threats, liabilities and risks to biodiversity and ecological integrity of our conservation lands and appropriate prevention, management and mitigation options
- Knowledge of relevant provincial and federal legislation and regulations
- Excellent project management, organizational, planning, and administration skills with strong attention to detail, accuracy and the ability to meet deadlines
- Competence in systems management, information management for large, complex data sets/records
- Strong IT skills and comfort with technology (databases, spreadsheets, GIS, GPS, cameras, drones); able to prepare and produce maps and organize field GPS and other spatial data
- Excellent research skills
- Well-developed, demonstrable communication skills, including:
- Strong report and proposal writing skills
- Ability to effectively and efficiently compile, interpret and clearly present information from a variety of sources, to different audiences (from scientists to the general public, technical field reports to inspiring educational materials)
- Competence in public speaking and education with diverse audiences from local community groups to scientific experts/partners
- Strong interpersonal and effective team management skills
- Proven track record in envisioning, creating and maintaining fruitful, mutually beneficial partnerships and relationships with diverse stakeholders (e.g. landowners, local communities, conservation partners, research partners etc.)
Additional Desired Skills/Experience
- At least 10 years relevant professional experience
- Post-graduate or professional training in relevant field
- Strong cartographic/spatial analysis abilities using GIS, including experience using ESRI ArcGIS 10.x software, remote sensing, modelling and statistical analysis software, developing GIS-based conservation models (and/or high aptitude and interest to learn)
- Knowledge/professional experience in the following:
- Land trusts, private land conservation and stewardship, conservation easements/easement stewardship and enforcement
- Land trust stewardship standards and practises, issues, trends and opportunities
- Baseline studies, site assessments and field inventory
- Best practices in landscape scale conservation, biodiversity conservation, protected areas planning, management and stewardship
- Protected areas and biodiversity conservation programs and initiatives (national/ provincial), as well as relevant legislation, policies, programs, issues, trends and oppportunities
- Land management/stewardship planning, strategies and tactics
- Conservation science and technology (e.g. remote sensing, modelling)
- Potential threats, liabilities and risks with conservation lands and appropriate prevention, monitoring, mitigation and restoration strategies
- Active land management and stewardship (such as erosion control, bridge-building, trail-building, habitat restoration)
- Planning and leading environmental education activities and events; nature interpretation
- Volunteer program management/working with volunteers
- Conservation education, communications and public engagement
- Experience working in the non-profit/non-government sector
- Wilderness first aid training and any other field-related certification/training (boat operator, chainsaw operator, trail building, recreational leadership etc.)
The position is full time and will entail travel throughout the province. It will also involve both evening and weekend work, including multi-day travel, especially during the ‘field season’ (spring, summer, early fall). It will require working alone in varying terrain including remote and rugged wilderness areas, travelling by power boat, canoe/kayak, or hiking /bushwhacking in all weather conditions. You must have a valid driver’s license.
Compensation and Benefits
Full-time, permanent position, based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Competitive salary, commensurate with experience. Additional incentives include benefits, professional development opportunities and flex-time.
Most important, you’ll be working for a cause that truly matters and where your work makes a tangible, lasting impact. Every day, you will be rewarded by the connections you build with some of the most incredible wild places in Nova Scotia, and with the very special people (landowners, volunteers, staff, supporters and partners) who are committed to advancing our conservation mission.
Please send a current resume, names of 3 references (please indicate if you would prefer we not contact references until after an interview). Please include a cover letter clearly articulating your relevant knowledge and experience, why you are interested in the position, what you bring to the position/our organization, why you think the work of the Nature Trust is important and what inspires you.
If you have any questions, please contact employment nsnt.ca* or phone (902) 425-5263.
As soon as possible.The search committee will begin to consider potential candidates immediately and will continue until the position is filled.
Please send your resume and cover letter to:
Mail: Nova Scotia Nature Trust
P.O. Box 284, Station Main
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 3Y3
In Person: 81 Prince Albert Road, Dartmouth
Electronically: employment nsnt.ca* (please send resume, cover letter and references as one document)
Due to the anticipated volume of applications, we will only be contacting shortlisted candidates.
We do greatly appreciate your interest in the work of the Nature Trust!
Please consider exploring our volunteer opportunities which you may find of interest.
About the Nova Scotia Nature Trust
The Nature Trust is a non-profit land conservation charity dedicated to protecting Nova Scotia’s most important natural areas, through private land conservation. We work with private landowners to permanently, legally protect natural areas through conservation agreements, donations, purchase and bequests of land. We then “steward” these lands to ensure their protection in perpetuity, and provide education and engagement opportunities, giving Nova Scotians the knowledge and tools they need to take an active role in protecting the places they love. With almost 25 years of experience, we have a proven track record in protecting Nova Scotia’s natural legacy, with over 11,000 acres of outstanding conservation lands protected across more than 95 conservation sites throughout the province. Be a part of the legacy.
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