The Community Science Institute (CSI) (communityscience.org), founded in 2000, is preparing to transition to a team leadership structure upon the retirement of our founding Executive Director. Leadership will be shared between a Laboratory Co-Director position with primary responsibility for CSI’s nationally certified water quality testing lab, which is the bedrock of our mission; and a new Managing Co-Director position with primary responsibilities as follow: relationships with local, state and federal government agencies and sister nonprofits; public dissemination of CSI’s findings and their implications for water resource management; and fundraising and financial management. The Managing and Laboratory Co-Directors will share personnel responsibilities and decisions.
CSI’s Mission: The mission of CSI is to foster stewardship of water resources by supporting scientifically rigorous water quality monitoring in partnership with community-based volunteer groups. A unique combination of outreach and education with hands-on data collection results in regulatory-quality data sets that inform water resources management and protection.
How CSI Pursues its Mission: We partner with over three dozen volunteer groups, coordinating the collection of stream samples throughout the year as well as their transport to our nationally certified testing lab in Ithaca, New York (NYSDOH-ELAP ID# 11790). Here they are analyzed for nutrients, salt, suspended solids, pathogenic bacteria, and more. We disseminate our regulatory-quality results online via our free public database (www.database.communityscience.org).
We also conduct biological monitoring of streams based on the collection and analysis of benthic macroinvertebrates (BMI) following protocols modeled on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). CSI staff partner with community volunteers of all BMI skill levels, and results are posted online at http://www.communityscience.org/bmi-results/.
Finally, each summer we train and coordinate over 90 “HABs Harrier” volunteers to patrol the Cayuga Lake shoreline for harmful algal blooms (HABs) in a NYSDEC-approved monitoring program. Suspicious blooms reported by volunteers are posted on our website immediately, samples are collected and transported to our lab for microscopic examination, and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) taxa are posted within a day. The concentrations of total chlorophyll a and microcystin toxin are determined and posted within five to seven days of sample collection. Our Cayuga Lake HABs reporting page (http://www.communityscience.org/volunteer/harmful-algal-bloom-monitoring/cayuga-lake-habs-reporting-page/) received over 40,000 views in 2020.
CSI’s Reach: While our primary focus is Cayuga Lake and its tributary streams, we also partner with volunteer groups in the Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake, Canandaigua Lake and Upper Chesapeake Bay watersheds. In addition to producing data through our volunteer partnerships, we publish an annual fall newsletter highlighting results from our monitoring programs; organize “Water and Community” public forums using our monitoring results to address topics of regional concern; draw on our long-term data sets to contribute to articles in peer-reviewed journals; and collaborate with Tompkins County 4-H to offer water-themed educational activities for youth and their families each summer.
CSI Funding and Operations: Our volunteer stream and lake monitoring partnerships are supported by municipal and county governments, nonprofit lake associations, foundation grants and individual donations. The CSI lab also serves as a major provider of fee-based, certified drinking water testing services for the Tompkins County Health Department, Cornell University, businesses, and private homeowners throughout the region. This provides a valuable service to our community while earning fees that help support our nonprofit mission. CSI has five full-time and two part-time staff, as well as a web developer who works remotely. Governance is by an eight-person Board of Directors that meets monthly. The Managing Co-Director reports to the Board and serves ex officio.
Responsibilities of the Managing Co-Director position include the following:
- Overall leadership of CSI’s monitoring partnerships and programs;
- Ongoing assessment and dissemination of monitoring data and identification of water quality trends that emerge from long-term data sets;
- Ongoing relationships with local governments, including negotiation of annual contracts for financial support;
- Relationships with volunteer groups, with material support from CSI’s Outreach Coordinator;
- Personnel management, with process and decision-making shared with the Laboratory Co-Director and with input from the CSI Board’s Personnel Committee;
- Lead fundraiser, with input and support from CSI board and staff;
- Day-to-day financial management such as payroll, invoices, and accounts receivable, with support from CSI staff and a local bookkeeping service;
- Overall leadership of the CSI team, fostering collaboration, teamwork, communication and creativity across all facets of CSI;
- Ability to provide temporary assistance in the CSI lab in the unlikely event of emergency staff shortages.
- Masters or Ph.D. degree in an environmentally relevant science discipline.
- Strong communication skills.
- Knowledge of watershed science and water quality measurements, including laboratory experience.
- Minimum of two years’ experience managing, coordinating, or conducting environmental monitoring programs, preferably community-based programs.
- Minimum of one year administrative experience
- Demonstrated ability to lead in a small team environment.
- Demonstrated ability to develop and implement effective organization-wide strategies.
- Demonstrated fundraising ability.
Note: Equivalent combinations of education and experience will also be considered. The successful candidate may expect to receive several months of on-the-job training.
- Grant writing experience
- Facility with GIS
- Strong knowledge of statistics
- Experience working in a nonprofit setting
- Passion and interest in CSI’s mission.
- Familiarity with Finger Lakes region.
Compensation: $45,000 – $52,000 per year to start, depending on qualifications and experience. Forty hours per week, 9-5, Monday-Friday. Some flexibility with schedule. Eight major federal holidays plus 12 free/sick/vacation days. Health insurance and pension plan available.
Application: Submit resume and cover letter by email or hard copy to: Dr. Stephen Penningroth, Executive Director and Senior Scientist, Community Science Institute, 283 Langmuir Lab/Box 1044, 95 Brown Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, [email protected]. The cover letter should state why the Community Science Institute interests you, and how this position connects with your background and career goals.
Hiring process: Interviews will be scheduled after October 18, 2021, the deadline for receiving applications. Initial interviews may be conducted in person or remotely. Finalists will be invited to in-person interviews with CSI Staff and Board. Target start date is January 1, 2022 (flexible).