Director of Conservation Science

Portland, OR, US

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to make a positive impact for people and nature around the world in 69 countries, all 50 United States, major US cities and in your neighborhood. Founded in 1951, the mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we are committed to a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Visit to learn more.

The Nature Conservancy offers competitive compensation, 401k or savings-plan matching for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities and promote from within. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires conservation achievement and personal development, both within the workplace and beyond.


The Director of Conservation Science plays a critical leadership role in using an evidence-based, scientific approach to inspire and guide the conservation and policy strategies of the Oregon Chapter of The Nature Conservancy to ensure positive outcomes for nature and people. To accomplish this, s/he deploys strategic planning skills, uses existing and innovative solutions, establishes collaborative multi-disciplinary partnerships, supervises staff members, and works through matrixed teams to transform how science and conservation is done in Oregon and beyond.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS The Director of Conservation Science serves as the Oregon Chapter’s lead on science. S/he leads and manages a team of direct reports and coordinates with other scientists in the Chapter and across the Conservancy to set a vision and integrate an evidence-based, scientific approach into the Conservancy’s land, water, oceans and climate applied conservation and policy work. The Director applies existing and cutting-edge solutions to major conservation problems and is responsible for leading collaborative enterprises that delivers results and creates a body of scientific work that transforms how conservation is done for nature and people in Oregon and beyond. S/he conducts scientific investigations as well as empowers the team to do science by providing coordination, oversight and fundraising (as needed). S/he will drive a culture of accountability, ensuring that all science staff are actively and positively contributing to achieving results aligned with chapter priorities.S/he also deploys strategic thinking and planning skills, cultivates partnerships to increase the visibility and impact of our conservation work, and builds support for local, regional, and global conservation efforts.


  • Serves as the thought leader, science convener, and expert to ensure science and planning best practices are applied throughout the Chapter’s conservation work across land, water, oceans and climate.
  • Leads scientific investigations, empowers others to conduct science to support conservation outcomes of Oregon’s strategic plan and catalyzes science that will improve conservation actions and generate new strategies.
  • Supervises the science team and collaborates via matrixed teams of Conservancy staff and other Conservancy chapters to support measurable conservation outcomes, provide evidence to inform conservation priorities, and conducts science to develop new or adapt conservation practices in support of the Chapter’s strategic efforts.
  • S/he is responsible for creating and implementing strategic plans and inform the Chapter’s priorities.
  • Fosters effective and innovative partnerships with federal and state agencies, scientific and academic institutions, conservation groups, citizen scientists, and other public and private organizations engaged in conservation science to develop and implement key projects.
  • Ensures Oregon science is coordinated with global, North America, and other applicable TNC programs to ensure maximum consistency, value and leverage occurs, and contributes to the Chapter through participation on the Conservation Strategy Team and the Leadership Council.
  • Provides scientific expertise to inform the application of Conservation by Design 2.0 across projects including natural, economic, social, and science considerations.
  • Evaluates and synthesizes science and develops tools to facilitate the application of science to decision-making.
  • Provides project consultations and training for internal and external colleagues on conservation science principles.
  • Synthesizes scientific work implemented by the Chapter to determine impact, effectiveness and efficiency of efforts.
  • Drafts grants and secures public funding to implement science projects and assists Oregon’s philanthropy team with implementation of strategies to secure private funds.
  • Deploys excellent project management skills to complete high quality products on-time, within budget, and in compliance with internal and external requirements.
  • Travel domestically with evening and weekend hours. May work in variable weather conditions and remote locations.


  • Master’s Degree in science related field and 4 years of experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience managing complex projects including project management skills, financial management, and coordinating the work of peers and partners.
  • Experience creating partnerships with conservation colleagues, agencies, and/or academic institutions.
  • Supervisory experience.
  • Experience working and communicating with a wide range of people.
  • Experience manipulating, analyzing and interpreting statistical or environmental data.
  • Record of peer reviewed publications in scientific journals, original science papers, and/or synthesis papers.
  • Experience fundraising and/or writing grants and research proposals.


  • Ability to engage in a wide range of conservation issues, analyze complex problems, rapidly build personal/team expertise on new issues, and develop strategic responses or solutions.
  • Ph.D. in ecology, biology, natural resources, or social science.
  • Proven ability to leverage applied scientific concepts and technical innovations for broader impact.
  • Experience with social sciences, particularly as it relates to the interrelationship between natural resource conservation and community health (social, economic and/or political).
  • Demonstrated ability to work across teams and collaboratively with a wide range of individuals that do not have a direct reporting relationship, including staff, partner organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, and other stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Multi-language skills appreciated.
  • General understanding of environmental policy, government processes, environmental laws and regulations as they relate to habitat and species protection, natural resource use, and/or energy and infrastructure is a plus.
  • Actively listens to others. Fosters open exchange of ideas.
  • Experience and/or publication history in one or more of the following areas: climate change adaptation, nature-based solutions, ecosystem services, conservation planning, or spatial analysis.
  • Strong written, visual, and verbal communication skills and experience translating complex technical and scientific issues to a broad range of audiences and across platforms (e.g. in-person presentations to social media).
  • Experience in fundraising including writing proposals and interacting with public and private donors.
  • Frequently make independent strategic decisions based on analysis, ambiguous information, and judgment.


This position requires a valid driver’s license and compliance with the Conservancy’s Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered “high risk drivers.” Please see further details in the Auto Safety Program document available at

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee’s motor vehicle record.


To apply to position number 44916, submit resume (required) and cover letter separately using the upload buttons. All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 8:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on January 20, 2017.

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The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of men and women of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

The successful applicant must meet the requirements of *The Nature Conservancy’s background screening process.*

Job Title: Director of Conservation Science

Location: Oregon

Job ID: 44916

Regular/Temporary: Regular

Full/Part Time: Full-Time