Global Center for Species Survival Conservation Coordinator- Freshwater Species and Ecosystems

Indianapolis Zoo

Indianapolis, IN, US

The Indianapolis Zoo and the Species Survival Commission (part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature) have partnered to create the Global Center for Species Survival (GCSS), which will be operated from within the Indianapolis Zoo. The GCSS will house a multicultural team of full-time staff employed by the Zoo who will be dedicated to support the missions of the Indianapolis Zoo and the SSC.  Work will be primarily performed at the Indianapolis Zoo GCSS office, but travel may be required.

The GCSS Staff Team will provide critical training, capacity and coordination support to further mobilize the species conservation efforts of IUCN SSC Network of experts alongside wider partner and key stakeholder communities.

GCSS positions are open and available to all candidates worldwide. International candidates must be able to acquire a work visa. Fluency in English a requirement of all positions.  Fluency in other languages is desired.

Applications are being accepted until August 1, 2020.

Reports to: Director of the Global Center for Species Survival implementing priorities identified by the IUCN SSC Freshwater Species and Ecosystem conservation committees.

Located: Indianapolis Zoo, Indiana, USA. Indianapolis is the state capital of Indiana. Indy (as it’s otherwise known) is blessed with plenty of green space, glistening waterways and remarkable memorials, making for a charmingly picturesque city. The Zoo is just one of several world-class cultural organizations in the city, including the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Newfields, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. It’s also host to the world-renowned Indy 500 motor race. Indiana is home to dozens of beautiful state parks, a growing international airport, and is a just short distance from Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Detroit, Columbus and Nashville, making it one of the most accessible cities in the U.S.

Background: The Indianapolis Zoological Society (IZS) is one of the largest privately funded zoos in the United States of America. The mission of IZS to empower people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation. IZS works to achieve this mission through visitation by over one million guests each year, annual support to many field conservation projects, and the world-renowned Indianapolis Prize.  IZS has a monumental goal for its community, state, country and the world – to transform the Indiana community into the most conservation-literate community in the world, with Indianapolis being considered the epicentre for species conservation worldwide.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has a mission to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable; The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) is one of IUCN’s six volunteer Commissions with a global membership of around 9,000 volunteer experts from almost every country of the world. SSC advises IUCN and its members on the wide range of technical and scientific aspects of species conservation and is dedicated to securing a future for biodiversity. The SSC works with its Specialist Groups, IUCN’s Global Species Programme and partner organizations to Assess, Plan and Act for species conservation. Additionally, the SSC focuses on supporting its global network of experts and advancing communication efforts relating to the work and wider issues across species conservation. This includes assessing the extinction risk faced by species for inclusion on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, convening diverse stakeholders to develop integrated planning for conservation interventions and mobilizing necessary action around the world to protect and restore species and their habitats.

IZS and the SSC have partnered to create the Global Center for Species Survival (GCSS). The GCSS aims to unite the strengths of IZS in public education, communication, fundraising and conservation messaging with the strengths of the SSC in driving effective conservation assessments, planning, policy and action for species survival worldwide. The GCSS is a physical location within the Indianapolis Zoo, and the GCSS Staff Team will provide critical training, capacity and coordination support to further mobilize the species conservation efforts of IUCN SSC Network of experts alongside wider partner and key stakeholder communities. The GCSS will house a multicultural team of full-time staff employed by IZS and based at the Indianapolis Zoo dedicated to support the mission of SSC.

Role Summary: The Conservation Coordinator: Freshwater Species and Ecosystems is an employee of the Indianapolis Zoological Society assigned to support all of the programs of the SSC’s Freshwater Species and Ecosystem Specialist Groups. These Groups are focused on assessing, planning and mobilizing policy and action for freshwater species and ecosystem conservation around the world.

As part of the GCSS, this role will work closely with the Indianapolis Zoo team, the SSC Chair’s Office, the Freshwater Species and Ecosystem Conservation Committees and Specialist Group Chairs, and wider partners. As guided by the Freshwater Species and Ecosystem Conservation Committee chairs, s/he will support the identification of priorities, challenges and opportunities across the management of conservation data and assessments, the process of conservation planning, the development of action projects, and to support SSC network coordination and facilitate interactions between various partner communities, individuals and groups. Responsibilities include collecting, assembling and analyzing various types of data, assisting in the production of reports and workshop preparation, supporting partnership development and delivery, participating in strategic fundraising, supporting external communications and supporting behavior change efforts. Work will be primarily performed at the Indianapolis Zoo Global Center for Species Survival, but travel may be required.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

In close coordination with the SSC Chair’s Office, the wider SSC Network Coordinator team, the SSC Freshwater Species and Ecosystem Committees and Specialist Group Chairs:

Supporting Coordination of SSC Freshwater Species and Ecosystem Specialist Groups

  1. Maintain and continue to build high quality relationships with each of the SSC Freshwater Species and Ecosystem Specialist Groups to assist with the delivery of their key objectives and identification of priority opportunities for freshwater species and ecosystem conservation.
  2. With guidance from Chairs of the Freshwater Species and Ecosystem Conservation Committees, encourage and motivate the SSC Freshwater Species and Ecosystem Specialist Groups to advance global species conservation efforts around the SSC Species Conservation Cycle (Assess-Plan-Act), with a specific focus on the “Plan” and “Act”.
  3. Gather and integrate knowledge and expertise into creating strategic proposals for approval, launching projects/initiatives, developing calls for action on specific species issues, coordinating behavior change campaigns (in collaboration with the Behavior Change Coordinator), and assisting in species-specific IUCN Resolutions and Recommendations.
  4. Contribute to and review formal, programmatic and communication documents as required, including periodic outcome and planning reporting to the SSC for the annual SSC Data process.
  5. Ensure good communication and fosters collaboration and coordination between SSC Freshwater Species and Ecosystem Specialist Groups, the GCSS and wider Indianapolis Zoo, the SSC Chair’s Office, the IUCN Global Species Program and key partners to ensure a cohesive and collegial approach in relation to all species related work.
  6. Bolster collaboration across the SSC network and the constituent parts of IUCN, governments, non-profit conservation organizations, accredited zoo and aquarium communities and the wider conservation community to maximize the relevance and conservation impact of activities and joint projects for freshwater species and ecosystem conservation.
  7. Provide programmatic support to the Chairs of the Conservation Committee with regard to organizing meetings of the Conservation Committees and supporting regular engagement between Chairs of the Conservation Committees and SG Chairs.
  8. Attend, and where possible help coordinate, Specialist Group meetings.
  9. Engage with conservation campaigns targeted at species requiring urgent conservation attention, mobilizing relevant experts, appropriate communication and behavior change efforts and, support collaborations with other NGOs and governments to deliver action to prevent imminent extinctions.
  10. Act, as appropriate, as a conduit between the SSC disciplinary Specialist Groups and the SSC Freshwater Species and Ecosystem Specialist Groups. In particular, support the SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group by building active links with SSC Specialist Groups requiring conservation planning support.
  11. Encourage and assist the SSC Network to be more action-orientated through promoting the implementation and delivery of action plans, and through supporting the development of partnerships or fundraising efforts to support this implementation.

Strategically expanding, growing and diversifying the SSC network for freshwater species and ecosystems:

  1. Work with the SSC Freshwater Species and Ecosystem Conservation Committee to identify gaps in expertise by taxa and/or region and guide proponents through the formal process for establishing new groups, review drafts, coordinate wider review and final sign-off with the Steering Committee.
  2. Identify issues within SSC Specialist Groups (or complaints directly received) that require mediation or resolution. Refer such issues to the SSC Chair’s Office.
  3. Build relationships with existing training programs, e.g., CLP, EDGE Fellows, Durrell Academy, to encourage emerging talent to integrate into the SSC network.
  4. Actively support the SSC Freshwater Species and Ecosystem Conservation Committee and SSC Specialist Group Chairs to improve diversity across SSC network in gender, nationality, ethnicity, age, disciplinary background, profession and other attributes that might enhance those groups’ effectiveness.

Communication and Education

In partnership with the IZS Conservation Education Department, the IZS Communications Department and the SSC and GSP Communication Officer(s):

  1. Coordinate, implement and evaluate how the GCSS can engage with the public on issues relating to freshwater species and ecosystem conservation, including locally through the zoo and globally through the development of resources, including social media communications, blogs and podcasts, graphics, and other emerging communication techniques.
  2. Assist in active and regular content development and acquirement by the GCSS including video, images, audio and other media types. Assist in the organization and management of these assets.

Internal Integration

  1. Ensure relevant strategic priorities and opportunities relating to freshwater species and ecosystem conservation are communicated and appropriately integrated into the Indianapolis Zoo’s conservation strategy through consultation with the Zoo’s conservation committee and relating to selection of awardees of annual conservation grants, and, as needed, involvement with the Indianapolis Prize.

Safety and Security

  • Will be required to respond and assist in Zoo-wide emergencies and drills such as extreme weather, animal escape or other emergencies. Understands and supports the ‘zoos safety protocols, including Zoo Lock Protocol Procedures, confined space, PPE, etc. as needed.
  • Has the authority and responsibility to act immediately on issues of safety or security as it relates to our collections, our staff, our facility and our guests.


  • Works positively with the IZS’s volunteers, assisting and supporting their involvement in appropriate work assignments whenever appropriate.
  • Performs additional duties and/or assumes other responsibilities as delegated by the Director of the GCSS.
  • Travels as needed.
  • May participate in the IZS donor events, tours and promotions.

Physical Demands:

The IZS follows all local, state and federal employment laws. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else and guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities.

The following physical demands are potential physical demands common for this position:

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to, stand, sit, talk, hear, and use hands and fingers to operate a computer and telephone keyboard reach, stoop or kneel to reach computer equipment.
  • Will be working indoors and occasionally outdoors in all kinds of weather. Temperature extremes from -20 to 35°C, with typical outdoor temperatures from 10-25°C.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision requirements due to computer work.
  • Hearing – must be adequate to perform job duties, communicate over the telephone, and two-way radio.
  • Vision – must be able to observe an area that can be seen up and down, or to right or left while eyes are fixed on a given point.
    • NEAR ACUITY – Clarity of vision (with or without glasses/contact lenses) at 20 inches or less.
    • FAR ACUITY – Clarity of vision (with or without glasses/contact lenses) at 20 feet or more.
  • Ability to stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, stand, walk, push, pull and lift on a regular basis.
  • Ability to walk/and or stand for extended periods of time.
  • Light to moderate lifting of up to 50 lbs. (25 kg) may be required.
  • Ability to endure the stress of traveling.

Desirable Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Minimum Bachelor level degree in biology, ecology, zoology, water ecology, natural resources management or related field.
  • Broad knowledge of international biodiversity and conservation issues relating to freshwater species and ecosystems.
  • Demonstrated experience and a good understanding of the practical aspects of biodiversity conservation actions, endangered species protections and policy especially relating freshwater species and ecosystems.
  • Well-developed organizational skills included demonstrated experience managing multiple priorities, and ability to work independently to complete tasks within assigned time frames.
  • Working knowledge of the IUCN SSC, and with leaders and stakeholders in freshwater species and ecosystem conservation.
  • Minimum of 5 years related work experience.
  • Strong skills in project management, planning and project implementation.
  • Experience with international projects and supporting new initiatives.
  • Ability to effectively manage teams to deliver results.
  • International stakeholder management experience, multi-lingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience desirable.
  • Experience in fundraising and / or demonstrated success in proposal writing.
  •  Excellent people relationship management skills, ability to work as part of a team, with respect for and sensitivity to multi-cultural approaches.
  • Advanced and competent user of standard word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and database software and electronic communication technology (e.g. e-mail, Skype, WhatsApp, conference calls, etc.). Working knowledge of social media and mobile apps.
  • Ability to plan, administer and record results of work-team meetings and activities.
  • Experience with administration including attention to detail and numerical ability.

Personal Specification

  • Self-motivated with an attention to detail.
  • Ability to multi-task, handle high pressure situations, and meet tight deadlines.
  • Demonstrated effective interpersonal and organizational skills.
  • Demonstrable experience in scientific and public engagement, including good presentation skills.
  • A commitment to the worldwide role of accredited zoos, aquariums and botanic gardens.
  • Excellent written and oral communication, diplomacy and interpersonal skills.
  • Fluency in English a requirement.  Fluency in other languages desired.
  • Ability to work well in a global team to problem solve, self-manage and find solutions.
  • An eagerness to expand personal knowledge-base and adapt to new challenges.
  • ‘Ability to travel and to work flexible hours, including long hours around Zoo fundraising events and attend after-hours committee meetings or events.
  • Complies with all Zoo policies and procedures.
  • Problem solving and judgment: Recognizes problems as they occur and contributes to their resolution. Makes good decisions resulting from sound judgment as related to level of experience. Makes concentrated effort to familiarize and learn to handle various difficult situations which arise during her/his assigned duties.
  • A professional and positive attitude is expected at all times while interacting with peers, co- workers and the public.

This position is open and available to all candidates worldwide. International candidates must be able to acquire a work visa.


The Indianapolis Zoo offers a competitive total compensation package that includes medical, dental, vision, life, and short term disability; 403b plan; paid holidays, and paid time off.

Successfully completing pre-employment requirements of a drug test, driving record check, and a limited criminal history check is a condition of employment.


Interested candidates must complete an on-line application by clicking on the “Apply Now” link below.


In the “Position Desired” section of the on-line application, please enter “GCSS Coordinator – Freshwater Species and Ecosystem”.

If you are applying for more than one Coordinator position, a separate application must be completed for each position.

Cover letters and resumes are required, and may be attached to your on-line application.

Please indicate your salary requirements.

Faxed, mailed, and delivered resumes will not be considered.  PLEASE, NO PHONE CALLS.

Applications must be received no later than August 1, 2020.

The Indianapolis Zoo is a Child Safe / EOE/ Drug Free/ Smoke Free Work Environment.

Apply Now