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Please submit completed application, cover letter, and resume here, or mail to:

Nancy Steckel

P.O. Box 700
Hockessin, DE 19707


Director of Conservation

Opportunity Type: Full-time


Ashland Nature Center, Hockessin, DE

Organization Description

Delaware Nature Society’s (DelNature) mission is to connect people with the natural world to improve our environment through education, conservation, and advocacy. We envision a healthy and sustainable environment.  Founded in 1964, DelNature, a state affiliate for the National Wildlife Federation, is renowned for our educational programming, conservation, and advocacy. We provide the tools for communities to take action and promote the health of the environment through land preservation, wildlife protection, and watershed stewardship.

We manage over 2,000 acres of land, including four nature preserves, and operates four educational sites: Ashland Nature Center, Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, DuPont Environmental Education Center, and Coverdale Farm Preserve. Our organizational priorities are comprised of three pillars of engagement focused on:  Working & Natural Lands, Healthy Waters, and Protecting Habitats and Wildlife.

DelNature aspires to be inclusive multicultural organization that celebrates the rich dimensions of diversity and is committed to understanding and addressing where we fall short. Diversity creates an awareness of and acknowledges respect for differences and translates into understanding and valuing of each other’s perspectives. We are committed to building a diverse team and strongly encourage all who are qualified to apply.

Job Description

The Director of Conservation is a strategic leadership position that ensures our land preservation, natural areas management and watershed stewardship programs align with our strategic initiatives in education and advocacy.

Within the Natural Resources Conservation Department, the Director of Conservation directs the development, implementation, and evaluation of DelNature’s natural resource conservation efforts including land and easement acquisition and monitoring. This requires establishing and maintaining effective relationships with elected and appointed officials, representing DelNature on local and regional Committees, sustaining collaborative partnerships with the National Wildlife Federation and peer organizations, and developing personal relationships with easement donors, neighbors and constituents to promote our mission.

The Director of Conservation also directs the development and implementation of an effective annual department budget and work plan to raise the visibility and impact in natural resource conservation. As a member of the Leadership Team, he/she will collaborate with other Directors in the development of the organization’s annual operating plan, as well as benchmarking progress on our strategic priorities: Healthy Waters, Working & Natural Lands, and Protecting Critical Habitats & Wildlife.


  • Leads natural resource conservation programs and supervises a team of 5 staff responsible for implementation. Manages department budgets, including grants, and ensures efficient integration and communication among natural resource conservation initiatives. Directs and facilitates conservation easement acquisition, monitoring and amendments. Coordinates with partner organizations and coalitions to support environmental initiatives, especially focused on Clean Water.
  • Directs all conservancy projects, maintains landowner contact initiatives, and develops policy statements with Executive Director, Leadership Team and Board Members. Develops long term strategy in collaboration with the Executive Director and Conservancy Committee Chairs.
  • Manages and supports the Land and Biodiversity Management staff, including oversight and approval for the land management budget, conservation projects and annual work plan.
  • Directs the planning and implementation of Watershed Stewardship Program activities: Certified Wildlife Habitat (including the Native Plant Sale), Stream Watch, and Technical Water Quality Monitoring. Develops strategy and plan to align Watershed Stewardship initiatives with DelNature’s strategic priorities and Conservation goals.
  • Manages initiatives in Bird Conservation with the staff Ornithologist.
  • Manages the Red Clay Valley Scenic Byway project: coordinates activities of the Steering Committee/Subcommittee, develops budget, and leads implementation of the corridor management plan in collaboration with DelDOT and New Castle County.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Strong background in natural resource conservation with experience in fieldwork, natural resource protection, environmental advocacy and land trust administration preferred
  • Bachelor’s degree (Masters preferred) in natural resource management, environmental sciences, or related fields, or relevant experience working in environmental non-profits
  • Minimum 7 years of experience in supervisory and management roles
  • Experience working with diverse audiences and communities is a plus
  • Demonstrated experience in grants solicitation and fulfillment, budgeting, and financial management required
  • Excellent written, verbal and communication skills required; a knowledge of environmental/water/conservation issues locally and regionally is a plus
  • Excellent interpersonal and leadership skills, and an aptitude for working in a highly changeable, dynamic, and fast-paced environment
  • Motivated, self-starter able to work independently, while guiding and leading others in their team to ensure conservation priorities are advanced
  • Flexibility to adjust hours as needed to meet deadlines, including availability to work evenings, and weekends as needed; occasional statewide and regional travel required

Salary and Benefits

Competitive salary commensurate with experience and benefits.

Applicants Must Submit