Rocky Mountain Great Plains Program Director

Organization: Denver Zoo (AZA Member)
Location: Watrous, NM, Country
Job or Internship: Job

At Denver Zoo, our mission is to secure a better world for animals through human understanding. We are a respected leader in animal care and exhibition, conservation programs, scientific study, environmental education and public service.


This position advances the mission of Denver Zoo through strong program-director level leadership of our conservation efforts in our Rocky Mountain/Great Plains focal area. The position entails performing and overseeing research, conservation efforts, fundraising, stakeholder collaboration and education programs that further the zoo’s role in the preservation of biodiversity at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), as well as within the greater Rocky Mountains and Southern Great Plains regions. The position develops and implements an aggressive fundraising program and represents Denver Zoo’s regional conservation programs to stakeholders such as governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, Native American tribes, donors, Rio Mora and Denver Zoo staff and visitors, and local landowners in northern New Mexico, Colorado and throughout the greater focal region.

This position is based in our offices at the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge in Watrous, NM.

Essential Functions:

• conservation, research, restoration and education efforts within Denver Zoo’s Rocky Mountain/Great Plains (RMGP) focal area

• Oversee hiring, training, management, coaching, development, and performance reviews for all staff members based at Rio Mora; oversee zoo staff and Research Associates who conduct or participate in conservation efforts within the RMGP region

• Lead the Rio Mora staff in securing funding to support research, restoration, education and outreach by working closely with Denver Zoo’s Development team and Conservation Biology Department leadership to submit competitive grants, cultivate individual and corporate donors, and pursue other innovative fundraising avenues

• Ensure the integration of Rio Mora programs with Denver Zoo and USFWS policies, procedures, missions, and strategic plans

• Cooperate with a broad range of organizations, partners, stakeholders, donors and individuals and create a vision to address conservation and education problems in efficient and effective ways

• Conduct original conservation biology-focused research and restoration within the RMGP focal area; this work should be based in sound experimental design and results should be translated into practical conservation biology and management practices and disseminated to appropriate audiences

• Work with the Conservation Biology Department leadership to develop, track and manage annual Rio Mora and RMGP focal area budgets

• Coordinate researchers from various organizations in research and restoration at Rio Mora and ensure that their work is properly evaluated, scheduled, implemented, and reported

• Develop capacity in primary, secondary, college, and graduate students, landowners, tribal members, zoo staff, volunteers and international colleagues to plan and implement well-designed conservation, research, and restoration projects

• Lead the planning and implementation of several departmental strategic initiatives and help create a strategic vision for the future of Denver Zoo’s Conservation Biology Department, particularly within the RMGP focal area

• Promote the Conservation Biology Department and its work, as well as other conservation issues to the Board of Trustees, the CEO, COO and executive team, other zoo staff, other scientists, international partners and the general public, through reports, meetings, speeches, popular articles, web pages, photography and peer-reviewed volumes, chapters and journal articles

Additional Responsibilities:

• Assist with Rio Mora NWR land and facilities care, as needed

• Assist with Rio Mora NWR education and outreach efforts, as needed

• Travel to and from Denver, as needed

• Perform other duties as assigned


• PhD in a conservation-related discipline preferred; Master’s degree with substantial and successful experience in conservation research and implementation of conservation action will be considered

• At least 5 years experience conducting field research and/or addressing conservation issues in the Rocky Mountain/Great Plains ecoregions

• Strong leadership and strategic planning skills, and substantial experience supervising staff

• Ability to work in a wide variety of settings, communicate conservation goals effectively to different audiences, and represent Denver Zoo in a culturally-sensitive manner

• Ability to coordinate research and restoration projects with partners that will include universities, governmental organizations, Native American tribes, local ranch owners, and others

• Proven history of fundraising success and experience developing and managing project budgets

• Experience with formal evaluation of conservation impacts (for example: open standards for conservation, adaptive management or similar evaluation methods) preferred

• Experience and high level of comfort with Microsoft Office, Outlook, and SYSTAT or comparable software

• Ability to work irregular hours under physically demanding conditions

• Ability to travel frequently to Denver and other conservation sites in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain/Great Plains region

• Comfortable producing and giving presentations and working with various communication technologies

• Multilingual preferred, particularly knowledge of Spanish

• Experience using heavy equipment a plus

Position will be posted until April 15, 2014; however we will begin to review applications in January and may close the position prior to April 15 if a candidate is identified.

Please submit resume and cover letter at: