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John Ball Zoo

Conservation Manager


Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the Conservation Manager will manage all conservation activities of the Zoo in alignment with the Zoo’s Conservation Strategic Plan. This will include, but not be limited to, investigating new projects, overseeing the conservation department budget, nurturing relationships with internal and external stakeholders, reporting internally and externally on all conservation activities of the zoo, and conducting conservation field work.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following, other duties may be assigned

  • Evaluates new project proposals to ensure alignment with the conservation strategy of the organization using data-driven, outcomes-based evaluation of our strategic goals and objectives
  • Coordinates with other Zoo departments to align resources for conservation programs.
  • Maintains all records related to the conservation activities and programs
  • Seeks out and nurtures collaborative relationships with community partners to advance the conservation programs
  • Oversees conservation regional initiatives and strategies through participation in recovery teams, steering committees, and working groups
  • Manages the conservation department budget
  • Directly oversees and manages the work of interns
  • Collaborates with the community engagement team to create the annual conservation report
  • Assists Development department to solicit funding specifically for conservation through donor relationships, grant writing, and seeking funding opportunities for conservation programs
  • Represent the Zoo in the community as it relates to advancing JBZ conservation programs
  • Executes other tasks and duties as directed by Chief Operating Officer


  • Ability to interact positively and objectively with co-workers, Zoo and park patrons, volunteers, contractors and members of the general public from a wide range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and with widely divergent levels of educational attainment and social skills
  • Efficient time management skills with ability to multi-task and excellent attention to detail
  • Strong organizational skills and able to prioritize work
  • Ability to effectively collaborate with internal and external stakeholders
  • Able to function independently and as a team member
  • Ability to manage sensitive and confidential information with integrity
  • Proficiency with computer data entry and software programs such as the Microsoft Office Suite


  • Bachelor’s degree in related field
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in wildlife biology, zoology, ecology, conservation.
  • General knowledge of natural history, ecology, conservation, animal husbandry, education, community building, and cultural history.
  • Knowledge of conservation programs of Zoos and Aquariums, specifically those through AZA and their partners.
  • General knowledge of animal management principles.
  • Public speaking skills.
  • Writing skills regarding reports and grants.
  • Ability to manage relationships with community partners and internal stakeholders.
  • Ability to work with partners of diverse backgrounds and seek common ground toward conservation goals/initiatives.


  • While performing the duties of this job, the associate is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel; and talk or hear.  The associate is often required to stand, walk, and reach with hands and arms.  The associate must occasionally lift and/or move up to 30 pounds. 
  • Must be able to work in somewhat close proximity to exotic and domestic animals and tolerate exposure to animal dander, animal wastes and other zoonotic contaminants as well as dust, dirt, pollen and other airborne contaminants and occasional exposure to inclement weather, high humidity, and to extreme hot and cold temperatures.
  • Work in the field doing conservation work as needed.
  • Will encounter natural elements in the course of their work, exposure to inclement weather and variable conditions.
  • Be willing to travel internationally.
  • Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


  • The incumbent will work in an office environment approximately 50% of the time. The noise level in the work environment varies.
  • The incumbent will be working outside the office in the community approximately 50% of the time.
  • Incumbent may occasionally be exposed to inclement weather; pollen, mold, dust, dirt and other airborne contaminants; and temperature variations. 


How to Apply

John Ball Zoo
1300 W. Fulton Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Phone: 6163365062

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