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Lincoln Park Zoo

Vice President of Conservation & Science

Lincoln Park Zoo inspires communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world. The zoo is a leader in local and global conservation, animal care and welfare, learning, and science. A historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, the not-for-profit Lincoln Park Zoo, is a privately-managed, member-supported organization and is free and open 365 days a year. Visit us at 

Lincoln Park Zoo is committed to an environment that is inclusive and welcoming.  We celebrate the diverse qualities, perspectives, values and experiences of all people.  For Wildlife. For All.

Senior staff position responsible for leadership and overall organization, management, and administration of the Conservation & Science department.  Directs program development, budgeting, implementation, and evaluation of the zoo’s conservation and research programs.  In collaboration with the vice presidents of other departments, participates in the development and implementation of the strategic plan and integrating this vision in all programmatic areas.

The Vice President of Conservation & Science should possess leadership experience; a capacity to engage the mission of the zoo with passion and vision; an ability to bring together individuals and groups from various perspectives for collaboration; intellectual curiosity and a deep appreciation for and familiarity with new research and projects that address the complex needs of 21st century zoos; exceptional communication skills to enhance the visibility of the zoo’s work and its contribution to the community; willingness to explore new models of public engagement and conservation education collaborations, and a facility for critical evaluation and strategic implementation within a zoological setting.


  • Serves as the senior manager for the institution’s research and conservation programs with oversight for all departmental sections, staff, operations and activities.
  • May develop and maintain one or more conservation and/or research projects in his/her area of expertise.
  • Provides leadership in planning and coordinating all phases of personnel management; including hiring, evaluations, and promotions as well as increasing diversity and inclusivity in the department and the zoo.
  • Works with Development Department to secure funds in support of departmental operations and initiatives: this includes, but is not limited to, assisting with the identification of donor prospects, meeting with donors and attending donor events, drafting budgets and creating narratives and donor prospectuses, and drafting reports
  • Represents the institution in diverse settings that include active participation in professional, donor, board, community and governmental arenas. 
  • Leads the establishment, implementation and regular review/revision of operational procedures and protocols.
  • Oversees development and monitoring of departmental and programmatic budgets.
  • Serves as the primary staff liaison from the Conservation & Science Department to the zoo’s board and prepares departmental reports for quarterly Board of Trustees meetings and, as requested by the Development Department, for donors; serves as a staff liaison to the Zoo Programs Committee of the zoo’s Board of Trustees.
  • Acts as the primary spokesperson for the Department both to public and professional audiences
  • Serves as liaison and provides guidance to develop strong programmatic collaborations between zoo researchers and education department.
  • Represents the zoo in key professional committees, such as those administered by AZA


  • Comprehensive knowledge of the zoo’s mission and philosophy as well as government regulations pertaining to conservation and scientific research
  • Capacity for long term visioning, able to foresee and mitigate roadblocks and limitations to research and conservation programs.
  • Demonstrated excellence in supporting fundraising for large-scale conservation and research projects.
  • Skill in developing and directing execution of business plans to support zoo’s strategic plan
  • Well-developed management and administrative skills including supervision of scientific staff and facilitation of professional development.
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills.  Ability to get along with diverse groups.  Tactful, mature and professional
  • Strong leadership ability.  Ability to establish credibility and be decisive – but be able to recognize and support the organization’s preferences and priorities. 
  • Ability to balance the needs and objectives of a wide range of scientific initiatives ranging from field-based conservation studies to on-grounds research.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with governmental agencies, donors and the general public                                                                     
  • Ability to prepare comprehensive reports, including budgetary, and maintain complex records of a highly specialized nature
  • Ability to express oneself clearly and effectively in oral and written form.  Engaging public speaking skills are essential.
  • Knowledge of occupational hazards involved and the safe work practices to employ in laboratories and in proximity to and/or while handling wild animals
  • Demonstrated expertise in one (but preferably multiple) scientific disciplines including ability to effectively direct a broad range of research initiatives.


A doctoral degree (biological science, conservation ecology, environmental science) is preferred but some combination of advanced post-graduate degrees may be considered equivalent. Continuing professional education in multiple fields including animal care, animal welfare, population management, administration, education, field conservation, public relations or related areas is highly desirable.


A minimum of 5 years’ managerial experience in a zoo, living museum setting, conservation organization, or other relevant organization with increasingly responsible assignments, most recently at a senior level.  Previous participation in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) programs or other related professional organizations is highly desirable.                                   

Note:  A comparable combination of education, experience or training that would provide the level of knowledge, skills and ability required may qualify an individual


  • Ability to travel extensively on behalf of the zoo
  • Ability to work at computer for long periods of time
  • Ability to traverse zoo grounds regularly
  • Ability to publicly address audiences of varying sizes


Available to work special events that may occur outside of regular work schedule, including evenings, weekends or holidays, as required.

Proof of COVID 19 vaccine.

Valid driver’s license with a good driving record


Lincoln Park Zoo is committed to an environment that is inclusive and welcoming.  We celebrate the diverse qualities, perspectives, values and experiences of all people.  For Wildlife. For All.


How to Apply

Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 North Clark
Chicago, IL 60614

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