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The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

The Living Desert is an AZA-accredited zoo and gardens that is dedicated to desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation. It is a family-friendly place to explore nature and create meaningful experiences for guests that are remembered for a lifetime. For more information: (760) 346-5694 or visit The Living Desert is located at: 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260.

Curator of Education


The Curator of Education manages a team of Education coordinators and oversees the daily operations of the Education Division. Reporting to the Director of Education Engagement and working closely with the Volunteer Program Manager and other department managers to ensure The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens mission, vision and messaging are professionally delivered to the public.


  • Provide vision, strategic direction and leadership in order to ensure all programs and interpretive messages in the division optimally carry out the Zoo’s mission and strategic plan;
  • Model effective leadership practices and institutional values;
  • Design, develop and coordinate innovative, stimulating, education programs and events;
  • Oversee curricula development and educational and interpretive programming in accordance with The Zoo’s mission, local, state, and national education standards, and AZA Conservation Education standards;
  • Ensure that Zoo exhibits, and all programs engage diverse audiences of zoo guests and volunteers
  • Affectively lead team in use of evaluative tools to ensure effectiveness of all programs and exhibit content
  • Follow and implement all safety procedures as defined by the Zoo, AZA and other relevant authorities;
  • Observe, assist, evaluate, and teach the zoo’s informal education programs.
  • Create and review monthly staff schedule ensuring that the schedule is accurate, updated, and disseminated.
  • Under the oversight of management, determine staffing needs, schedule staff and ensure office is ready for daily operations.
  • Create and maintain annual Education department programs calendar.
  • Budget and manage revenues and expense spending for all education department programs.
  • Work with management to track spending on all grant funded projects.
  • Maintain inventory and ordering for all education related supplies.
  • Field routine education questions, including responses to general education emails.
  • Design implement and track training of staff on education programs as appropriate.
  • Train, evaluate and serve as a resource for education staff, volunteers and interns.
  • Assist the Volunteer Program managers with their daily staff scheduling.
  • Work with management to create and submit department reports and monthly board reports.
  • Participate in Education and Interpretation staff meetings, trainings and professional development to stay current on Education Department goals, climate and social sciences information and trends in education.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • Contributes to desert conservation through reduction of waste, water and energy use, and inspiring guests and team members to take conservation actions.

This class specification should not be interpreted as all inclusive. It is intended to identify the major responsibilities and requirements of this job. The incumbents may be requested to perform job-related responsibilities and tasks other than those stated in this specification.

Experience Required

SPECIFIC SKILLS • Knowledge and expertise in ecological, biological and conservation principles. • Experience in educational theory and desert ecosystems. • Strong background and training in the field of education and the implementation of informal education programs. • Familiarity with effective instructional strategies for informal education for a variety of ages, group sizes and abilities. • Strong communication skills to convey information to staff, other departments, volunteers, guest and program participants with enthusiasm. • Ability to work well with others in a team atmosphere. • Excellent written and oral communication skills • Excellent internal and external customer service • Outstanding time management and organizational skills • Desire to instill a sense of wonder, respect and stewardship for the world’s desert areas, its inhabitants and ecosystems. EDUCATION AND PRE-REQUISITES • Minimum of five years teaching experience in a formal and/or informal setting. • Demonstrated ability to reflect on and improve upon job performance • Bachelor’s degree in Biology or related field preferred. Equivalent experience will be considered. • Strong background in developing and teaching NGSS and STEM-based curriculum. • Valid California driver’s license or the eligibility to attain one. • Working knowledge in Window programs, graphic design and data base input; Knowledge in Galaxy POS, budgeting programs i.e. Adaptive Insight and Sage Intacct CONDITIONS OF WORK • Ability to sit, stand and walk for long periods of time • Ability to lift and carry up to 50lbs • Full functional range of motion in all major body joints from reaching, twisting, bending, simple and power gripping, fine and gross motor skills WORK ENVIRONMENT • Office, classrooms, and informal learning environment • Offsite areas monitoring conducting programs as needed • Outside environments in varying weather conditions • Exposure to various in temperature, humidity and extreme heat


Paid Time Off (PTO) is accrued at a rate of .769 days per pay period which is equivalent to twenty (20) days on an annual basis. In addition to PTO you will receive seven (7) paid sick days on an annual basis. Your paid sick time for your first year will be pro-rated from your date of hire and then earned every July 1st thereafter. The Living Desert offers to its team members: Health, Dental, Vision and Life Insurance that is either paid in full or significantly subsidized by the organization. We also offer Voluntary Life Insurance, Short Term Disability Insurance and Flexible Spending Accounts. You are eligible to participate in our insurance programs the first day of the month following thirty days of employment. We also offer a 401(k) Plan to our eligible team members. You are eligible to participate in this plan after six months of employment. A one-time annual discretionary match at a percentage to be determined may be available to you on the last day of the fiscal year



How to Apply

Please apply via our website:

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
47900 Portola Ave
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Phone: 760-346-5694
Fax: 760-568-4842

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