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Chicago Zoological Society / Brookfield Zoo

Senior Coordinator, NatureStart Programs Inclusion Specialist

The Senior Coordinator, NatureStart Programs Inclusion Specialist contributes to the success of the Chicago Zoological Society (“CZS”) by assuring that the daily operations and activities of the Hamill Family Play Zoo and its programs are carried out in a manner that provides exceptional guest experiences, a quality workplace for both paid and volunteer staff, and are in alignment with the CZS goals and learning strategy, with a focus on creating and supporting inclusion practices in CZS programs. This role serves to further the Society’s mission of inspiring conservation leadership and providing extraordinary experiences for all.

The successful candidate will:
  •  Ensure inclusion of all individuals that participate in NatureStart programs, Hamill Family Play Zoo (“HFPZ”), and other learning experiences throughout CZS and Brookfield Zoo emphasizing all individual abilities and similarities.
 •  Coordinate with internal and external program partners to provide volunteer and job training opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities through the GoodWorks and Bridges Volunteer programs and other Zoo for All strategic initiatives.
  •  Provide suggestions and adaptations to programs in HFPZ, Conservation, Education and Training (“CET”), and other areas of the zoo as needed that will assure individuals with disabilities are integrated into educational programs and learning experiences and able to participate fully with other program participants and zoo guests.  Deliver and document effective behavior management strategies as necessary.  Meet with program staff as needed, as a support and information resource for inclusion program procedures and best practices.
  •  Create written reports and documentation as needed that reviews specific inclusion situations, the response/steps/actions taken to the situation, and strategies/best practices for how to improve in the future.
  •  Create and develop play programs and developmentally appropriate learning experiences for children and their families at the HFPZ, for the CET department subscription programs, CZS Special Events, trainings and other events as requested by the Manager.  Adapt activities, rules, equipment and/or supplies as needed to ensure quality participation by all program participants.
  •  Provide daily floor coordination at HFPZ by ensuring scheduled staff and/or volunteers are present.  Responsible for daily staff schedule adjustments in the absence of the Manager, NatureStart Programs.  Cover break periods for staff as needed.  Circulate on main floor throughout day to ensure guest and staff needs are met.  Answer calls and handles situations regarding guest issues, lost children, first aid, lost and found items and building needs.  Point of contact for emergency procedures (i.e. severe weather) on duty days.  Maintain daily notes. Provides guidance to volunteers and YVC as directed and needed.  Serve as the primary point of contact for all staff members when Manager, NatureStart Programs and/or Supervisor, NatureStart Programs is not on duty.
  •  Responsible for daily opening/closing of the building, care and cleaning of equipment, Society property, play program materials, and play settings including but not limited to: daily set-up, inventory, and proper use of all equipment and property.
   •  Facilitate play with children and families at HFPZ including holding live animals, in both indoor and outdoor settings, as assigned.
  •  Coordinate with Manager, NatureStart Programs and Supervisor, Camp, Overnight, and NatureStart Programs to provide support to the ZooCamp for All program. Attend meetings and training sessions as assigned.

Experience Required

The requirements for this position include the following: • Bachelor’s degree in Special Education, Liberal Arts, Science, Fine Arts, Drama, Early Childhood Education, Environmental Education or other directly related field, or eight years of relevant training and/or experience. Two years of relevant experience must include: (1) Working with individuals having a variety of physical, sensory, and/or intellectual disabilities; (2) Working in any of the following areas: facilitation of play, art, drama, music, or other creative activities; working with and/or supervising adult and youth volunteers; and/or early childhood education or other educational and/or recreational experience with children; and (3) In the planning, development, management, facilitation, or evaluation of activities for children, aged birth-middle school, or families. • Creativity and imagination essential for this position. • Basic computer literacy with Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook required. • Prior experience working with the public effectively in both high and low visitor attendance conditions required. • Demonstrated team leadership skills. Ability to work effectively with a multi-disciplinary team. • Demonstrated ability to develop and coordinate partnerships across departments and organizations. • Ability to communicate effectively with others, both verbally and in writing, including but not limited to children of diverse background and their caregivers. • Good planning and organizational skills essential; must be detail oriented. • Ability to effectively handle emergent issues, work effectively under pressure and handle emergency situations calmly, and deal with all levels of staff in a tactful and professional manner. • Must be flexible and able to adjust to changing circumstances. • Requires ability to accept constructive criticism, openness to feedback, and guidance on team leadership skills. • Excellent play facilitation skills. • Excellent customer service/interpersonal skills. • Must be able to read, write and speak the English language proficiently. • Experience and/or ability to work and interact effectively with a diverse, multicultural audience. • A valid driver’s license is required on date of hire. If an Illinois resident, must possess a valid Illinois driver’s license at the time of hire or must obtain one within 90 days of hire. A valid out-of-state driver’s license is required at time of hire for out-of-state residents. The preferred qualifications include the following: • Two years of experience in a zoo, aquarium, museum, nature center, or art studio environment preferred. • Multilingual ability, Spanish fluency a plus. • Fluency in American Sign Language a plus. Additional Information: Incumbent must effectively involve staff, volunteers, and external partners in meeting the inclusion needs of children, youth, families, and adults with physical, intellectual, and sensory disabilities. Incumbent must have a genuine interest in nature, animals, and children. Must have strong play facilitation skills, with an emphasis on inclusion and inclusive play, and have a comfort in modeling these skills for staff and volunteers. Position involves a flexible work schedule with rotating days, including regular weekends, holidays and evening work. Position requires work in both outdoor and indoor work settings in a variety of weather conditions. The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer / Affirmative Action Employer – Minorities / Women / Veterans / Disabled.

How to Apply

If interested in being considered for this opportunity, please visit the CZS Career Center to obtain more details about the position and to apply by submitting your profile. Please visit our website at Please look for requisition number 1348BR.

Chicago Zoological Society / Brookfield Zoo
3300 Golf Road
Brookfield, IL 60513

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