McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Field Institute Manager, June 2017

The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy is Hiring:


Job Title: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Field Institute Manager
Reports To: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Field Institute Director
Supervises: Citizen Science Program volunteers, interns.
Status: Full Time, Salary, Exempt


Position Summary:
Coordinate with research partners, volunteers, City of Scottsdale, and interns to plan and lead fieldwork supporting Field Institute ecological research in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Develop and promote the Citizen Science and Nature Guides (children’s education) programs, and support Conservancy K-12 and public education STEM efforts.


Essential Duties



  • Work with Field Institute Director to conduct ecological research on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Scottsdale, Arizona and beyond as needed.
  • Work with Field Institute Director, principal investigators, interns, students, and volunteer leaders to plan, schedule, and conduct fieldwork, and collect, manage and store data.
  • Ensure field collections, data management, and reporting adhere to professional standards.
  • Manage and update research permits.
  • Work with Field Institute Director on grant funded project reporting, including keeping detailed records of hours and spending, writing project end reports and other according to funder requirements.
  • Ensure all project protocols are clearly documented and accessible to a public audience.


  • Work with Conservancy volunteers and education partners to enhance the Junior Citizen Science Festival and develop other appropriate Conservancy education programs.

Volunteer management:

  • Serve as the staff liaison to the Citizen Science and Nature Guides programs.
  • Recruit and train volunteers, and cultivate volunteer leadership.
  • Evaluate progress and needs of the volunteer programs and provide guidance and support to program leadership.

Communications and marketing:

  • Draft periodic updates on findings to promote the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Field Institute to public, stewards, the MSC Board of Directors, Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, scientific partners, and other interested organizations and individuals.
  • Maintain regular communications with volunteers and supporters through the website, The Mountain Lines magazine, and other media.
  • Give public talks regarding the program or scientific results to a variety of audiences.


  • Supervise steward teams to organize and manage research and education events:
    • Annual research symposium – a 2-day research symposium held in January on research and monitoring to inform natural resource management in the arid southwest.
    • Annual Field Institute update held in May in which volunteer leads give formal presentations of the past field season’s results, working with the
      volunteers to develop professional level presentations.
    • Jr. Citizen Science Festival – 2-day festivals held twice per year (Fall and Spring) to educate and inspire children about their natural world and the
      Sonoran Desert

Anticipated Support Duties:

  • Aid Field Institute Director in recruiting interns to participate in research projects.
  • Work with the development team to cultivate sponsors for children’s educational events and the symposium.
  • Assist Field Institute Director in budgeting and strategic planning.
  • Support Field Institute Director and development staff fundraising efforts for the Field Institute and education programs.
  • Other items assigned from time to time by the Field Institute Director and Executive Director.



  • B.S. or M.S. degree in a biological or ecological science
  • Ability to plan, schedule, provide structure, set expectations, and follow-up on results
  • Significant fieldwork experience and field skills including plot sampling, plant and animal identification, and use of GPS. Leading field project teams a plus.
  • Education or experience in environmental education and K-12 STEM education
  • Must be organized, fast, efficient and particularly skilled at prioritizing and meeting deadlines.
  • Ability to interact well with a wide variety of people, including volunteers, scientists, donors, elected officials, the general public, and the Conservancy Board of Directors.
  • Advanced computer skills including Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Effective writing and public speaking skills
  • Experience communicating complex scientific ideas to the public with various experience levels preferred.
  • Ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment with the ability to keep a positive outlook under pressure.
  • Preferred skills and experience
    • Skill in using ArcGIS software
    • Sonoran Desert plant identification
    • Experience in event planning



Work is performed in an office setting as well outdoors in the Preserve. Must be able to hike up and down hills and significant distances in a variety of weather conditions. Some local travel to meetings is required.


The deadline for applications is 12:00 am (MST) on June 27, 2017. Please email cover letter, resume or cv, and 3 references to McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Interim Executive Director at

McDowell Sonoran Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer

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