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Director of Conservation, New England Wild Flower Society, Framingham, MA, USA

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About New England Wild Flower Society

New England Wild Flower Society is dedicated to conserving and promoting the region’s native plants to ensure healthy, biologically diverse landscapes. Founded in 1900, the Society is the nation’s first plant conservation organization and a recognized leader in native plant conservation, horticulture, and education. The Society’s headquarters, Garden in the Woods, is a renowned native plant botanic garden in Framingham, Massachusetts, that attracts visitors from all over the world. From this base, 25 staff and many of our 1,200 trained volunteers work throughout New England each year to monitor and protect rare and endangered plants, collect and preserve seeds to ensure biological diversity, detect and control invasive species, conduct research, and offer a range of educational programs. The Society also operates a native plant nursery at Nasami Farm in western Massachusetts and has six sanctuaries in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont that are open to the public. See

Position Summary

The Director of Conservation has an exciting opportunity to lead and shape one of the nation’s most important plant conservation programs. S/he will take the helm of a department with successful, well-established programs and robust professional networks. Under the long tenure of the retiring director, the department created a region-wide collaborative framework for the conservation of rare plants that is a model for others, launched an initiative to bank the seeds of the region’s rare plants, developed the powerful Go Botany online flora, engaged in significant restoration projects, and published important papers and books, including the comprehensive Flora Novae Angliae and the nation’s first “State of the Plants” report.

The Director of Conservation will also be joining an organization focused on innovation and steady growth, and thus will have the opportunity to develop new strategic initiatives to fulfill the Society’s mission.

This is a full-time position based in Framingham, MA, with significant time in the field throughout New England. The Director of Conservation reports to the Executive Director and manages five staff members, the seasonal internship program, and contractors.

Primary Responsibilities

Conservation of Species and Habitats

  Develop the strategic direction for and administer the New England Plant Conservation Program (NEPCoP), including the Regional Advisory Council, State Task Forces, and Plant Conservation Volunteers

  Develop priorities and strategies for conservation action to find, protect, save, or restore rare species, based on ongoing research and the list of New England’s rare taxa in our "Flora Conservanda"

  Oversee the collection, preservation, and testing of seeds of rare and common species for permanent storage in the seed bank

  Participate in and/or lead research, management, and reintroduction/restoration projects involving rare species, critical habitats, or threatened common habitats

  Coordinate invasive plant control activities of the Society, with a focus on projects that address conservation priorities

  Oversee the ecological management and conservation of rare plants on the Society’s sanctuaries

Research and Education

  Conduct and oversee research in the conservation, cultivation, and propagation of rare species

  Develop and direct scientific and applied research projects--ranging from taxonomic inquiries to data analysis to experimental management practices and restorations--that advance botanical knowledge

  Undertake and encourage the publication of research findings and documents that enrich the profession, enhance scientific dialogue, and provide vital information for public and private landowners

Regional and National Leadership

  Participate and take a leadership role in regional and national initiatives related to the conservation of native plants, such as Center for Plant Conservation and Seeds of Success, and in landscape-scale conservation initiatives addressing climate change

  Take a leadership role in formulating policies at the state and federal level that enhance protection for native plants, and in developing guidelines for local communities and private landowners


  Engage in long-term strategic planning, program evaluation, and new program development

  Prepare and administer department and project budgets

  Identify funding opportunities, write and administer grants and contracts ( including federal contracts), and ensure work is successfully completed

  Hire and supervise staff, oversee intern program, and hire and manage contractors

  Oversee work of the Society’s Sanctuary Committee and ensure that the Society has appropriate policies and management plans for its eight sanctuaries

  Work closely with the Director of Horticulture in developing guidelines and policies and on the seed collecting and restoration programs

Skills and Experience

The position requires expert botanical knowledge; familiarity with regional, national, and international initiatives and protocols for plant conservation; and demonstrated success in managing people, projects, and budgets. Candidates should have significant work experience in plant science and conservation, with at least 3 years in a supervisory role. The ideal candidate has a record of field-based success and is also well versed in current research in plant science and conservation in both the academic and botanic garden communities. Candidates should have a master’s degree in botany or a related academic field or a combination of a bachelor’s degree and exceptional achievement. Knowledge of and experience with the flora of New England would be a significant plus. Excellent writing and public presentation skills are important.

New England Wild Flower Society is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and business need.

To Apply

Please submit a letter of interest and resume (MS Word or PDF format, with your last name as part of the file name) to Debbi Edelstein, Executive Director, New England Wild Flower Society, at, using the subject line “Conservation Director Application.”  Applications are due by March 31, 2019.


Closing date: 31/03/2019


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