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The Conservation Action Coordinator is responsible for developing and implementing initiatives that connect individuals, communities and businesses with direct conservation efforts to foster behavior change, cultural shifts, and measurable sustainability improvements that benefit aquatic ecosystems and wildlife. The coordinator champions the day-to-day execution of Shedd’s conservation action programs and efforts, focusing on issues such as sustainable seafood, single-use plastic reduction, climate change and others. The coordinator delivers industry and consumer education programs, builds strategic partnerships to advance conservation action goals, serves as a conservation expert for internal and external audiences, and supports the conservation goals of other departments and stakeholders.
Duties & Responsibilities:
- Demonstrate commitment to Shedd’s vision, mission and values.
- Program Coordination
- Create and deliver high-quality conservation action programs and initiatives.
- Coordinate all program logistics, execution and program evaluation.
- Supervise and coach part-time program staff and volunteers who support conservation action programs.
- Track and report on performance metrics and ensure all partner deliverables are met.
- Work closely with other departments, especially Public Relations, Learning, Marketing, Corporate Relations and Conservation Research to develop strong programs that are well-integrated throughout the aquarium.
- Oversee program budgets, contribute to annual budget planning, contribute to grant proposals/management, and ensure accurate spending and tracking of program expenses.
- Identify and cultivate additional opportunities for both onsite and offsite engagement.
- Must be willing and able to work irregular hours including nights and weekends on occasion.
- External Engagement and Partnership Building
- Work with director to develop partnership and external engagement strategies.
- Foster strong relationships with local, national and international organizations/influencers, including NGOs, funders, local businesses and associations.
- Represent Shedd in various conservation, sustainability and seafood-related communities including, but not limited to, the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions, Next Bites, the Association for Zoos and Aquariums, etc.
- Pursue new and nurture existing partnerships to advance the goals of conservation action programs through grassroots community engagement, corporate partnerships, industry outreach, etc.
- Grow internal relationships and collaborations to support cross-departmental programmatic integration.
- Content Expertise
- Build expertise on the sustainable seafood movement, Great Lakes conservation issues, local aquaculture, plastic pollution, general sustainable practices and other related topics.
- Research emerging conservation issues, propose conservation action strategies, and actively share pertinent information with others through formal and informal platforms.
- Serve as Shedd spokesperson for media and other public appearances as assigned.
- Work with the External Affairs and Marketing teams to create compelling content for Shedd’s website, blog, social media channels and other multimedia projects.
- Other Duties
- Support fundraising efforts including funder/donor relations, grant solicitation and fulfillment, and reporting.
- Collaborate with aquarium-wide teams to ensure conservation engagement is integrated across programs, exhibits, projects and initiatives.
- Demonstrate a commitment to professional and personal growth by initiating dialogue with colleagues, engaging in self-directed learning and focusing on professional development goals.
- Fulfill other duties as required.
- Bachelor’s degree required, preferably in the areas of biology, environmental science, conservation, sustainability, education or a related field.
- Minimum of 3 years of experience with program coordination, public outreach and presentation delivery.
- Strong understanding of conservation issues, environmental sustainability, conservation psychology and other relevant topics.
- Poised, articulate professional with a sense of humor, a positive attitude and charisma. Driven, highly organized self-starter. Confident, outgoing, and enjoys socializing with diverse audiences. Appreciation for and strong attention to detail. A lifelong learner.
- Excellent communication skills, including writing and public speaking. Ability to effectively communicate environmental issues to the general public and special audiences.
- Demonstrated ability to supervise staff and volunteers effectively.
- Demonstrated interest in and personal commitment to addressing conservation and sustainability challenges and awareness of current local, national and international issues.
- Demonstrated ability to handle large workload in a fast-paced, high energy department.
- Demonstrated experience with financial and grants management.
- Demonstrated experience with program evaluation and data management.
- Experience working with the following audiences – teens, volunteers, adult professionals, families and diverse communities.
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