Program Director, Southwestern Ontario

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Nature Conservancy of Canada

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London, Canada

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17 days ago

Location: Norfolk County or London preferred, must live within the southwestern Ontario subregion

Position details: Permanent, Full Time
Salary: $95,100 - $106,919

Taking care of our environment has never been more important than it is today. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is looking for a Program Director for Southwestern Ontario to join a team committed to protecting our most important natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain.

NCC is the nation’s leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its supporters have protected 15 million hectares of ecologically significant land across Canada. NCC takes a collaborative, science-based approach to achieve conservation success for the sake of nature and Canadians. With a national office in Toronto and seven regional offices across the country, NCC delivers results you can walk on.

Position Summary

Reporting to the Associate Director of Conservation, Ontario Region, the Program Director has the primary responsibility for NCC’s conservation work in the Southwestern Ontario subregion. The position is based in London or Norfolk County, is permanent, and is a salary band 5 position ($95,100 - $106,919).

The position focuses on southwestern Ontario, with a focus in the Southern Norfolk Sand Plain, Essex Forests and Wetlands, and Western Lake Erie Islands natural areas. This position is responsible for the effective conservation of priority natural areas and associated habitat and species targets within the subregion, focusing on private land securement and stewardship, based on the latest science. The Program Director provides entrepreneurial leadership in developing and implementing a well-funded, community-based conservation program that sustains the significant biodiversity and ecological integrity of natural systems. Conservation work in the subregion is guided by the Great Lakes Conservation Blueprint and associated conservation assessments for this area.

The incumbent will:

  • build partnerships and relationships within local communities, including First Nations, and with other private non-profit organizations and government agencies;
  • manage and administer NCC projects and activities;
  • lead securement negotiations and oversee stewardship work;
  • communicate regularly and effectively with communities, agencies, other land trusts, and other existing or prospective partners;
  • identify and develop new opportunities to advance project goals;
  • take a lead role in fundraising and major donor cultivation;
  • develop and manage annual business plans and budgets.

Key Responsibilities:

Implementation of Natural Area Conservation Plans in Southwestern Ontario

  • Responsible for the development and implementation of Natural Area Conservation Plans and associated projects by working with partners such as government agencies, NGOs, local community groups, land trusts, First Nations, etc. and in consultation with NCC Ontario Conservation Science Program staff;
  • Responsible for long term protection of the viability of conservation targets on NCC owned properties including management planning, plan implementation and threat abatement;
  • Work with partners on lands transferred by NCC to ensure conservation values are maintained;
  • Field-check and report on conservation values of properties identified in the NACPs and other strategic plans and on properties identified by partners for potential securement;
  • Track and report on conservation success within the subregion;
  • Secure priority properties, engaging in landowner contact and negotiations for long term protection, principally through a combination of land purchases and property donations;
  • Plan and implement field work including supervising contractors and contract staff.

Community and Partnership Liaison

  • Represent NCC in all appropriate external relations and communications functions relative to NCC’s work in the subregion, including public speaking, meetings, and media relations, to build awareness and support for the conservation programs of NCC and its partners;
  • Plan, implement and report on expert workshops and meetings with key stakeholders, to assist in setting conservation priorities as well as in developing and implementing conservation plans;
  • Facilitate external relations and communications needs and functions for senior NCC staff;
  • Work with NCC stewardship staff, partners and volunteers to ensure stewardship of NCC owned properties within the subregion in accordance with NCC standards;
  • Responsible for the periodic status monitoring of NCC transferred properties;
  • Foster positive relationships with private and public property landowners within priority landscapes in the subregion through personal contact, workshops, program newsletters and other innovative approaches to promoting conservation.

Business Development and Fundraising

  • Work closely with NCC’s development team to identify funding priorities, amounts and deadlines for both new securement initiatives and ongoing stewardship needs;
  • Be jointly responsible, with NCC development staff, to ensure funds are available for property closings (to include land costs, associated costs, short term stewardship, long-term stewardship endowment) and other needs of the subregion;
  • Work with regional and national development staff, other regional program staff, and local fundraising volunteers to identify, cultivate, and request funds from both existing NCC donors and new prospects, including individuals, businesses, foundations, governmental sources, and non-governmental organizations;
  • Work with NCC development staff and local or other assigned fundraising volunteers to cultivate local land and easement donors;
  • Provide the regional development department with background material so that the department can produce appropriate marketing communications materials for properties or natural areas requiring funding;
  • Conduct donor property tours, provide an NCC presence at press conferences, speak at local community groups, and other public speaking engagements;
  • Work with the development team to ensure that accurate records of donor and prospect cultivation are maintained.

Manage the overall program and financial administration activities

  • Identify new resources and programs to help achieve landscape management goals;
  • Lead the subregion in strategic plan process; including developing and managing work plans and budgets;
  • Provide overall coordination and management of land use and conservation stewardship activities on all NCC owned properties and easement agreement sites, including compliance with NCC standards and practices;
  • Provide leadership and assist staff and volunteers to develop and maintain partnerships with other conservation organizations and develop plans and agreements for long term management of all NCC owned properties and/or properties where NCC provided financial assistance;
  • Provide timely reports to partners and donors;
  • Keep up to date records and information on all NCC projects, including easements and transferred lands;
  • Hire and supervise any contactors or employees that may be engaged;
  • Oversee the effective administrative and financial operation of the subregion.


  • Other duties as assigned by the Associate Director of Conservation, Ontario Region

Position Requirements

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in ecology, conservation biology or related discipline with a minimum of 5 years of directly related experience;
  • Flexibility, reliability, self-motivation, and ability to work both independently and as a leader;
  • Comfort working in a team setting and capable of easily communicating with a wide range of people from the public and private sectors;
  • Experience in delivering land/resource management programs in a rural community;
  • Negotiation skills and experience with conservation real estate preferred;
  • Previous experience working with landowners to implement land use / land management changes preferred;
  • Project management skills, including excellent problem solving, planning and organizational skills, and attention to detail and timelines;
  • Demonstrated ability to manage staff and/or volunteers;
  • Proficient with MS Office Suite, some experience with database and GIS software;
  • Demonstrated experience in making public presentations;
  • Entrepreneurial, with a strong ability to prepare and manage timelines, goals and expectations wisely;
  • Must be prepared to travel and work flexible hours at times;
  • Committed to the cause and mission of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

How to Apply

NCC is an equal opportunity employer. If you are interested in joining our team, please submit your cover letter, resume and salary expectations through our Career Centre by 11:59 P.M on November 27, 2022.

NCC welcomes and encourages applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.

We value and incorporate diverse traditions, heritage, knowledge and experiences in our mission and in our workplaces. We celebrate the full participation of people from all walks of life as we work towards common goals. We strive for a conservation movement in which equity, diversity and inclusion are the norm. This is our continuous commitment: to promote healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy planet for everyone.