Community Stewardship Program Manager

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Chicago, Illinois, USA



The mission of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is to conserve the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we develop innovative, on-the-ground solutions to the world’s toughest environmental challenges so that people and nature can thrive. Our work is guided by our values, which include a commitment to diversity and respect for people, communities, and cultures. From a rewarding mission to career development and flexible schedules, there are many reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want to know more? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube to hear stories from staff or visit Glassdoor.

One of TNC’s primary goals is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that employees around the globe have a sense of belonging and feel that their unique contributions are valued. We know we’ll only achieve our mission by hiring and engaging a diverse staff that reflects the communities in which we work. Recognizing that people bring talent and skills that have been developed outside the scope of a job, we take a holistic approach to recruitment that considers life experience in addition to the professional requirements listed in our postings. Please apply – we’d love to hear from you. To quote a popular saying at TNC, “you’ll join for the mission, and you’ll stay for the people.”


The Chicago Urban Conservation Program builds on the Conservancy’s science-based, collaborative, results-oriented approach and its record of contributing creative and effective solutions to conservation challenges. We work to achieve benefits for people and nature in Chicago and neighboring communities by increasing access to and engagement with urban nature, increasing urban biodiversity and improving community resilience and public health by implementing natural solutions as essential components of a healthy, just, climate-resilient city. All our work is done collaboratively in partnership with other leading agencies and organizations across Chicago and neighboring communities and aligned with environmental and social justice priorities.

The Community Stewardship Program Manager will manage the Chicago Park District’s Natural Areas community stewardship program and supervise volunteers who perform restoration, conservation, monitoring, and engagement work. This position will be under the joint direction of the Director of Community Engagement (The Nature Conservancy) and the Natural Areas Project Manager (Chicago Park District).


The Community Stewardship Program Manager will be responsible for assisting Chicago Park District (CPD) staff to empower and engage community members to care for and activate CPD natural areas. The Manager will be responsible for education, recruitment, training, and coordination of a wide diversity of volunteers for stewardship activities such as assisting with ecological restoration and monitoring of species in natural areas, thus building upon the District’s capacity to accomplish such activities.


  • Work with CPD staff, volunteer stewards, and partners to determine and coordinate volunteer activities in CPD natural areas
  • Coordinate, advertise, and supervise stewardship workdays and special events.
  • Recruit a diversity of individual and group volunteers through various methods such as relationship building, developing partnerships (e.g. with community organizations, community members, environmental organizations, businesses, park advisory councils, faith groups, and local schools), tabling at conferences and other events, and developing outreach and educational materials.
  • Develop retention, recognition, and training opportunities for volunteers, including updating the community stewardship handbook.
  • Recruit and supervise volunteer ecological monitors, coordinate training workshops, and maintain records of ecological monitoring activities.
  • Maintain stewardship volunteer database, keep records of workday activities and attendance.
  • Create an annual report, submit budgets, and contribute information for grants, press releases, and other materials to increase awareness of stewardship program.
  • Work with CPD staff to develop work orders, workday management plans, and schedules.
  • Assist CPD staff with projects such as interpretive signage, website updates, press releases, fact sheets, etc.
  • Collaborate with the Chicago Area Program and other TNC networks as needed to contribute to program development and share best practices.
  • Principal work location is the CPD office in Chicago, Illinois, with supplemental space at the TNC Chicago office. Due to the flexibility required in this position other work locations may be utilized from time to time. Work on weekends and some evenings will be expected.
  • The employee will need to pass a CPD background check prior to employment.


  • BA/BS/AS/Technical or vocational degree and 1 year related experience in community engagement and/or custodial and ecological land management or similar field; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience supervising staff and/or volunteers.
  • Possession of a valid driver's license, or obtain within 6 months of employment.
  • Possession of Illinois Herbicide license, or obtain within 6 months of employment.
  • Experience completing tasks independently under deadlines while delivering quality results.
  • Experience with common software applications (e.g., Word, Excel, Zoom, web browsers)
  • Experience with communication skills via written, spoken, and graphical means. Ability to explain conservation practices to non-technical audiences.


  • Combination of 5 years’ experience in natural resource management and/or community engagement, or equivalent combination of education and lived experience in a similar field.
  • Experience working with or knowledge of natural systems in the Chicago region. Ability to recognize plant and animal species to implement management activities.
  • Extensive experience working across differences such as race, culture, disabilities, socio-economic class, and language group. Multilingual or bilingual skills appreciated, particularly Spanish.
  • Knowledge of current trends and practices in conservation, land management and natural resource preservation.
  • Experience in volunteer management including recruiting, training and supervising volunteers.
  • Experience working with multiple organizations and complex organizational structures.
  • Experience with database management, promotional materials development, and social media.


Since 1951, TNC has been doing work you can believe in. Through grassroots action, we have grown from a small non-profit into one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than 1 million members, over 400 scientists, and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff and partners, we impact conservation around the world!

TNC offers a competitive, comprehensive benefits package including health care benefits, flexible spending accounts, a 401(k) plan with an 8% employer match, parental leave, accrued paid time off, life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, other life and work well-being benefits. Learn more about our benefits on our Culture Tab on

We’re proud to offer a flexible work environment that supports of the health and well-being of the people we employ.


This position requires a valid driver's license and compliance with TNC’s Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered "high risk drivers." To learn more about the Auto Safety Program, visit under the FAQ section.

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee's motor vehicle record.


To apply for job ID 52458, submit your materials online by using the Apply Now button at Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

Do you have military experience? Visit our U.S. Military Skills Translator to match your military experience with our current job openings!

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

Where legally permissible, TNC requires all new employees to be fully vaccinated and willing to keep up to date with vaccines that protect against COVID-19. By accepting an offer of employment, you agree to comply with this requirement, unless you are entitled to a legally mandated exemption.