Director of Conservation & Research

Mt. Cuba Center

About Mt. Cuba Center

Mt. Cuba Center champions research, education, and conservation of the native plants of the Piedmont region throughout its natural lands and beyond its borders. Our gardens highlight native plants in natural settings and formal gardens, curating a showcase of natural beauty. Our team includes expert researchers, passionate horticulturists, and extraordinary staff who seek to expand the knowledge and appreciation of these native plants. We promote and collaborate with diverse organizations, researchers, and individuals that are working to help the public understand conservation through public programs, community outreach, landscape design and more.

The Position

Our new Director of Conservation & Research will act as a strategic business partner to develop and lead all conservation and research initiatives. They will be responsible for producing results that advance understanding of native plants and healthy ecosystems, further conservation efforts, and effectively engage the public and professional community in Mt. Cuba Center’s mission. Working collaboratively with the senior leadership team, this individual will lead the organization in carrying out the strategic goals and founding intention of Mt. Cuba Center.

Mt. Cuba Center’s numerous programs, partnerships, and education and outreach efforts propel research and conservation efforts throughout the Piedmont region. Connecting our research expertise with an appreciation of native plants and their ecological value is the core of our comprehensive mission. Accordingly, as the new Director of Conservation and Research you will have a deep appreciation for Mt. Cuba Center’s role as a conservation leader and be able to think creatively about how to lead and share our seminal research in native species and the conservation of natural lands and plant species.

Priorities and Responsibilities

Provide Conservation, Research & Collections Management Programs Oversight: Collaborate with staff, universities, organizations, community, and others to engage in conservation and research initiatives that advance Mt. Cuba Center’s research objectives; oversee contracts and project management of fellowships and university collaborations; oversee research publications that investigate the horticultural and ecological value of native plants, and our living and non-living collections management programs.

Provide Greenhouse & Natural Lands Management Oversight: Oversee all operations of production greenhouse, inclusive of plant propagation and production and associated protocols; direct greenhouse projects and initiatives within this department. Direct Mt. Cuba Center’s natural lands management and restoration efforts.

Staff Leadership: Successfully recruit, lead, develop and inspire staff who can successfully collaborate with internal and external constituencies to help realize the core objectives of our organization’s ambitions, ensuring clear communication and accountability across the team.

Program and Project Administration: Oversee the envisioning, development, implementation and evaluation of strategies for furthering the achievement of MCC’s overall vision, mission and program goals, and direct all aspects of the execution of those strategiesWork cooperatively with the management team on adopting and implementing organization-wide systems, and help guide and execute the strategic goals of the institution to support Mt. Cuba Center’s mission

Strategic Partnership: Assist the Executive Director in maintaining Mt. Cuba’s relationships with multiple external parties by interpreting and explaining Mt. Cuba Center and its programs. Represent Mt. Cuba Center in professional organizations and at professional and community meetings and events as requested. Serve as a strategic business partner by collaborating with the Board of Managers and serving on Board Committees to carry out the organization’s founding intention.

Ideal Experience and Characteristics

Minimum requirements include a Master’s degree in horticulture, ecology, botany or related plant science field from an accredited university and 10 years’ experience in horticultural, ecological, or conservation research with at least 5 years’ management experience. Must have exceptional written, verbal, and presenting communication skills, be proficient in broad horticultural and plant identification knowledge, particularly plants of the eastern United States, and have proficiency with sound scientific and plant research techniques.

The successful candidate will be an exceptional leader and have demonstrated ability in sound reasoning and judgment in making practical business decisions, in organizing, managing, and motivating others, and in effectively fulfilling organizational leadership roles and building meaningful partnerships. Ideal candidates will have an entrepreneurial spirit, curiosity and enthusiasm, and the ability to adapt and work effectively in a competitive environment.

This is a full-time, benefits-eligible position. Please provide your resume, letter of interest, and contact information for at least three professional employment references including a current email address for each.

Mt. Cuba Center is committed to inclusivity and encourages qualified candidates from all cultures and communities to apply.  

How to Apply

Apply here.