The Nature Conservancy

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The Nature Conservancy


JOB NUMBER & TITLE:     400002 – Applied Scientist II
JOB GRADE:      7 (Exempt)
LOCATION:       Nags Head Preserve, Nags Head, NC or nearby
SUPERVISOR:     Director of Science

The Climate Adaptation Project Director provides leadership for the North Carolina Chapter’s climate change project on the Albemarle Peninsula.  S/he develops and implements, in coordination with partners and TNC colleagues, a program to test strategies for helping coastal ecosystems adapt to rising seas and other climate change effects in this low-lying area of eastern North Carolina.  The Project Director provides the scientific leadership for the project and oversees the implementation of these strategies in an experimental framework meant to guide present and future adaptation efforts in similar habitats.  S/he works closely with partners at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other public and private agencies, contractors and scientific peers in other institutions to ensure coordination, collaboration, and smooth implementation of this project.  Additionally, s/he collaborates on applied conservation science and planning activities involving near-shore marine initiatives and climate change at multiple scales in the state and across the Southern U.S. Region.

The Project Director develops and maintains relationships with diverse groups of people such as local residents, decision makers and agency and academic partners, ensuring clear communications between all and a common understanding of the project.  S/he helps design and implement studies and restoration activities on the hydrology of the project area, assembles information on the quantification of carbon in soils and plantings, and implements construction of oyster reefs and plantings of vegetation to slow the impacts of climate change.  S/he collaborates with scientists and land managers within and outside of TNC to develop and disseminate understanding of the ecological impacts of climate change, sound scientific standards and methodologies, and adaptive management implementation strategies and outcomes to audiences within and outside the project.


1.      Ensure that high quality science informs all steps of the Conservancy’s conservation activities on this project:  setting priorities, developing strategies, taking action, and measuring success.
2.      Cultivate relationships with universities and partner/agency scientists and managers in order to ensure good communication and strengthen conservation planning and adaptive management in the context of climate change.
3.      Develop requests for proposals, select and supervise contractors and otherwise plan for and implement hydrologic restoration planning, water management, vegetative plantings, oyster reef establishment.
4.      Communicate effectively with NC Chapter Science, Conservation Programs and Government Relations staff in order to secure feedback and help in implementing the project.
5.      Provide near-shore marine expertise to the Chapter and participate in conservation planning efforts to advance the project and to help advance the Conservancy’s mission in the state, regionally and globally.
6.      Review and synthesize literature on carbon in peat soils; develop and/or evaluate measures of conserving soil carbon and sequestering carbon in plantings.
7.      Collaborate with agency partners to set and achieve goals consistent with biodiversity conservation objectives identified through ecoregional and project specific planning.
8.      Collaborate with philanthropy and government relations staff on fundraising efforts to raise public and private funds for conservation objectives by writing grants and proposals and conducting donor visits.
9.      Manage and motivate a team of conservation professionals with direct supervision of employees where appropriate


1.      Advanced degree (Masters or PhD) in the natural, environmental or biological sciences, or a closely related field, marine/estuarine expertise desired. Demonstrated application of ecological principles to landscape-level conservation issues and experience in completing and publishing projects is desirable.
2.      At least two years experience in conservation or natural resources management with skill in developing and applying scientific concepts and technical innovations for conservation purposes (or equivalent combination of education and experience.)
3.      Understanding of principles and issues related to climate change, ecosystem resilience and freshwater and near-shore marine systems.
4.      Working understanding of conservation science technologies such as: remote sensing, geographic information systems, modeling, and statistical analysis software.
5.      Demonstrated project management experience, including the ability to define goals and deliverables, assemble and manage teams, schedule, budget, and track progress; ability to conduct productive meetings.
6.      Ability to work under pressure and manage multiple priorities; flexibility to perform a wide variety of tasks and make decisions with less than complete information.
7.      Demonstrated ability to gain the respect and cooperation of others, to communicate effectively with diverse audiences and to effectively promote ideas and concepts.
8.      Strong partnership building skills.  Familiarity with the full range of partners (including public agencies, academic institutions, the business community, and other conservation organizations) with which TNC collaborates.
9.      Ability to fundraise from public and private sources.
10.     Excellent written and oral communication skills.
11.     Willingness to work evenings and weekends, and travel frequently and on short notice.  The Project Director may work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.


Please visit to apply.  You must submit your resume and cover letter as one document.  All sections of the online application must be completed (e.g. work experience and education, even if information is included on your resume) to be considered for this position.