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Conservation Scientist A-B

Requisition Number: 
Conservation Science
Job Status: 
Two conservation scientists will join our Plant Biology and Conservation Department ( We are particularly interested in applicants with expertise in one or more of the following: landscape ecology, restoration ecology, and ecophysiology, but other conservation disciplines will be considered. Candidates who focus on wetland or aquatic systems, or seed-based questions are especially encouraged to apply. In addition to conducting research, both scientists will serve as faculty in our joint plant biology and conservation graduate program with Northwestern University, and undertake outreach and service activities. These are full-time, career-track positions. The successful candidates will join a group of enthusiastic scientists focused on addressing key conservation challenges. Start dates are flexible.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • RESEARCH: Conduct research that has conservation or restoration implications. Successfully obtain funding for research. Disseminate results through scientific publications and broader communication venues to policymakers, land managers, and the public.
  • TRAINING: Mentor students from diverse backgrounds at a variety of levels from high school to Ph.D. This will include serving as advisor or committee member for graduate students in our plant biology and conservation program with Northwestern University (, supporting the Science Career Continuum College First mentoring program for high school students (, and working with undergraduate students from Northwestern University and in our NSF-REU Site program ( over the summer. Teaching an upper-level undergraduate or graduate-level course at Northwestern University in the candidate’s area of expertise may be possible.
  • INSTITUTIONAL SERVICE: Contribute to Garden and departmental initiatives. These can include management of the REU internship program, managing seed or GIS labs, public-facing programs such as our Unearth Science festival, or other Garden initiatives depending on candidate’s interest and aptitude.
  • OUTREACH: Contribute to outreach, citizen science, and other engagement activities. Help synthesize research, communicate science, and develop policy and land-management recommendations. Work collaboratively with department faculty, and other Garden departments (Education, Horticulture, Communications, and Visitor Services). Develop collaborations with other regional conservation institutions and agencies.

The Garden’s mission is grounded in the belief that caring for gardens and natural areas is fundamentally important to the well-being of everyone. We strive to make the Garden and all its programs available and accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. We value diversity in all its forms and at every level of our organization—board, staff, volunteers, and vendors. Through the diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and experience, the Garden is more effectively able to create extraordinary and welcoming experiences for our increasingly diverse audiences. We are committed to ensuring a sense of belonging to every individual we encounter, regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, intellectual ability, or economic status.

Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Ph.D. in ecology, botany, biology, or equivalent with appropriate experience.
  • Strong quantitative skills; meta-analysis skills desired.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Commitment to seeing research results applied to conservation and restoration.
  • Commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.
  • Teaching, mentoring, and project/grant management experience.
  • Candidate’s research program should allow him or her to be in Chicago for most of the summer to mentor students.
Physical Demands: 
Office and outdoor settings. Frequent sitting, standing, walking, bending, listening, speaking, and keyboarding. Field and/or lab work depending on research program; fieldwork may occur in unpleasant weather conditions. Some travel and weekend work may be required.
Why Apply?: 

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

To Apply: Please visit to apply. In addition to the Garden application materials, please submit a cover letter; C.V.; separate one- to two-page statement on research interests and their conservation or restoration implications, mentoring philosophy, and diversity and inclusion (e.g. a statement about your past contributions to diversity and anticipated contribution to our program); as well as contact information for three references. Review of applications begins April 5, 2019, and will continue until suitable candidates are hired. Contact Kayri Havens at with any questions.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.