Education and Conservation Manager


The Education & Conservation Manager is ultimately responsible for all aspects of the operation of the Zoo’s and Beaversprite’s Education Department, including but not limited to on grounds programs, off grounds programs, personnel, volunteer training, and departmental budget. The Education & Conservation Manager reports to the General Curator. This position will be expected to participate with all other team members in a collegial and collaborative manner, considering issues and making decisions from the view of the Zoo as a whole, without partiality to one’s own area(s) of responsibility. Successful candidates must be able to employ systems thinking and understand that all areas of the Zoo are inter-related and dependent on one another. They are required to provide and promote positive leadership in a team environment. Additionally, this position is responsible for the excellent customer service we strive to provide while promoting educational programming throughout the community.

Essential Duties, Skills, and Responsibilities:

· Oversees all operational aspects of formal and informal education and conservation programs and experiences on and off Zoo grounds, such as Zoomobile programs, on-site programs and classes, education booths, daily animal presentations, and Zoo camps.

· Develop and implement a comprehensive education program, utilizing all available resources such as the ambassador animal collection, bio facts, zoo animal collection, Beaversprite’s natural resources, and staffs’ skills and knowledge

· Align education programs and messaging with the zoo’s conservation priorities and animal collection

· Oversee all AZA SAFE programs as primary contact and ensure programs have up to date conservation messaging

· Provide a continuous plan, marketing and implementation of formal and informal programs that engage pre-school through adult-level participants which draw new and underrepresented audiences to the natural sciences

· Coordinate management of resources and technology for all associated programming

· Work collaboratively with the Animal Keeper and Education team to update the Ambassador Animal Handling Guide and assist with training new staff and volunteers on proper animal handling techniques

· Earn and maintain Utica Zoo Animal Handling Certification; responsible for knowing and abiding by proper handling, animal behavior assessment, transportation, presentation, and interaction protocols for a diverse collection of animals in preparation for and during Education programs

· Working with the Public Relations Department when needed to promote and market educational programming and support cooperative partnerships

· Ensure prompt submittal of all accounts payable and accounts receivable

· Process education program revenue deposits in a timely manner and provide reports to Administrative Specialist/Director of Administrative Operations

· Hires, supervises, disciplines, and trains staff on all aspects of the education department and zoo procedures

· Ensure ongoing professional development of current employees, striving for employees to provide top level service to all visitors at the zoo and in the community

· Formulate long-range plans of department employees

· Supervision of docent’s volunteer program including developing and supervising Docent, Zoo Crew and Jr. Zoo Crew programs and training

· Enforces HR and general administration policies and procedures in a professional manner.

· Administers and enforces safety training and protocols, and participates in emergency drills

· Maintains a clean & neat appearance and enforces the Zoo’s uniform dress code for all direct reports

· Adheres to and enforces Zoo’s policies and procedures, as outlined in the Employee Handbook.

· Constantly strive to further the mission of the organization and avidly supports the Zoo

· Implement sustainable practices in daily tasks whenever possible

· Prepare monthly departmental reports to the board

· Respond to customer/guest requests, comments, and complaints.

· Assist with researching and/or writing grants, assisting with educational aspects of all grants prepared (as needed)

· Other Duties as Assigned



· Bachelors Degree in Education, biology or related field and/or equivalent combination of training and experience required.


· Proof of a negative TB(Mantoux) test (to be done annually)

· At least 3 years’ professional experience required in education, teaching, and/or conservation, with previous zoo, aquarium or museum related experience preferred

· Science background that demonstrates knowledge of biology, zoology or a related natural science field

· Experience in developing educational or similar programs

· Previous supervisory experience preferred

· Previous experience coordinating camps, tours and other fee-based programs preferred.

· Previous experience delivering outreach education and developing outreach programming preferred.

· Experience managing and/or working with volunteers preferred

· Ability and willingness to handle exotic and domestic animals appropriately and with safe handling techniques preferred

· Ability and willingness to work weekends, evenings, and special events as the schedule demands

· Knowledge of conservation/biological/environmental teaching programs and interpretation.

· Knowledge of classroom management techniques and skills using teaching aids, including animals, biofacts, artifacts and library resources, preferred.

· Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to exercise good judgment and tact.

· Strong work ethic, self-motivated, sense of professionalism and confidentiality

· Writing, presentation, and organizational skills

· Strong interpersonal, communications, and organizational skills.

· Must be able to work under pressure, juggle multiple priorities, and meet deadlines. Must be able to deal effectively and tactfully with all levels of staff, Board Members, visitors, and others.

· High integrity; strong work ethic.

· Ability to perform a wide variety of duties and responsibilities with accuracy and speed under the pressure of time sensitive deadlines

· Ability to communicate effectively with others, both orally and in writing.

· Ability and willingness to quickly learn and use new skills and knowledge brought about by rapidly changing information and technology

· Exceptional computer skills, including in-depth knowledge of Microsoft office application

· Ability to work as a leader and part of a team

· Ability to interact with other staff, volunteers, and media while maintaining a positive attitude


· Must obtain and maintain a valid New York driver’s license within six months of employ


· This position regularly works with others including Zoo executives, employees & Board members, Zoo visitors and community members, media and government officials

· The position primarily functions indoors, with exposure to outdoor Zoo environments and external events

· Close visual acuity to perform an activity such as preparing and analyzing data and figures, viewing a computer terminal, and extensive reading

· Ability to receive detailed information through oral communication (in person and via telephone), at normal speaking levels with or without correction

· Expressing or exchanging ideas by means of the spoken word. The employee must convey detailed or important spoken information to others in small and large group settings.

· Hand and finger dexterity sufficient for typing and other administrative tasks

· Regular local travel required

· Must be willing to work weekends, holidays, and occasional after-hour assignments

· Must be able to work outdoors in all weather conditions and have the physical ability to perform strenuous work

· Must be capable of lifting 40 lbs or more


This job description is not intended to be all-inclusive. Therefore, the employee may be required to perform other reasonably related duties as assigned by the immediate supervisor or other management. The company reserves the right to revise or change job duties as business requirements dictate. It is mutually agreed that this job description does not constitute a written or implied contract of employment.

Utica Zoo is an Equal Opportunity Employer and provides a Smoke free and Drug-free Work Environment


  • 8 hour shift
  • Day shift
  • Holidays
  • Monday to Friday
  • Weekend availability

Ability to commute/relocate:

  • Utica, NY: Reliably commute or planning to relocate before starting work (Required)

Compensation and Benefits:

Job Type: Full-time

Pay: From $18.00 per hour; Union negotiations are pending; starting salary modifications may occur when negotiations are complete.


  • Employee assistance program
  • Employee discount
  • Health savings account
  • Paid time off
  • Retirement plan
  • Vision insurance

How to Apply:

Please send resume AND cover letter with salary requirements to OR fill out the application below.

Application materials without salary requirements will not be considered

Applications also accepted through Indeed.

Fill out my online form.

The Utica Zoo will be closed at 1:00pm on 8/3 for BREWFEST and will reopen with normal hours on 8/4!