Director of Conservation OnePlan Development

Director of Conservation OnePlan Development

AZA’s Species Survival Institute


The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) has launched a new initiative called the Species Survival Institute with a mission to combine the power of zoo and aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA members and partners to save animals from extinction. The Institute will be an integral part of AZA with three primary areas of activity: Saving species in the wild and in zoos and aquariums, engaging people in conservation action, and conducting research and development projects to increase species sustainability and to strengthen the effectiveness of AZA member institutions in engaging people in conservation. AZA is integrating planning across all populations of a species simultaneously, including plans for the conservation of wild populations as well as for building the sustainability of populations in zoological institutions, an approach called “OnePlan.”


Reporting to the Senior Vice President for Conservation & Education, the Director of Conservation OnePlan Development is responsible for managing the process of developing comprehensive plans, species-by-species, which will advance the conservation of the species in the wild as well as the long-term sustainability of that species in zoos and aquariums. The Director of OnePlan Development also will be directly involved in research and development work to advance practices and policies related to species conservation and sustainability and related programs of AZA’s Species Survival Institute (SSI). This will include planning for both aquatic and terrestrial species as well as analyses and assessments to assist the drafting of policies and new methods for increasing species sustainability and public engagement in conservation action.


  • Directs and collaborates on the design and implementation of species OnePlans that address and prioritize the conservation and sustainability needs of all populations of each species both inside and outside their natural range.
  • Conducts needs assessments for each species, identifying conservation requirements for building sustainability of the species in the wild and in zoological collections and key audiences of stakeholders and partners needed to implement the OnePlan effectively.
  • Ensures that OnePlan development is coordinated across species to align conservation and sustainability efforts, engage all stakeholders, promote partnerships, eliminate redundancy, and identify fundraising needs and opportunities.
  • Facilitates OnePlan implementation for the SSI pilot species including attention to proper data management and follow-through on Breeding & Transfer Plan recommendations, acquisition of new founders, institutional commitments to adding space for breeding and holding, cooperation on the zoo- and aquarium-based aspects and the field conservation aspects of OnePlan implementation.
  • Assists with research and development work on new tools and policies to support SSI’s goals and objectives in saving species and engaging people in conservation action.
  • Advises and supports AZA’s animal management programs and committees, including Animal Welfare, Field Conservation, and Wildlife Conservation and Management regarding all aspects of OnePlan development and implementation.
  • Assists in developing budgets for conservation and sustainability activities.
  • Assists with preparation of midyear and annual Board reports, and participates in national and international meetings and workshops to represent AZA and SSI.
  • Assists with developing and delivering training related to the OnePlan approach.
  • Publishes relevant articles in journals, magazines, and professional and popular media.
  • Provides other forms of support for AZA’s animal conservation efforts as required.


  • Strong commitment to and understanding of the mission of accredited zoos and aquariums and deep knowledge and experience in animal science, field conservation, animal management, animal welfare, research, and program evaluation.
  • Skill in analyzing and interpreting scientific findings and in applying multi-disciplinary information to animal management and conservation program development.
  • Demonstrated experience and success in writing grant proposals and other documents that communicate clearly about science-based conservation and education programs.
  • Significant experience managing science-based professionals, with a motivational style that is collaborative, collegial, and team-oriented.
  • A proven record of building partnerships to conceive and implement innovative conservation and animal management programs.
  • Outstanding communication skills, poise, and confidence. Skilled in oral presentation of scientific information. Strong ability to represent AZA, its programs, and members and serve as a wildlife science voice to external audiences.
  • Proven ability to develop and implement objectives, strategies, and tactics. Skill in organizing and facilitating meetings, and implementing projects and programs.
  • A commitment to customer service, sound judgment, a sophisticated understanding of the dynamics of a membership organization, and the determination to work towards a common purpose. Skill in managing change.
  • The highest ethical standards, personal integrity, intelligence, good humor, resilience, energy, and spirit.


  • Ph.D. Degree in the Biological Sciences required.
  • Deep understanding of the practices, procedures, culture, and working environment of accredited zoos / aquariums.
  • Minimum of five years experience at a senior level in relevant zoological practice.
  • Excellent scientific and creative writing skills. Solid computer skills including MS-Office, population management, and other software applications.

How to apply

Send letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and references to:

Silver Spring, Maryland
The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)

8403 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD, 20910, US