Founded in 1964, Delaware Nature Society (DNS) has been a leading environmental nonprofit organization in the region, working to protect the environment and connect people to nature. DNS is the state affiliate for the National Wildlife Federation and is renowned for its educational programming, conservation and land management leadership, and advocacy efforts that provide the tools for communities to take action and improve the environment.
Delaware, like most places in the world, is experiencing the consequences of a changing climate. Instilling an understanding and appreciation of the natural world and the important role every individual plays in its ability to thrive has become paramount to the survival of future generations. DNS believes that healthy ecosystems are a right of all people and improving them is a responsibility it shares.
Headquartered at Ashland Nature Center, Delaware Nature Society owns or manages 2,000 acres of land managed for biodiversity, wildlife habitat and education. Thousands of members, donors and volunteers annually contribute time, talent and treasure in support of this important work. With its environmental partners and network of citizen activists, DNS continues to work proactively, through a scientific, fact-based approach, to protect Delaware’s natural resources while developing positions and policy action on more than 50 issues at the federal, state, and local levels.
Through its Citizen Science programs, volunteers apply their knowledge of natural history and science to track and measure water and soil quality, bird populations and hawk migration. In partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, DNS promotes sustainable gardening practices and certifies properties as official Backyard Wildlife Habitats. It also identifies and counts migrant raptors for the Hawk Migration Association of North America and Delaware Department of Natural Resources.
DNS educational programs reach 68,000 program participants each year with over 300 year-round outdoor programs in environmental science, natural history, agriculture, and cultural history for all ages. Its RENEW program (Reaching and Engaging through Nature to Empower Wilmington) provides a ladder of engagement for Black and Brown children, teens and young adults from Wilmington neighborhoods.
DNS protects 500 acres through conservation easements and deed restrictions and promotes conservation through direct gifts, conservation easements, and land management consultation. Through its leadership in convening conservation coalitions, DNS achieved a permanent funding stream for open space and for farmland preservation and a dedicated fund for clean water for Delaware.
Delaware Nature Society seeks an executive director who is an accomplished leader and demonstrates passion for the organization’s mission. This person must be ready to join with the board and staff to lead DNS in pursuing strategic goals and initiatives in land protection, advocacy/policy, conservation, education, and community engagement through proven abilities in strategic leadership, fundraising, program management and oversight, collaborative ventures, and constituency building. A creative thinker with an entrepreneurial spirit is strongly preferred.
Because environmental injustices disproportionately affect communities of color or low-socioeconomic status, DNS is committed to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in its work. The successful candidate will have an unwavering commitment to grow Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice initiatives throughout the organization (board, staff, membership, community involvement). Reaching new and diverse audiences is key to success.
The ideal candidate will have a sophisticated understanding of relationship-driven philanthropy, partnership, and constituent management. Proven success in raising significant resources from individuals, foundations, corporations and public entities on behalf of a nonprofit organization is important.
The successful candidate will exhibit exceptional interpersonal skills to effectively interact with board, staff, environmental advocates and policy leaders, governmental officials, donors, and other key stakeholders. The candidate must be able to articulate the mission of DNS to a variety of constituents and make effective and efficient external communication a priority. This individual must be confident, thoughtful, and have the appropriate skills and presence to work in an effective, collegial and collaborative manner with stakeholders across the state and region.
The ideal candidate will be both a strong and effective leader and listener with an inclusive, team-oriented management style that inspires, empowers, motivates, and develops staff. The candidate will also have a keen ability to establish and maintain a productive and positive organizational culture with all stakeholders (i.e. staff, board, donors, members and partners).
Candidates with for-profit executive leadership experience will also be considered. A genuine connection to nature and environmental science is essential. In summary, proven leadership, management and fund development skills are required along with excellent public relations, oral and written communication skills.
For more information about the Delaware Nature Society, visit https://www.delawarenaturesociety.org/
Delaware Nature Society is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.