Job Listings

Director- Native Seed Program

Austin Peay State University
Job Location:
Clarksville, 37044
Sponsored Programs, Grants, and Contracts
Position Summary

Grassland loss is the single greatest conservation issue currently facing eastern North American biodiversity. Our precious Southern grasslands are nearly extinct and the species that depend on them are fading fast. Many of our Southern grasslands that managed to persist through the past 200 years have disappeared in the past quarter-century. What will the next 25 years bring? As a conservation community we are only now realizing how extensive our grasslands used to be. If we want to reverse the tide of grassland biodiversity loss, our response must be rapid as well as unparalleled in its magnitude. This is an immensely complex and ambitious challenge that will take some of the brightest and most creative minds in American conservation and philanthropy to solve. The Southeastern Grasslands Institute formed in 2017 to provide leadership in grassland biodiversity conservation across a 24-state region of the eastern U.S. Are you ready to join the SGI team?

Austin Peay State University's (APSU) Southeastern Grasslands Institute (SGI) invites applications for a Native Seed Program Director. This is a full-time, non tenure track position. The successful candidates primary role will be to oversee all operations of the Native Seed program, including grant writing; project planning, monitoring, and reporting; managing grant budgets; liaising with funding agencies, partners, and local stakeholders; identifying contractors and managing contracts; managing the Native Seed Program team; hiring staff; attending strategic meetings at local and national levels; assisting with the implementation of the National Seed Strategy in the Southeast U.S.; and broadly, coordinating the development of an infrastructure to improve native ecotype seed quality and quantity across the region.

The Director of the Native Seed Program will also oversee the Seeds of Success-Southeast program, in close collaboration with the Seeds of Success National Curator, which includes 10 southeastern U.S. states: AL, AR, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, and VA.

This position will entail a large amount of program development and management, partner cultivation, coalition building, fundraising, grant writing, and travel. This position will supervise a full-time Native Seed Program Manager, a part-time Communications Officer; a part-time SOS Collections Coordinator, and seasonal field technicians; and will work closely with other SGI team members (such as the Chief Conservation Officer, Chief of Staff, the Director of Stewardship, and the Volunteer Coordinator) and partner organizations. All work will be coordinated closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters Office and the National Seeds of Success Curator. The Director will report to SGI's Chief Conservation Officer.

SGI, affiliated with the Center of Excellence for Field Biology at Austin Peay State University, is a dynamic organization where we celebrate, support and strive to promote diversity, equality and inclusion, and are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, gender identity or Veteran status.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities
  • Advance the development and implementation of SGI's Native Seed Program, focused on native seed collection of grassland, woodland, and wetland species needed for ecological restoration, and provide direction for all aspects of the program, from hiring staff and interns, to establishing research and implementing a seed collection/storage strategy and native plant materials development.
  • Manage a team consisting of Native Seed Program Manager, SOS Collections Coordinator, Communications Officer, and seasonal technicians.
  • Provide coordination of SOS-Southeast facilitating communications between U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service central office and regional offices, BLM, and regional collecting crews and stakeholders.
  • Take the lead in writing and preparing grant proposals to procure major funding of large grants from sources such as the National Science Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, private foundations, corporate grants, and federal (NRCS, ARS, FWS, FS, BLM, DOD, BIA) and state government sources.
  • Maintain existing collaborations and partnerships and establish new ones to help guide the development of SGI's Native Seed Program and SOS-Southeast.
  • Oversee and monitor budget and deliverables of four grants within the Native Seed Program.
  • Oversee the USDA-NRCS-TN funded Plant It Forward grant, focused on seed collection and reintroduction within TN.
  • Identify contractors, draft Requests for Proposals, and manage contracts, in collaboration with SGI Chief of Staff and Technical Clerk.
  • Work closely with SGI's existing team of ecologists, biologists, grassland coordinators, volunteer coordinator, volunteers, technical clerk, interns, and faculty from APSU's Center for Field Biology and Department of Biology, other APSU staff, and team members at partner institutions.
  • Attend SOS training as needed to receive latest updates on SOS technical protocol.
  • Coordinate with SOS and USFWS National Curator to develop southeastern specific training materials as needed.
  • Coordinate with APSU and SGI staff to make necessary plans, improvements, and renovations to the designated space within the Southeastern Grasslands Institute (headquarters for SGI) to accommodate the emerging needs of the Native Seed Program program.
  • Lead the development of written materials (brochures, informational packets) and other communications (including website updates) needed to support education, outreach, and dissemination (including social media posts, video development, webinars, etc.), reporting (interim and final reports) and policy, in conjunction with SGI/APSU/USFWS/BLM communications teams.
  • Coordinate the Southeast Native Seed Network, a coalition of regional and state stakeholders (including representatives of seed production, federal agencies, academia, NGOs, landowners, etc.) within and beyond our 10-state focal region for SOS-Southeast, to improve native seed planning, procurements strategies, seed increase and deployment for restoration across the region.
  • Work with universities, botanic gardens, growers, research partners, and others to develop and collaborate on seed research projects.
  • Oversee the planning, prioritization, collection, cleaning, shipping, storage, research, and production of native seeds of grassland, woodland, wetland species needed for ecosystem restoration within the southeastern US.
  • Travel as needed both in and out of state to develop and support the program and meet with partners/advisors in different regions (travel budget provided).
  • Serve as the primary liaison between SGI and SOS National Curator and USFWS Partners Program regarding administrative and higher-level program matters.
  • Train new hires, professionals, private landowners, and volunteers in native seed collection and processing.
  • Publicize the program through presentations in general public and professional venues, webinars, articles in popular and professional publications, and brochures.
  • Occasionally join or assist other SGI SOS-Southeast Staff in obtaining permits, organizing field trips, collecting and documenting plant materials, participating in volunteer events, propagating and maintaining plant materials according to the highest professional standards.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
  • Knowledge of and prior experience implementing SOS Seed Collection Protocols.
  • Demonstrated experience with project management, leadership, motivating and inspiring others as part of a team environment.
  • Proven experience developing, implementing and completing projects.
  • Experience with writing project reports, publications, and/or grant proposals.
  • Strong commitment to ensuring that diversity and inclusion are considered throughout all aspects of our program.
  • Budgeting and fiscal management experience.
  • Evidence of good character, mature attitude, and professional integrity.
  • Must have very good interpersonal skills and ability to communicate with a wide variety of audiences including laypeople, volunteers, private landowners, interns, academics, business leaders, agency personnel, donors, and other professionals.
  • Must have excellent communication skills, both in writing and in oral communication as well as excellent presentation abilities.
  • Preferred proficiency with ESRI ArcGIS products, including Collector and Survey123.
Required Minimum Qualifications
  • Minimum of a B.S. in Botany, Ecology, Conservation or related field plus 5 years of professional experience or a M.S. in one of these fields plus 3 years of professional experience . The successful candidate should have a strong emphasis in plant-related academic training and/or experience.
  • Experience in native seed science, practice, and policy.
  • Excellent knowledge of the native seed supply chain, including current challenges and opportunities.
  • Good knowledge of established protocols and literature on native seed collection, processing, and storage (e.g., SOS protocol, International Standards for Native Seed in Restoration, FAO, etc.).
  • Experience managing a team of employees.
  • A background check will be required of the successful candidate.
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