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IPRA Job Board

 $90,889 - $109,557 annually DOQ/DOE

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is a governmental agency responsible for the management of 70,000 acres of diverse natural areas and public open spaces within the Chicago metropolitan area.

We are seeking a Deputy Director to assist with leading the Department of Resource Management in all aspects of its operations, staff and personnel. The department consists of approximately 60 fulltime employees who are responsible for the preservation, restoration, and protection of natural areas within one of the oldest and largest forest preserve districts in the United States. The selected Deputy Director will have broad experience in largescale natural areas management and conservation, as well as the ability to supervise a work force of skilled professionals of varying technical disciplines.

Candidates will draw on expertise in forestry, restoration, and ecology to guide land management activities while giving due consideration to the region’s natural and cultural heritage, native plant communities, and wildlife. The Deputy Director position will require the ability to effectively oversee the planning and implementation of multi-phase projects and grant partnerships, while fostering positive relationships with staff, volunteers, contractors, the public, partners, and other government agencies. Candidates should demonstrate comprehension of the unique challenges and pressures associated with working within a densely populated urban-wildland interface.

This position provides senior managerial support for a department consisting of the following sections: Wildlife, Fisheries, Ecology, Resource Field Operations, Project Management, and Conservation Corps workforce training programs.


B.S. degree (minimum) in forestry, ecology, biology, or related natural science field.

Eight (8) years or more full-time work experience in forestry, forest recreation, ecosystem management, or natural resource management.

• Experience or knowledge in sustainable forestry practices, ecosystem restoration, horticulture, arboriculture, fisheries and wildlife management

• Familiarity with prescribed fire for ecosystem management

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills

• Knowledge of invasive and non-native plant, animal and insect species and the appropriate management techniques

• Familiarity with the use of geographic information systems and other relevant technologies

• Ability to develop policy, and navigate governmental procedures and regulations

• Skill in establishing and maintaining effective relationships with employees, government officials, partner organizations, grantors, outside agencies and the general public


The Department of Resource Management executes the core mission of the Forest Preserves “…to preserve, protect, restore and restock natural areas of the County.” The department assesses the ecological health of the Forest Preserves’ holdings and designs restoration projects to enhance the Forest Preserves’ many prairies, savannas, woodlands, wetlands and other significant habitats, often in collaboration with other conservation organizations and agencies. It coordinates the work of private contractors and administers cooperative agreements to execute restoration, tree planting, and vegetation removal projects. This work is conducted within a framework of ambitious conservation goals and initiatives established by the Forest Preserves’ Next Century Conservation Plan (, in accordance with principles set forth in the Forest Preserves’ Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan. One such goal includes the restoration of 30,000 acres to Illinois Natural Areas Inventory quality in 25 years.

Resource Management staff monitor and collect data on plant and wildlife populations in partnership with researchers and other agencies to further understanding of the region’s biodiversity. The department is responsible for maintaining natural public open space, including 40+ lakes and waterbodies to facilitate public recreational fishing opportunities. It operates regional field crews to conduct hazardous tree removal and trail maintenance in the interest of public safety, as well as woody and herbaceous vegetation management programs which involve the seasonal application of prescribed fire. Additionally, the department coordinates year-round conservation-based workforce training and internship programs for at-risk youth and young adults.


To be considered, please submit your cover letter, resume, and a list of three professional references by 5 p.m. on Friday, December 3, 2021 to Resumes should reflect years and months of positions held, as well as the size of the previous program or department you have managed or administered.

Resumes will be screened and candidates with the most relevant qualifications will be invited to interview.

For more information or to view a complete job description, please see:

 Forest Preserves of Cook County


John McCabe

 Closing Date

December 3, 2021  Print