Executive Director

Wild Bear Nature Center

Nederland, Colorado

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details 100,000 - 125,000
Required Experience 7+ years

Executive Director
Wild Bear Nature Center
August 2023

The Organization

Wild Bear Nature Center inspires a lifelong connection to nature and community through creative exploration of the outdoors. Specializing in mountain ecology, Wild Bear welcomes all visitors to its hands-on free Nature Center and provides year-round educational programs for people of all ages. With an annual budget of $550k, Wild Bear is now in a capital campaign and has launched construction of its permanent home at the gateway of almost 3,000 acres of Mud Lake and Caribou Ranch open spaces near Nederland, Colorado. 

The Board of Directors for Wild Bear Nature Center is seeking an experienced, visionary, inspirational, and innovative Executive Director to lead the organization in advancing its mission and impact.

The Opportunity

The next Executive Director (ED) joins the organization at a unique juncture in Wild Bear’s evolution as it completes construction in late 2024 of its new 8,500 sq. ft. net-zero nature center located on 5 acres of wilderness adjacent to the magnificent Indian Peaks Wilderness. The new nature center will be the nation’s highest net-zero nature center open year-round. It will be powered by the sun, giving energy back to the town of Nederland, and will include an exhibits gallery, spaces for exhibits, community program spaces, classrooms and a maker’s space, classroom learning, as well as an observation deck, outdoor amphitheater, nature playscape and an interpreted trail. Our new Nature Center will greatly expand Wild Bear’s capacity to grow nature center visitation and participation in nature programs for children, adults, families and groups from throughout Colorado’s Front Range. 

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director (ED) will have overall strategic, financial, and operational responsibility for delivering Wild Bear’s mission and vision. The ED will be responsible for staff leadership, development, and retention; program delivery; and overseeing a diverse funding stream of earned and fundraised revenue.

Key Responsibilities

Executive Leadership & Strategic Vision

  • Ensure that Wild Bear’s mission and vision is fulfilled through programs, exhibits and community outreach, while guiding the organization’s expansion into its new nature center
  • Collaborate with the Board and staff to develop 3 – 5-year strategic plans and set annual goals with the staff to implement the strategic plan
  • By your actions, model Wild Bear’s values for inclusivity and diversity with the Board, staff, and community
  • Serve as the public face of Wild Bear articulating the vision, mission, and strategic direction of the organization to all community stakeholders
  • Engage with the media and public to bring greater recognition to the organization

Fundraising & Donor Relations 

  • Serve as the organization’s lead fundraiser and engage personally with donors, expand partnerships, and develop unique revenue-generating opportunities to grow and diversity funding sources
  • Lead the Development Team to establish a fundraising strategy with clear annual goals and a detailed revenue development plan
  • Partner strategically and effectively with the Board to define and execute strategic fundraising, relationship building, and revenue generation/diversification goals
  • Provide strategic and operational leadership for capital and/or other long-term fundraising campaigns, earned income generation and growth, and special events including fundraisers and donor recognition opportunities

Promote Fiscal and Operational Objectives

  • Develop and manage an annual operational budget and oversee the current capital campaign budget through its current construction phase  
  • Collaborate with Treasurer and Board Finance Committee to oversee the planning, monitoring, and reporting of the budget-to-actuals, maintaining a sound financial basis that supports both short-term and long-term needs and objectives
  • Manage and cultivate the fiscal health of the organization, ensuring that strong internal structures and controls exist that ensure accurate financial reporting and monitoring and pave the way for operational success
  • Develop measurable goals and objectives while maintaining appropriate levels of internal controls and effective reporting metrics in order to provide transparent communications to the Board and internal stakeholders 
  • Ensure optimal allocation of resources to capitalize on efficiency and create impact
  • Ensure that exhibits, materials and facilities are maintained in good working order
  • Maintain official records and documents, strong reporting mechanisms to the public and IRS, and ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations

Board Governance

  • Communicate effectively with the Board and provide, in a timely and accurate manner, all information necessary for the Board to function properly and to make informed decisions
  • Attend all Board meetings and working committee meetings as appropriate
  • Work collaboratively with the Board to identify, recruit, and train new Board members to maintain a diverse and sustainable Board.

Attract, Develop, and Retain Staff and Culture

  • Recruit, develop, and retain a high performing, professional and diverse team
  • Develop and mentor staff while fostering a culture of trust, collaboration, and shared accountability
  • Cultivate a collaborative work culture and encourage professional development of team members
  • Promote a culture of inclusive excellence, establishing protocols that include diversity of experience and thought
  • Develop and support the executive leadership team while also cultivating talent for future leadership opportunities
  • Lead the team through growth and change.

Professional Experience, Characteristics & Qualifications

  • A minimum of five years of progressively increasing leadership experience in nonprofit management in nature center and nature education programming development, including nature education and/or museum/nature center management
  • A strong belief, understanding, and willingness to apply Wild Bear’s mission, vision, and values to all activities. A deep love and understanding of Earth’s living systems
  • An entrepreneurial, strategic, and innovative mindset with the ability to navigate through uncertainty with ease and a focus on organizational growth
  • A proven record of accomplishment developing and implementing strategic plans, preferably within an organization that is in a growth/expansion phase
  • Prior success identifying and diversifying revenue streams, securing new funding, and developing/cultivating new and existing donors
  • Strong aptitude analyzing financial statements, setting budget goals, monitoring progress, and overcoming obstacles to meeting goals
  • Prior success guiding initiatives from concept to successful implementation
  • Experience working with and/or serving on nonprofit governing boards 
  • Evidence of authentic commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, embodying an intersectional environmental ethic in community engagement, staff support, and fundraising 
  • Prior success building coalitions, partnerships, and alliances with the goal of creating impact and increasing reach
  • Ability to engage authentically with diverse stakeholders ranging from high-net-worth individuals to underrepresented community members
  • Evidence of strong business acumen and sound budget management
  • Strong computer skills such as Google Suite, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Canva, etc. 
  • Clean FBI background check 


  • A bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in a relevant field (e.g., non-profit administration, nature or environmental education, business, etc.) is preferred.  

Compensation and Benefits

The annual salary for this position is $100,000-$125,000 depending upon experience, with paid time off accrued monthly at 80 hours/year and 80 hours/year of personal time. Wild Bear offers a flexible work schedule and observes 11 paid holidays annually.  We provide a $150/month health stipend and an option to join a Kaiser Permanente plan. Wild Bear offers a 401K retirement plan option, and a 50% off childcare benefit for our programs. 


To Apply

To apply, please submit a current resume and cover letter to EDSearch@wildbear.org.

Wild Bear’s goal is to increase diversity amongst our staff. We provide equal employment opportunities and encourage all qualified applicants to apply without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other personal characteristics.  

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Admin & Leadership, Wildlife
Tags Nature Center, Outreach