Manager/Curator, Native Tree Nursery

Ausable River Association

Lake Placid, New York

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $58,000-$65,000, dependent on experience
Deadline Dec 11, 2023
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

The Ausable River Association (AsRA), a nonprofit conservation organization with a mission of advancing science and stewardship of Adirondack waters, seeks a qualified individual to serve as curator of our new native plant conservation nursery based at Uihlein Farm in Lake Placid. This is a hands-on leadership position that requires management of all aspects of a small nursery propagating native plants for use in streamside conservation restoration and for sale to private landowners. Nursery operations are fully funded for the initial two years. The nursery curator will be based in Lake Placid at the Uihlein Farm, home to the Ausable Conservation Nursery. 

The ideal candidate is a detailed-oriented and highly organized nursery or agricultural professional with a passion for native plants and their essential role in restoring native ecosystems. They are interested in being part of a growing organization dedicated to freshwater protection and habitat restoration. Beyond having agricultural and/or nursery knowledge to produce native plants from seeds and stems, the candidate needs skills and experience to oversee high tunnel construction and maintenance and the installation of deer fencing around a multi-acre outdoor nursery, purchase and maintain machinery and tools, and liaise with Uihlein Farm staff (partners in the nursery) to make improvements to the nursery grounds and engage their in-kind assistance. The curator will manage inventory, track grant expenses and request reimbursements, meet with advisors and AsRA science staff who can offer valuable support, supervise at least one part-time staffer in the first two years, and manage and work collegially with volunteers. The curator must be willing to work outdoors in all weather. The nursery will focus on five species initially: red-osier dogwood, silky dogwood, silky willow, Bebb’s willow, and red maple. Our goal is to propagate a hyperlocal ecotype that will have higher survival rates than plants from outside our immediate region. Strong communication skills are essential to this position as is a sense of humor, willingness to listen, ask questions, share ideas, solve problems, and work creatively and critically in service to the waterways we protect and the strong team of staff that make it successful. This position reports to the executive director and will work closely with the biodiversity research manager and other AsRA staff.

Core Responsibilities:

  • Manage and implement all aspects of the Ausable Conservation Nursery to facilitate the propagation, growth, harvest, storage, and in time, sale and planting of native species at target restoration sites.
  • Achieve the targets and goals, to the extent reasonable, of the startup grant funding of the project, tracking progress, reporting quarterly, and working to make amendments where needed.
  • Manage and track budgets and inventories working with AsRA finance and operations staff as needed.
  • Hire and retain part-time staff and develop a volunteer network to help the nursery achieve its goals.
  • Foster and maintain strong working relationships with Uihlein Farm and Foundation.
  • Engage coworkers, colleagues, experts, and the organization’s resources to move the project forward strategically and creatively.


  • Bachelor’s degree in relevant field and 3 to 5 years’ experience managing aspects of a nursery or farming enterprise. Experience may be considered as a partial replacement for academic credentials.
  • Experience in plant propagation (seed collection, cutting collection, storage, timing) and management.
  • Knowledge of woody plants and their requirements, specifically species native to the Adirondacks or the Northeast US.
  • Ability to identify native wild plants in the field at all stages of life or eagerness to learn.
  • Highly organized with strong speaking and writing skills; able to clearly articulate goals and processes.
  • Experience developing and managing budgets.
  • Experience managing and supporting others, especially volunteers.
  • Experience using small scale farming equipment, managing its use, repair, safety.
  • Humility, maturity, and situational sensitivity.
  • Valid driver’s license and a reliable vehicle for work-related travel (mileage is reimbursed).

Please send a resume, a detailed cover letter describing your interest and addressing each of the qualifications above and contact information for three professional references to hiring@ausableriver.org. We anticipate a competitive applicant pool. Please use your cover letter to fully describe your suitability for this position. Applications will be kept confidential on request.

Applications are due by close of business on Monday December 11, 2023. Interviews will begin in December. We hope to have a hire in place in January. Start date is as soon as possible.

For more information, please visit: https://www.ausableriver.org/about-us/employment

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

Category Botany
Tags Sustainable Agriculture