Detroit Zoological Society
  • Nature Centers
  • Royal Oak, MI, USA
  • Salary
  • Full-time

Full medical, dental and 401k benefits. Generous paid time off, Zoo membership and more!

The Nature Center Manager, under general supervision, is responsible for overseeing all Nature Center staff and operations at a DZS-operated nature center (Belle Isle Nature Center or Great Lakes Nature Center). He/she is responsible for overseeing, scheduling and facilitating all operational and programmatic functions, including animal care and welfare, educational program implementation and facility maintenance. 

The Nature Center Manager will support, both publicly and privately, the principles of the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS).  He/She will support and enhance a clean, safe, enjoyable, and educational experience at all DZS facilities by actively engaging in the enforcement of Customer Service Standards, and specifically by knowing and understanding the DZS' "SCOPE" of service, animal care, community relations and zoo appearance guidelines; by enforcing safety and security policies, and following all other policies set by the organization through the Employee Handbook. The Nature Center Manager will maintain a professional manner when dealing with all constituencies and always preserve a high level of integrity, professionalism and confidentiality. 

This job description is by no means all-inclusive and may be subject to change during a performance period due to the needs of the Detroit Zoological Society and its leadership.  This document will be reviewed on a continual basis and will be modified as needed.

 Authority and Accountability

The Nature Center Manager has the authority to carry out the job requirements and responsibilities and is accountable to the Nature Centers Director.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Supervise directly/indirectly education specialists, zookeepers, volunteers, instructor aides, part-time staff and consultants.
  • Assist in the design and creation of visitor interactive exhibits, displays and signage.
  • Implement programs to educate and inform visitors, the general public and community organizations regarding wildlife conservation, humane education and environmental stewardship.
  • Assist in the development, production and installation of educational, informational and directional signage, maps and displays.
  • Draft grants for new funding opportunities for programming.
  • Oversee and supplies post-reward progress reports to grantors as required.
  • Manage building maintenance and building repairs with the DZS Staff and contractors.
  • Collaborate with the appropriate departments to create and manage the Nature Center annual budget.
  • Oversee the planning, coordination, promotion and facilitation of events.
  • Analyze and manage, in a proactive manner, both the financial and the operational performance of the facility.
  • Oversee programs to develop and maintain community awareness and support wildlife conservation, humane education, and environmental stewardship.
  • Such other duties and responsibilities as may be assigned.
  • Note: The intent of this list of primary duties is to provide a representative summary of the major duties and responsibilities of this job.  Incumbents perform other related duties as assigned. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary based upon departmental needs. 

Working Conditions

Work is performed indoors in a typical office environment and frequently outdoors, with exposure to all seasonal weather conditions. Frequent exposure to the public by guiding and speaking to small and large groups.

Physical Requirements

Able to perform essential functions which typically involve seeing well enough to read standard text, often on video display monitors; speaking, lecturing and giving clear instructions; standing or walking to guide small and large groups. Must be able to lift and carry up to 20 pounds.


Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities


  • One to two years of experience in maintaining building operations.
  • Graduation from a university of recognized standing with specialization in general science education, zoology, biology, environmental science, mathematics or technology.
  • Three to five years of experience in planning, developing and implementing educational and informational dissemination programs is desirable.
  • Two years of experience in leading a team.
  • Must demonstrate financial and operational management skills.
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule, including being "on-call".
  • Must have strong ability and willingness to develop and maintain effective working relationships and the ability to interact with tact and diplomacy with the public, departmental personnel, media representatives and others.
  • Knowledge of instructional strategies and techniques in delivering information.
  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
  • Ability to acquire additional skill and knowledge through study and training.


  • Preferably advanced academic training in general education, youth development, and science (zoology, biology, environmental science etc).
  • Three-five years of administrative or supervisory experience with youth programs.
  • Experience managing a science or nature center
  • Experience with animal care



Detroit Zoological Society
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