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Ecologist - Nature Preserves

Date Posted:  Nov 23, 2022
Requisition ID:  415389

Indianapolis, IN, US, 46204


Work for Indiana

Grow your career with the State of Indiana! With more than 50 executive branch agencies, the State of Indiana is a diverse workforce offering employees stimulating and challenging projects across a broad scope of career opportunities. As a State of Indiana employee, you impact the well-being of Indiana’s communities every day.


At the State of Indiana, we don’t just talk about diversity and inclusion – Our goal is to create a welcoming, accessible, and equitable workplace, with a workforce that is representative of the State of Indiana population. As a proud equal opportunity employer, reasonable accommodations may be available to enable individuals with disabilities to interview and to perform the essential functions of a role.


Next Level benefits at the State of Indiana are here! Be sure to review our expanded benefit package offerings below.


About the DNR Division of Nature Preserves:


The Division of Nature Preserves identifies, protects, and manages an array of nature preserves and natural areas in sufficient numbers and sufficient sizes to maintain viable examples of all of Indiana's natural communities. We seek to manage and maintain viable populations of endangered, threatened, and extirpated species.   We currently support more than 290 dedicated nature preserves that comprise over 53,000 acres.


Role Overview:


The Ecologist for Nature Preserves develops and supports plans to sustain habitat for public and private preserves.  You will assist in identifying  trends and challenges in your assigned region and to create a plan for interventions and enhancements.

This position requires  knowledge of Central Indiana ecosystems, effective outeach, collaborative partnerships, and collaborate interventions.


This position oversees the Central Indiana region.  A map is available here:


A Day in the Life:


The essential functions of this role are as follows:

  • Plan long- and short-range goals, priorities and deadlines for the optimal operation and management of designated nature preserves or forests in Indiana.
  • Disseminate information to division staff, the public, educational institutions, and scientific organizations regarding the management of the flora. 
  • Review and submit operation, maintenance, and capital project requests to division leadership. 
  • Enlist aid and cooperation of various public or private natural resource managers. 
  • Coordinate and direct all division activities including work sequence, priorities, and manpower.
  • Solicit voluntary assistance through schools and governmental agencies for classifying plants, animals, solids, and geological features and for maintenance of the division's properties under management including both public and private.
  • Recruit, select, onboard, and train employees to ensure role responsibilities and expectations are clearly understood while providing opportunities to continue professional development. 
  • Set expectations, measure progress, provide ongoing feedback, and evaluate the performance of employees. Ensure work adheres to quality standards, deadlines, and proper procedures. 


Additional Responsibilities for Nature Preserves Ecologists

  • Evaluate and recommend to the Natural Resources Commission unique floral, faunal and geological features that warrant dedication of areas as nature preserves.
  • Prepare and write annual reports and all other reports and information on a divisional level. 

The job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee. Other duties, responsibilities and activities may change or be assigned at any time.  

What You'll Need for Success:


You must meet the following requirements to be considered for employment:

  • Bachelor’s Degree that provides basis for ecology including biology, zoology, marine biology, environmental science, wildlife conversation, botany, or another related field. Advanced degree is preferred.
  • Extensive knowledge of the natural sciences including botany, biology, zoology, and geology.
  • 3-5 years of field experience is preferred. 
  • Working knowledge of management practices associated with maintenance and operation of designated nature preserves or central hardwood forest plant communities. 
  • Analytical, oral, and written skills as related to such duties as annual reports, instruction and training of subordinates and information giving to public and private agencies.
  • Extensive knowledge of legal repercussions stemming from agency actions.
  • Ability to develop a cooperative work relationship with those inside and outside the organization.
  • Ability to implement administrative planning techniques to meet program goals, priorities, and deadlines.
  • Specialized knowledge of natural resources inventory methods, including interpretation of soil and topographic maps, aerial photos, GIS, and species identifications. 
  • Ability to solicit cooperation of private landowners and interested groups upon whose property unique biota resides to manage and maintain those populations. 
  • Ability to delegate work, set clear direction, and manage workflow. 
  • Ability to effectively give feedback, provide guidance or corrective action, coach, and develop employee skill sets. 

Supervisory Responsibilities/Direct Reports:

This role does not provide direct supervision to direct reports.


Benefits of Employment with the State of Indiana:


The State of Indiana offers a comprehensive benefit package for full-time employees which includes: 

  • Three (3) medical plan options (including RX coverage) as well as vision and dental plans
  • Wellness program (offers premium discount for the medical plan and gift cards)
  • Health savings account, which includes bi-weekly state contribution
  • Flexible work scheduling options, including the potential for hybrid remote work for employees whose work may be performed outside state facilities
  • Deferred compensation 457B account (similar to 401k plan) with employer match
  • Two (2) fully-funded pension plan options
  • A robust, comprehensive program of leave policies covering a variety of employee needs, including but not limited to:
    • 150 hours of paid new parent leave
    • Up to 15 hours of paid community service leave
    • Combined 180 hours of paid vacation, personal, and sick leave time off
    • 12 paid holidays, 14 on election years
  • Education Reimbursement Program
  • Group life insurance
  • Referral Bonus program
  • Employee assistance program that allows for covered behavioral health visits
  • Qualified employer for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
  • Free Parking for most positions
  • Free LinkedIn Learning access





This position traditionally starts at an annual salary of $47,320 to $66,222, commensurate with education and job experience.


Equal Employment Opportunity:


The State of Indiana is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Current Employee? Click here to apply.

Nearest Major Market: Indianapolis