Interpretive Program Coordinator - International Crane Foundation

International Crane Foundation


Interpretive Program Coordinator

Over the past 49 years, the International Crane Foundation has grown from the dream of two college students to a world-renowned conservation effort to save the world’s cranes and the flyways and habitats they frequent. The successful candidate will be a conservation-minded individual who thrives on bringing the story of our cranes to the public and training other staff to be strong, confident storytellers. If you are not currently a crane enthusiast, do not worry, you will become one fast in our mission-based organization.

What is it like to work at the International Crane Foundation? Prepare to be surrounded by people who are passionate about our mission, dedicated to the organization, and engaged with their fellow staff and associates. Our campus is located on 200+ acres of rolling prairies with trails. The Foundation operates a zoo that features all 15 of the world’s cranes. The salary range is $42,000 to $45,000, plus a nice benefits package. You will play a critical role in promoting and expanding our mission across the U.S. and 55 countries around the world. Does this sound like you?

Position summary:

The Interpretive Program Coordinator supports the mission of the International Crane Foundation by managing and leading on-site interpretive tours of the crane exhibits; plans, develops, and evaluates new and existing interpretive materials and services; represents the visitor program on the International Crane Foundation’s Safety Committee; manages the volunteer naturalist program and provides general oversight to the volunteer program by creating consistency in training and orientation across the institution. The incumbent coordinates and leads the training and supervision of seasonal interns and volunteers assigned to the Conservation Education Department (CED).

Essential duties and responsibilities:

  • Recruits, supervises, mentors, and evaluates CED interns and volunteer naturalists. Ensures that volunteers and interns represent the International Crane Foundation professionally and incorporate interpretive standards into creative and dynamic guided programs for the Foundation’s diverse audiences.
  • Develops, evaluates, and implements interpretive programs for various audiences that support the organization’s mission, such as thematic guided tours, school field trips, VIP groups, on-site special events – as related to the visitor program, and formal/informal presentations to enhance the understanding of cranes and threats to cranes and their diverse landscapes. Assists with providing daily oversight of the exhibits/interpretive area opening/closing procedures.
  • Coordinates and supervises the International Crane Foundation’s volunteer naturalist program, including organizing annual volunteer experience.
  • Provides oversight of the Foundation’s volunteer program in coordination with the Human Resources Director. Assists with matching the needs of International Crane Foundation departments and programs with the skills, interests, and availability of volunteers. Maintains current volunteer contact lists, administrative forms, waivers, personnel needs, and reporting duties for funding and audits.
  • Coordinates local Wisconsin outreach events; assists with the development of on-site events, as related to the visitor program; and contributes to the promotion of the Foundation’s Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited attraction.

Additional duties and responsibilities:

  • Represents the Visitor Program on the International Crane Foundation’s Safety Committee. Supervises, develops, and implements training modules associated with interpretation, opening/closing the visitor area/exhibits, and safety and emergency procedures for interns and volunteer naturalists.
  • Collaborates with staff to develop interpretive text for various interpretive media, including exhibit panels, brochures, program descriptions/outlines, video scripts, marketing materials, online resources, etc.
  • Coordinates with Site Facilities staff for the daily upkeep of visitor program facilities; opening/closing procedures of visitor program facilities for the season; and conducts emergency training drills with other departments.
  • Assists CED staff to develop and implement methods to evaluate naturalist guides, public programming, and the overall visitor experience to gauge the effectiveness of the Foundation’s key educational messages and visitor satisfaction.
  • Supports the Cranes of the World Managing Director in maintaining the visitor program and volunteer experience budget.
  • Assists the CED, Development, and Marketing and Communications staff to create meaningful, emotional, and intellectual connections with visitors, donors, and special guests.

Qualifications required:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Interpretation, Environmental Education/Studies, Natural Sciences, Biology, Education, or closely related field and no less than two years related environmental and/or education experience.
  • Experience developing, leading, evaluating, and implementing interpretive programs and products in a science/conservation/natural history-based informal education setting.
  • Experience leading a diverse workforce including training, mentoring, assigning, and directing work, assessing and communicating individuals’ work performance, and addressing and resolving employee issues.
  • Experience utilizing the basic features of Microsoft Word suites; e-mail, internet, and design software (e.g., Corel, Draw, Illustrator, or Photoshop).
  • Excellent verbal communication skills, including speaking clearly and persuasively to individuals and groups; listening effectively; responding well to questions from the general public.
  • Excellent written communication skills, including the ability to effectively draft correspondence and reports in a clear, concise, logical, and grammatically correct manner; and ability to vary writing style to meet the needs of the audience and media.
  • Valid state driver’s license and acceptable driving record.
  • Ability to develop new ideas or approaches to engage, educate, and inspire a diverse audience.
  • Ability to identify problems; collect, organize, and analyze information, and make appropriate decisions or recommendations within a defined scope of responsibilities.
  • Ability to work weekends and a variable schedule, especially during the visitor season (May 1 – October 31).
  • Work as a constructive member of a team, including the free sharing of information and technical expertise as needed.
  • Attentive to detail and thoroughness.
  • Demonstrate respect and sensitivity for others; inspire trust; and work with integrity and ethically.
  • Quickly, effectively, and continually adapt to changes in work environment and duties, processes, and technologies.

Preferred qualifications:

  • NAI (National Association for Interpretation) training and certification.
  • Experience recruiting, training, and hiring employees.

Physical abilities and work environment:

The physical abilities and work environment characteristics described below are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Ability to operate a computer and phones.
  • Ability to communicate with fellow staff, visitors, and donors. Communication will include both one-to-one communication, small, and large group communication.  Communications need to be in English. Communication means both written and oral communication.
  • Ability to stand or sit at a workstation for 5 to 7 hours a day.
  • Occasionally required to lift and move items up to 20 pounds.
  • Ability to lead tours across our site outdoors during the spring, summer, and fall seasons in all types of weather.

The work environment includes office work and giving tours during the visitor season. The office environment is clean and climate-controlled. Tours are given outside and can be given on hot, humid days and in light rain.

To apply send a resume and cover letter to  Please put “Interpretive Program Coordinator” in the subject line.

The International Crane Foundation is committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion. We hire great people.

The International Crane Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.