Stewardship & Education Program Director

Friends of the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River is one of the world’s great rivers, a natural resource of global significance. Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) is a leading nonprofit that protects, restores and enhances the Mississippi River and its watershed primarily in the Twin Cities region. The organization has become a national model for conservation and watershed protection. Our goals are to: improve water quality; conserve important lands; engage people in learning about and taking action to protect and enhance the river; inspire widespread commitment to this natural wonder flowing through our community; and protect our river’s unique scenic, natural, cultural and recreational qualities.

The organization has an annual budget of $4 million and employs a dedicated, professional staff of 25 who work to improve the health of the river through policy advocacy, education and engagement, land conservation and restoration and other disciplines. Over 30 years, FMR has established deep relationships and credibility with thousands of local residents, landowners, neighborhood organizations, volunteers, government agencies and elected officials.

With a well-known and respected brand, a seasoned and effective staff, a strong Board of Directors, and an ever-growing base of support, FMR is poised for continued growth and success. The workplace culture at FMR is collaborative and fun, and staff share a common love of the river and dedication to the mission of the organization.

FMR believes the Mississippi River connects us all, and that social and environmental issues are woven together. Its gifts should flow equally to everyone in our community. We strive to be culturally competent, welcoming and inclusive of all people and are committed to using our resources and influence to redress structural inequality where it intersects with the health and vitality of the Mississippi River.

The Position
The Stewardship & Education Program Director leads and manages FMR’s work to engage thousands of people each year in activities that connect them with the river and help them to take actions to protect and enhance it.

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Stewardship & Education Director leads the Stewardship & Education team (which currently includes the director and five full and part-time staff) and works closely with other staff who coordinate the organization’s land restoration, fundraising, communications and grassroots advocacy work.

FMR’s Stewardship & Education program strives to cultivate connections between individuals, communities and the river that inspire an ethic of active participation in stewardship and conservation. Through this program, we annually engage nearly 4,000 people in 150+ environmental education and volunteer stewardship events. We’re also working to foster the next generation of river stewards through our growing youth programs, in opportunities like storm drain stenciling, classroom lessons, on-site stewardship activities, community science, and mentorship and internship programs. In addition, the director works to support the continued development of a Collaborative Pathways program, a cross-organizational effort aimed at diversifying the racial and cultural makeup of mainstream environmental organizations’ staff in Minnesota.

This position is right for a professional with experience developing, leading, and growing support for education and volunteer programs for youth and adults. The ideal candidate will have a passion for and a desire to engage diverse audiences through innovations in program design and engagement.

Serve as a key member of FMR’s senior management team
Provide leadership, direction, management, and evaluation of FMR’s Stewardship & Education Program, including the development of the annual program budget and work plans
Inspire, lead, support, and supervise FMR’s Stewardship & Education staff and interns
Lead the implementation of the program’s multi-year strategic plan
Oversee the development and growth of FMR’s youth programming including the Environmental Stewardship Institute (now in its second year)
Develop, coordinate and present personal behavior change and educational workshops and restoration events for community members to benefit of water quality, habitat, and the river
Oversee the Stewardship Team’s work to plan, promote, recruit and coordinate school and community group involvement in our suite of education and stewardship programs
Work closely with the Communications Director and other staff to ensure outreach, communications and messaging are effective
Work closely with the Development Director to raise funds to support the program’s work, including drafting grant proposals and reports and building relationships with funders
Work closely with the Land Conservation Director and department staff to coordinate stewardship needs, opportunities, and events at FMR’s 40+ habitat resotration sites
Identify and foster positive working relationships with partner organizations, local governments, state and federal agencies, and community leaders to inform our work and attain program goals
Commitment to and passion for the mission of Friends of the Mississippi River
Experience developing, managing and delivering education, volunteer or youth programs
Experience in partnership development, stakeholder engagement, or program management roles
Relationship-building and networking skills, with the ability to engage and collaborate with public, private, nonprofit and community organizations.
Ability to organize, lead, and inspire teams of staff, interns, volunteers, activists and coalition partners
Exceptional interpersonal communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively
Excellent written and verbal communication skills and comfort speaking and presenting to groups
Experience writing and managing program and project grants, budgets, and workplans, including grant applications, reporting, and evaluation
Strong organizational skills including the ability to plan work, meet deadlines, and balance multiple projects and priorities
Ability to work a flexible schedule, including occasionally long hours, some evenings and weekends
Reliable personal vehicle for transportation to project sites
Salary & Benefits
This is a full-time position. The salary range is $74,000 – $80,000, commensurate with experience. Benefits include health; dental and short-term disability insurance; a retirement plan with employer match; and generous paid vacation, sick, personal and holiday leave.

To apply
To apply, please consolidate your application into one PDF document that includes: a cover letter summarizing your interest in and qualifications for the position; a 1-2 page résumé; and the names, titles, email addresses, and phone numbers of three professional references (or two professional and one personal reference). Please include your last name in the file name and email it as an attachment with “Stewardship & Education Program Director” as the subject line to Monica Bierma ( sends e-mail)).

The position will remain open until filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply by September 8, 2023.

Learn more about Friends of the Mississippi River and our commitment to advancing equity.

Application Deadline:
Friday, September 8, 2023