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Chicago Master Gardener

A blog for Chicago Master Gardeners providing information on volunteer opportunities, training, workshops and resources.

NeighborSpace Job Opening

Posted by Ron Wolford -

NeighborSpace: Community Managed Open Space

Human Resources


Land Research & Conservation Specialist


Full-time (40 hours per week)


$40,000 per annum + benefits

About NeighborSpace:

NeighborSpace is a nonprofit "urban land trust" located in and serving the City of Chicago. Its mission is to conserve community gardens in Chicago as locally managed assets available for all to enjoy. NeighborSpace does this work by acquiring land on behalf of committed community groups and supporting over the long-term the community based management of the land as small parks, gardens, natural areas, river edges, and scenic landscapes. These spaces are open to the public and are generally used for passive recreation; preservation, conservation and educational public open spaces.

About the Position:

The Land Research and Conservation Specialist reports to the Executive Director. This position is responsible for research and acquisition duties related to the conservation of land by NeighborSpace, as well as for development duties related to the Land Conservation program.

The Land Research and Conservation Specialist will be expected to:

Professionally represent the organization in all related matters.

Conduct thorough research on projects to determine the best strategy to acquire properties on behalf of community groups.

Coordinate acquisition of properties approved by the Board and in accordance with organizational policies and protocol.

Establish and maintain effective working relationships with local government staff, elected officials, community leaders, vendors, and others.

Contribute to the internal well-being and external effectiveness of NeighborSpace.

Perform work both in the NeighborSpace office in downtown Chicago (the primary work location) and in the field throughout the City of Chicago as demanded by the needs of the program.

Specific Duties:

Developing and Promoting the Program:

Conduct progress evaluations of the program based on yearly and other periodic work plans.

Create a consistent and mission-supportive marketing and outreach message.

Create a consistent and mission-supportive marketing and outreach plan.

Help fundraise to support the program's ongoing development.

Explore and implement potential cost and time savings available from the adoption of state-of-the-art software.

Research, adopt and monitor policy that is compliant with LTA Best Practices.

Researching Land for Conservation:

Proactively research for at-risk open space in need of conservation from development.

Receive and review applications in a timely and consistent manner.

Strategically research neighborhoods with critical open-space conservation needs.

Acquiring Land for Conservation:

Effectively negotiate Board-approved acquisition or lease of public land.Effectively negotiate Board-approved acquisition of private land.


Master's degree in a related field (including urban planning, public policy, and environmental conservation).

Minimum of 5 year's experience in project management, including experience in community relations and outreach at the project management level.

Extensive real estate transaction experience, including ability to research, initiate, structure, negotiate and close transactions.

Strong competency in standard multimedia and design software (including Acrobat, Director, Fireworks, Flash, Freehand, and Photoshop).

Familiarity with Chicago, its issues, players, and politics.

Ability to combine sound business sense and judgment with commitment to the preservation of community managed open space.

Excellent written and verbal skills; excellent organizational skills; excellent people skills.

Strong attention to detail and follow through with an ability to maintain accurate records.

Availability to conduct periodic site visits.

Enthusiasm, creativity, commitment to mission and team work, and a desire to learn are a must.

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