Under the general supervision and direction of the Conservation & Experiential Programming Management Team, assumes responsibility for all aspects of the District’s overall offerings, including, seasonal events, outdoor nature based recreation, youth development programming, partnership development and campground programming as the leader of one of five teams around the County. Provides planning, implementation and evaluation of nature based and outdoor recreation programs and partnerships in a specific zone (north, central, or south) or program area (campgrounds or outreach) or other work location as assigned. Works with all members of the Conservation and Experiential Programming Department to develop a comprehensive programming plan, that includes direct programming, partner programming, school-based programming and a variety of community engagement activities for the assigned team. In addition, is responsible for assisting with the development of a recruitment process and supervision of year-round and seasonal staff. Serves as a District liaison to the community and programming partners, and other contractors providing recreation programming. In addition, performs delegated tasks in managing the delivery of recreational and nature-based programs and services and partnership development and liaison work throughout the District and exercises initiative and independent judgment in the general management and supervision of assigned duties.

Typical Duties

Assists in the creation, planning, implementation, and evaluation of a comprehensive recreational program, which includes year-round events and recreational activities.

Manages and/or monitors program staff and overall staff at District campgrounds.

Assists and supports special events, activities and programs and collaborates with other partners to develop interagency coordinated programs.

Establishes and maintains liaison with community groups and organizations to identify and assess community needs, develop, and modify programs, initiate action and guide implementation to improve services and establish effective marketing plans to increase program participation.

Serves as a committee member or project team member to create or modify zone based recreational programs, fee structures, policies, and related ordinances through a consensus agreement.

Makes recommendations to develop or modify nature based and outdoor recreation programs budgets and allocates resources in accordance with the principles and practices of program-based budgeting.

Assists and supports the development of reports on all nature based and outdoor recreation program activities and/or the campground operations to include daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal operational data.

Plans, schedules, coordinates, and assigns work and establishes goals and priorities for employees.

Initiates and recommends disciplinary action for employees as necessary.

Resolves problems encountered by employees during their employment.

Implements safety standards and develops procedures to ensure compliance.

Recommends and coordinates safety, maintenance, and repair functions of programming equipment with the other departments.

Provides input and assist in leading the development of District policy and planning as they relate to department programs, services, and operations.

Conducts and supervises special studies and projects relative to trends, current and/or projected usage, and other aspects of recreational planning, programming, and operations.

Performs other duties as required or assigned which are reasonably within the scope of duties described.

Establishes and maintains excellent communication with program partners, campground management staff and managerial team, maintenance staff, police staff, patrons, and other key stakeholders.

Drives to various District facilities on a regular basis.

Minimum Qualifications

Must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in education, natural or environmental sciences, outdoor recreation, business or arts administration, urban planning, communications or a substantially similar area from an accredited college or university AND at least four years of work experience in education, nature education, outdoor recreation, or other similar programming OR an associate’s degree in education, natural or environmental sciences, outdoor recreation, business or arts administration, urban planning, communications or a substantially similar area from an accredited college or university AND at least six years of work experience in education, nature education, outdoor recreation or other similar programming. OR a high-school diploma or GED AND at least ten years of work experience in education, nature education, outdoor recreation, or other similar programming.

Must possess current valid driver’s license.

Preferred Qualifications

Ability to communicate in Spanish or Polish OR possession of at least one year of experience with youth development, community/public engagement or other community work in a nature, conservation or recreation environment OR at least one season of work experience as a Seasonal Youth Outdoor Ambassador OR at least one season of work with the Forest Preserves of Cook County OR at least one season of work experience as a Conservation Corp Crew member OR at least one season of work experience on the Forest Preserves District of Cook County’s property with partners such as the Chicago Zoological Society, Chicago Botanic Garden, Greencorps Chicago, Friends of the Forest Preserves or the Student Conservation Association.


As an attachment to your online application, upload a Word document containing an example of a program plan or outline for an interpretive program on a Forest Preserves related topic.

Must be prepared to present a ten-minute interpretive program during the interview based on the program plan or outline that you upload as part of the application process.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other Characteristics

Knowledge and interest in recreation trends, specifically, new concepts related to outdoor and adventure recreation and camping activities and operations

Ability to supervise, plan, assign, coordinate and direct the work assignment of support staff.

Commitment to community processes and working in partnership with other entities.

Competence with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and Excel (in a Windows environment); familiarity with design capabilities of Microsoft Word and other design software.

Ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously, capable of meeting tight deadlines, and working calmly under pressure.

Ability to communicate well, including the ability to clearly articulate thoughts and ideas and prepare documents that are coherent, grammatically correct, and professional.

Ability to work without supervision, to be flexible, to work well in groups, and to communicate with people from various disciplines and communities.

Skill in planning, developing, organizing, presenting, and supervising outdoor recreation, campground, environmental education programs and community outreach activities.

Ability to maintain a high level of professionalism while supervising staff and while providing a high level of customer service for the public and other District personnel.

Knowledge of local organizations relevant to specific program area and the ability to understand and implement elements of community-based programming.

Ability to expand and adapt to changing departmental needs.

Ability to effectively coordinate, train and supervise full time and seasonal staff engaged in various operational and programming activities and services.

Ability to resolve conflicts both within the staff and between staff and the public and lead through vision and transformation.

Knowledge of Racial, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion philosophies and ability to work with that lens at the forefront of decision-making, programming, and community engagement.

Knowledge of the diverse populations within Cook County and the ability to understand the corresponding cultural differences.

Ability to execute with dedication the mission of the District.

Ability to maintain or obtain certifications and licenses deemed appropriate by the District as a condition of continued employment.

Ability to work outdoors in inclement weather.

Willingness to work an extended and flexible schedule that includes work on weekends, evenings, and holidays.

This position occasionally requires various types of physical exertion including, but not limited to, climbing, lifting, pulling, pushing, and moving up to fifty pounds.

Ability to work at any location in the district.

The duties listed are not set forth for purposes of limiting the assignment of work. They are not to be construed as a complete list of the many duties normally to be performed under a job title or those to be performed temporarily outside an employee’s normal line of work.

Benefits Package

Medical, Dental, and Vision Coverage

Basic Term Life Insurance

Pension Plan and Deferred Compensation Program

Employee Assistance Program

Paid Holidays, Vacation, and Sick Time

You May Qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)

For further information on our excellent benefits package, please click on the following link:


Veteran’s Preference

When applying for employment with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, preference is given in the application process to honorably discharged Veterans who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States for more than 180 consecutive days or during War Time. To take advantage of this preference, a Veteran must:

Meet the minimum qualifications for the position.

Identify themselves as a Veteran on their employment application by answering Yes to the question “Are you a military veteran?”

Attach a copy of their DD 214, DD 215, or NGB 22 (Notice of Separation) at the time of application by uploading it as part of your application. If there are multiple DD 214s, DD 215s, or NGB 22s, please submit the one with the latest date. Coast Guard must submit a certified copy of the military separation from either the Department of Transportation (before 911) or the Department of Homeland Security (after 911).

Veteran must provide original applicable discharge papers at time of interview.

General District Employment Requirements




The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is an equal opportunity employer and ensures against discrimination in employment on the basis of a person’s race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military discharge status, source of income, housing status, or gender identity. We value our employees and the different talents, expertise, and viewpoints that each brings to the table. We believe a robust exchange of ideas results in better decision-making and we commit to providing a constructive, safe, and positive work atmosphere that promotes mutual respect and empowers individuals to thrive in their jobs.