GIS/data position with Nature Conservancy Canada

Conservation Data Specialist 

Location: Flexible
Position details: Full Time

 Taking care of our environment has never been more important than it is today. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is looking for a Conservation Data Specialist to join a team committed to protecting our most important natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain.

NCC is the nation’s leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its supporters have protected 14 million hectares (more than 35 million acres) of ecologically significant land across Canada. NCC takes a collaborative, science-based approach to achieve conservation success for the sake of nature and Canadians. With a national office in Toronto and seven regional offices across the country, NCC delivers results you can walk on.


Position Summary

The Conservation Data Specialist will work as part of NCC’s National Conservation team to identify, develop, and implement analytical frameworks and solutions to increase efficiencies in NCC’s conservation work. The incumbent will be responsible for developing, testing, and implementing analytical frameworks and workflows for of various NCC-wide conservation initiatives. The individual will be closely involved with the development, implementation, and maintenance of NCC’s conservation planning framework, spatial prioritization models, approaches and associated tools, conservation priority setting and metric reporting. The incumbent will need strong leadership skills and visioning to help NCC find the most appropriate technical solutions to realize our strategic plan.

Position responsibilities

The Conservation Data Specialist will be responsible for the following tasks:

  1. Develop Analytical Frameworks and Workflows (65%)
  1. Engage with NCC teams and partners to develop and deploy analytical frameworks for NCC’s conservation efforts to improve data processing, analysis, and reporting
  2. Identify areas for improvements in existing data flows and recommend innovative solutions and approaches, such as data science tools, optimized workflows, and analytical frameworks
  3. Develop user friendly tools that will allow NCC staff and partners to intuitively interact with and/or analyze highly complex conservation data
  4. Develop or modernize existing programmatic coding to be modular, easily readable, well-documented, and performative
  1. Data Science Leadership and Training (25%)
  1. Lead the socialization of new and improved analytical frameworks with NCC teams. Initially this will entail NCC’s modernized conservation planning framework, spatial prioritization, and priority setting.
  2.  Develop and deliver training on analytical frameworks and workflows and prepare relevant support documentation to ensure buy-in and understanding for various internal and external audiences and users.
  1. Other Duties as Assigned (10%)
  1. Other duties as assigned by the Director of Spatial Planning and Innovation and Chief Conservation Officer.

Experience Required/Preferred:

  • Master’s degree with 3-5 years relevant experience or equivalent combination.
  • Extensive experience working with large spatial datasets and statistical modeling outputs in the scientific computing language R, including data management, analysis, and visualization.
  • Must have experience developing, managing, and automating software in a data science or scientific project setting.
  • Experience using machine learning methods on large, complex datasets, from proof of concept to deploying models in production preferred.
  • Experience with Docker, Azure and/or other cloud technology would be an asset.
  • Familiarity with relational databases, such as PostgreSQL and SQLite, is an asset.
  • Experience in integrating knowledge in conservation, biogeography, taxonomy, and citizen science with GIS practices, principles, and relevant technical skills.
  • Familiarity with or previous training in conservation, or natural resource management is highly desired.
  • Experience in R with the Tidyverse, sf/raster spatial packages, R markdown, Shiny, and package development.
  • Knowledge of web mapping tools such as PostGIS, Geoserver, and vector tiles.
  • Experience teaching scientific programming and developing online and in person educational materials is an asset.
  • Experience interacting with conservation organizations.


Competencies Required/Preferred

  • Strong problem solving, critical thinking, and writing skills, work effectively on a team, learn technical material quickly, establish realistic goals, and deliver quality work on schedule with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to prioritize activities and multitask
  • Demonstrated ability for working collaboratively and inclusively.
  • Proven ability to work in a team environment where cooperation between colleagues and flexibility to different styles and approaches is required.
  • Good coding practices, i.e. code is clean, well-commented, modular, consistent with some sort of style guide, etc.
  • Some experience with git/GitHub is necessary.
  • Comfortable with the basics of working in the terminal and on remote servers: they can write a shell script or SSH into a remote machine and run scripts.
  • Familiarity with cloud computing tools like AWS, Docker, slurm or something similar for job scheduling on HPCs (an asset)
  • Experience using Python (an asset)
  • Experience with R package development (an asset)
  • Code profiling and performance improvement (an asset)

How to Apply

NCC is an equal opportunity employer. If you are interested in joining our team, please submit your cover letter, resume and salary expectations through our Career Centre by Jan 4, 2022, 11:59pm ET.

NCC welcomes and encourages applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.

We value and incorporate diverse traditions, heritage, knowledge and experiences in our mission and in our workplaces. We celebrate the full participation of people from all walks of life as we work towards common goals. We strive for a conservation movement in which equity, diversity and inclusion are the norm. This is our continuous commitment: to promote healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy planet for everyone.