Director of Programs


Location: Osa Conservation Campus, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Status: Full-time

Salary: Osa Conservation offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience.


About Osa Conservation

Osa Conservation’s mission is to conserve the globally significant terrestrial and marine biological diversity of the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica by implementing ecosystem stewardship, enhancing scientific understanding, providing education, and training, and creating sustainable economic opportunities.

We believe in a holistic approach to conservation, one grounded in a systematic understanding of the ecological, social, and economic relationships that shape environmental problems. Our work (carried out by a team of ~60 staff) is founded in science and supported by strategic partnerships, well-informed decision-making processes, and a strong commitment to improving lives through protecting nature. We recognize that for conservation to succeed, it must be coupled with science, community engagement, and strong systems of support upon which to collaboratively build a more sustainable future.

About the Role

Osa Conservation seeks a mid-career, exceptional professional to oversee its conservation and science programs (~30 staff and interns) in the epicenter of biodiversity in the Central American tropics. In the region where the ocean meets the mountains in the southern Pacific slope of Costa Rica, OC owns and operates a premier conservation field station located nearby Corcovado National Park. This includes building a conservation corridor between Corcovado and Amistad National Parks, working towards better marine conservation and stewardship for the region, ensuring that science guides and drives conservation actions for the organization, and that the landscape and facilities of OC play an integral role in these efforts. 

This is not an academia job – it is directing the use of the best in science, planning and technology to accomplish conservation in this landscape – and with the OC team and collaborators to produce evidence based scientific outputs to drive forward conservation, and leverage this for ongoing fundraising and program development. It is an opportunity to take millions of dollars of investment in infrastructure and land and deploy it for maximum conservation impact — as such it is a unique career opportunity. We are looking for someone committed and sees this as a mid-long term opportunity, not a stop gap position.

While opportunities for conducting research come with the job, this is not a strictly research job. It is above all a leadership position in which the Programs Director will help to lead fundraising efforts, form institutional partnerships, recruit talented staff, conceptualize major initiatives, and engage a variety of stakeholders from the public, thought leaders to government decision makers. The successful candidate will execute the program that has been established and set in motion by the Executive Director and program team over recent years. This will be a major lifetime achievement.

Characteristics and Requirements

  • High-energy charismatic personality with a strong work ethic – steeped in both a field and science-based work experience to date.
  • PhD/MSc in conservation/tropical ecology or an MBA in a conservation-environmental related focus considered.
  • Minimum experience of 3 years in conservation related field work and implementation, preferably the Americas – and preferably significant amounts of time working within a field station.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in Spanish and English
  • Ability to coordinate with multiple actors, for teamwork and the development of activities in culturally diverse environments.
  • Good physical condition for work in adverse conditions in the field.
  • Valid drivers’ license (manual vehicles)
  • Willingness to live in a remote region of southern Costa Rica – Osa Peninsula – for at least 75% time – and at least 60% time based at the Osa Conservation Campus field station facility.
  • Availability to travel for meetings and regular fundraising efforts, and a strong desire to be in the field.
  • Some demonstrable track record of fundraising – either through grant writing or philanthropic donor cultivation efforts.
  • Knowledge of building a large-scale project plan that has all key elements to be attractive to investors-donors.
  • At least 3 publications in peer-reviewed and indexed scientific journals.
  • Willingness to learn fundraising focused on high-net-worth individuals and major foundations.
  • Be competent and comfortable in creating and managing budgets, and outcome-based work plans.


  • Report and coordinate their actions directly with the OC Executive Director.
  • Develop the funding for the programs through grant writing and work with high end donors.
  • Represent OC conservation and science policy and programs at high level scientific-conservation meetings, with government and private sector institutions.
  • Supervise the work of the Project Coordinators/Managers/Field Program Directors of the conservation-field station and community focal areas.
  • Act as a senior management staff member and coordinate with other OC senior management staff.
  • Build partnerships with research institutions and other conservation entities.

Specific Duties

  • Monitor execution and outputs of all conservation and science programs – both outputs via log-frames and budgets.
  • Work with the development team to ensure that all donor and grant reports are executed to a high level and on time.
  • Develop the processes and policies that allow improving the implementation of conservation activities in the field station, private reserve, and broader community.
  • Review with the scientific field staff any proposed research at OC field sites and ensure all permits for conservation and science projects are up to date- and reports are delivered for the permit requirements.
  • Lead the communications team to disseminate the organization’s findings nationally and internationally, generating connections with researchers and teachers from national and foreign universities to attract research in the field station.
  • Seek and prepare proposals for the financing of field and conservation projects 
  • Organize training courses where necessary for team members.
  • Build a strong social media presence by actively promoting the conservation programs, organization overall and field sites on social media and ensure that all associated staff do likewise – you will work very closely to oversee and be involved with the Communications Coordinator to achieve this.
  • Other tasks and duties ongoing and as assigned.

To Apply

Please submit a copy of your resume and a cover letter to [email protected], with “Director of Programs” as the subject line – by the end of day on May 13, 2022 latest. 

Be sure to address in the cover letter how you meet the outlined requirements and how you feel that your previous experience makes you suitable for this demanding role. 

Applications who do not submit a CV and cover letter will not be considered. Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.