Director of Preservation

  • Full Time
  • Decorah

Website Seed Savers Exchange

The Director of Preservation will provide overall leadership for Seed Savers Exchange’s Preservation Department. Directs and develops strategies for managing the Seed Savers plant collection of over 20,000 varieties. Serves on the organization’s leadership team. Annual starting salary: $60,000

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Serve as the team lead of the Seed Savers Exchange Preservation department
  • Plan long term goals and vision for the
  • Preservation department and Seed Savers Exchange collection
  • Oversee collection usage and department programs that connect partners with collection varieties
  • Serve as QC/QA lead for the Preservation department by reviewing planting notes, germination tests, evaluation data, seed histories data, and utilize information to continuously improve the documentation of the collection
  • Serve as final decision maker on deaccessioning
  • Oversee accurate implementation of Accession Policy and department protocols
  • Develop collection and crop maintenance goals, plans, and strategies in accordance with the Accessions Policy
  • Prepare department budget and manage fiscal resources
  • Maintain the Preservation department database and ensure data fidelity
  • Oversee the Exchange and print Yearbook production as well as Seed & Nursery Trade Census production

Supervisory Responsibilities:

  • Lead employees in Seed Savers Exchange Preservation Department
  • Create a positive atmosphere where employees can maximize their potential
  • Assist employees to develop program plans that measure yearly success
  • Train and supervise staff, volunteers, interns, and other stakeholders
  • Delegate workflow and workload as needed
  • Serve as a liaison between Preservation staff and administration
  • Hire new staff including seasonals, interns, and federal work-study students
  • Coordinate Preservation volunteer opportunities with the Education Manager

Intra-Department Responsibilities:

  • In conjunction with Preservation staff, develop new strategies that further advance distribution and promotion of the collection
  • Assist with fieldwork, seed packaging, and distributions as needed
  • Assist with corn hand pollination
  • Assist with collection backups with Inventory Technician and serve as point of contact with Svalbard Global Seed Vault

External-Department Responsibilities:

  • Steward and cultivate partnerships, collaborations, and relationships to connect people with the Seed Savers Exchange collection
  • Provide specialist advice and technical expertise internally and externally on seed collections
  • Collaborate with Field Operations on annual field plan as well as overall seed regeneration program
  • Work with the Intern Planning team to create educational experiences for interns
  • Work with Marketing and Education to develop educational and promotional materials
  • Work with the Development team to assist with grant applications
  • Conduct public tours, workshops, and give lectures and interviews as required
  • Respond to inquiries of Seed Savers Exchange members, the public, and any interested parties that seek to learn more about Seed Savers Exchange
  • Liaise and collaborate with government agencies, community groups, and other seed banks
  • Perform additional duties as assigned by Executive Director


  • Exceptional leadership qualities with emphasis on collaborative and horizontal leadership methods
  • Exceptional organizational skills
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills
  • Exceptional written and oral communication abilities
  • Flexibility and ability to balance workload
  • Excellent attention to detail

Physical Requirements:

  • Ability to sit and stand for long periods
  • During fieldwork, ability to work in temperature extremes


  • Science degree in horticulture, plant science, botany, agronomy, and 3 years of experience managing a plant collection
  • Experience working in a collaborative management level position
  • Experience working with technical aspects of seed biology, seed physiology, and seed storage
  • Experience with tissue culture is preferred, but not essential


  • Employee/family health insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Paid holidays
  • 401(k) with employer match
  • Employee wellness program and merchandise discounts

Please email a cover letter, resume, and the contact information for three references to [email protected] – include “Director of Preservation” in the subject line of your email.

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