ECHO Design Manager

Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF or Federation) is America’s largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 52 state/territorial affiliates and more than six million members and supporters, including hunters, anglers, gardeners, birders, hikers, campers, paddlers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes. The Federation’s mission is to unite all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in our rapidly changing world through programming focused on conserving wildlife, restoring habitats and waterways, expanding outdoor opportunities, connecting children with nature, and addressing the causes and consequences of climate change. To advance our mission, we are seeking a full-time Design Manager for Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) to join our staff, working out of the Rocky Mountain Regional Center in Denver, Colorado. (Due to COVID-19 all employees are working remotely until we make return to work decisions). The Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) program envisions a world where every young child experiences nature daily. ECHO has been working with communities for years to transform and activate their daily spaces as sources of nearby nature. By improving outdoor spaces through thoughtful landscape design and training early childhood professionals on the benefits of nature play, ECHO employs a nature-based health equity strategy that improves access to the benefits of nature for children and their caregivers that have the greatest barriers to high-quality outdoor spaces. To ensure ECHO continues its reach and impact, a Design Manager is needed to collaborate with and provide leadership for ECHO’s multi-disciplinary education and design team to implement the program’s overarching initiatives. You will report to the ECHO Director, and will supervise the ECHO Design team. Your main focus will be to oversee the Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) design team in tasks related to designing outdoor environments for young children to promote play, learning, and healthy development. You will work collaboratively with the Program Director to refine ECHO design standards and systems to ensure efficiency and innovation. In this role you will be expected to apply evidence-based, best practice design principles to a variety of site contexts such as parks and child care facilities, and create developmentally-appropriate, custom design solutions driven by the programmatic needs of the clients and site users. In this position, you will: Organize and manage the ECHO design portfolio, including project work flow and delivery, schedule, and project timelines. Directly supervise, manage, train, and mentor ECHO design staff in the creation of site base plans, schematic designs, planting plans, cost opinions, and phasing plans, as well as directly contribute to design work as needed. Communicate with clients to facilitate community-driven and informed design deliverables. Update office systems and standards for ECHO design team collaboration as ECHO expands nationally. Develop, and oversee the development of, base maps, sketches, schematic designs, and renderings of children’s play and learning environments; communicating design concepts and ideas through hand sketching, graphics, and rendering skills using strong technical skills (grading, construction knowledge). Coordinate, prepare for, and facilitate participatory design workshops. Organize and conduct site visits with the design team staff, perform site analysis, site measurements and photo documentation. Track progress towards design delivery timelines and goals. Assist Program Director with grant proposals, reporting and program deliverable tracking. Develop scope of work and fee proposals for design consultancy projects. Oversee the maintenance and organization of archival systems for photographs and other design components. Oversee the compilation of plant lists and other technical resources for children’s environments to be used both locally and nationally. Create and update flyers, posters, and presentations. Lead educator, parks and recreation, and design professional trainings on design principles for children’s environments. Lead the development of print and web resources to disseminate outdoor learning environment best practices. Develop innovative strategies to increase design team workflow efficiency. Provide on-site and on-call installation technical assistance to clients improving play environments. Conduct in-service training for design staff, and annual evaluations. Promote the program through presentations at conferences and events. Minimum education/experience: Professional degree in landscape architecture, horticultural science, or related field. At least 3 years of professional experience in a landscape architecture or design build firm, or related experience, preferably with some interest or experience in designing landscapes for young children and/or families. Registered landscape architect or working towards professional licensure. Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively in a team environment and develop positive working relationships. Strong knowledge of native plants and landscape materials. Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, SketchUp, Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign) proficiency. Strong oral and written communication skills. Strong work ethic Ability to engage with diverse groups of people and passion for bolstering marginalized voices in your work. Ability to listen and respond with empathy to others’ lived experiences that may be very different than your own Ability to communicate effectively across disciplines (e.g., educators, parents, construction professionals). Demonstrated ability to create effective design solutions at a variety of scales and contexts. Proven ability to learn quickly, possessing a growth mindset. Your actions are expected to reflect the staff values of the National Wildlife Federation: collaboration, mindfulness, empowerment, inclusivity, and mission focus. Applicants either in or outside of Colorado are encouraged to apply, with the expectation for relocation to the Denver area in 2021. Monthly travel may be required, approximately 10%. Salary Range and Benefits: The salary range for this position is $55,000 to $60,000. The National Wildlife Federation values work-life balance and a family-friendly atmosphere. Our paid time-off includes 3 weeks of vacation leave, 10 days of wellbeing leave, 10 paid holidays, 3 floating holidays, a week-long winter break, and additional leave options, per year. In addition, our benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision insurance, company paid life insurance, AD&D, short- and long-term disability, 16 weeks of paid FMLA leave, 403b retirement plan with employer matching and annual contribution, adoption benefits, and flexible work options including telecommuting, non-traditional work hours, and compressed work weeks. Applicants are invited to learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s benefits package at Application: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We strive to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) in all elements of our work and with our partners to support the interdependent needs of wildlife and people in a rapidly changing world. We recruit, employ, train compensate, and promote regardless of race, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity (including gender nonconformity and status as a transgender or transsexual individual), age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, genetic information, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Applicants are invited to learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at If you have a disability and require an accommodation or assistance with our online application process, please tell us how we can help by calling us at 703-438-6244. If you meet more than 75% of the qualifications of this description and are passionate about change-making and movement-building, we support your application. If selected, a background check will be conducted. Candidates should submit both a cover letter and resume through the online portal and email a pdf of your design portfolio to Alya Garrison-Ahmed at

Full Time


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