Interpretation Manager


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Position Title: Interpretation Manager      

Department: Conservation Education

Position Status: Full-time


The Interpretation Manager oversees all aspects of educational interpretation at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium to engage our audiences and inspire them to be an active part of our conservation community. This position is an active member of the Conservation Education Department management team and is responsible for the development, delivery, budgeting, coordination, monitoring, management, supervision, and evaluation of all interpretative education programs at the Zoo.

Essential Job Functions

Interpretive Program Management & Delivery

  • Develop and drive onsite interpretative education opportunities showcasing the Zoo’s animals, habitats, and conservation programs to curate conservation-based guest experiences across the Zoo, including signage, touch tables, amphitheater shows, visitor activities, and more.
  • In collaboration with the Creative Department, develop, maintain, and refresh interpretive media onsite including graphics and signage, multimedia, props and dressings, soundscapes and more to maximize visitor conservation impact, our learning goals, and visitor experience throughout the Zoo.
  • Develop and refine a Zoo-wide interpretive framework, as well as key narratives and messages for the Zoo’s existing and upcoming exhibits in collaboration with Education leadership.
  • Develop and continuously refine a Zoo-wide presentation toolkit based on best practices in interpretive education. Ensure guest interpretation and engagement by Zoo staff and volunteers is regularly refreshed and supported through training that aligns with these best practices.
  • Continually evaluate visitor experience using a range of methods including timing and tracking, interviews, and surveys. Improve existing programs and methods of public engagement based on evaluation results and implement innovative programs and methods to advance the mission of the Zoo.
  • Actively identify and drive projects that improve the guest experience and make all interpretative opportunities accessible to all audiences.
  • Attend conferences, webinars, and additional professional development opportunities to learn, disseminate, and implement evidence-based best practices in interpretation, education, science literacy, informal program development and evaluation, conservation behavior change, and more.
  • Network and stay in communication with other professionals in the field, including actively participating with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), National Association for Interpretation (NAI), and other professional associations.
  • Facilitate the presentation of animal ambassadors of diverse taxa following specified animal handling and training protocols and teach education programs across the department as needed.

Budgeting & Department Administration

  • Monitor and promote collaboration and scheduling/delivery of interpretive programs and experiences.
  • Develop operational and revenue goals and ensure designated programs reach or exceed these goals.
  • Prepare and oversee annual budgets for programs and report actual v. budget variances on a monthly basis.
  • Work within the established budget to purchase equipment and supplies to support onsite interpretation.
  • In collaboration with Education Department managers, create and manage staff schedules to meet all departmental needs.

Team Management & Training

  • Interview, hire, supervise, train, and lead full and part-team members, seasonal staff, and interns.
  • Work collaboratively with Animal Care departments to train and manage Kids Kingdom seasonal attendants to engage guests in public animal contact areas while maintaining a high standard of animal welfare.
  • Develop and mentor direct reports by providing regular performance feedback and professional development through regular individual and team meetings, coaching, continuing education opportunities, and annual reviews.
  • Work proactively to advance a team spirit and positive work climate among Zoo employees, closely monitors the morale of staff and takes appropriate action to resolve issues.

Department Leadership

  • Model thoughtful, ethical, empathetic leadership in all internal and external collaborations and engagements.
  • Collaborate cross-departmentally to coordinate, develop, plan and implement new programs and optimize departmental operations.
  • Works closely with other Department managers and leadership to develop and implement education strategic plans that meet the department’s goals.
  • Respond to internal and external communications in a timely and professional manner.
  • Serve as Education Manager on Duty as scheduled.

Other Functions

  • Performs all other duties as assigned and directed.

Performance Factors

  1. Attendance and Dependability: The employee can be depended on to report to work at the scheduled time and is seldom absent from work.  Employee can be depended upon to complete work in a timely, accurate and thorough manner and is conscientious about assignments.
  2. Communication and Contact: The employee communicates effectively both verbally and in writing with superiors, colleagues, and individuals inside and outside the Zoological Society.
  3. Relationships with Others:  The employee works effectively and relates well with others including superiors, colleagues, and individuals inside and outside the Zoological Society.  Exhibits a professional manner in dealing with others, and works to maintain constructive working relationships.
  4. Provides excellent customer service in the areas of guest relations and park beautification:
    • Answers visitor inquiries or finds someone who can;
    • Is knowledgeable of location of exhibits, restrooms, concessions, rentals, etc.


  • B.S. or B.A. degree in Education, Zoology, Biology, or a related field with a minimum of five years working in a zoological park, aquarium, museum, or other informal education setting; or any equivalent combination of education, training, and experience which provides the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities for this job.
  • Strong knowledge of field conservation, ecology, and zoology is required.
  • Strong organizational, time management, and classroom management skills are required, along with excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with computer software programs, presentation skills, writing for the public, and attention to detail are required, and experience writing and designing educational signage copy preferred.
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with stakeholders, including employees and the general public.
  • Ability to speak and write clearly, concisely, and persuasively using correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation with the ability to communicate one-on-one or in group settings.
  • Ability to perform work with a high degree of accuracy and organization.
  • Familiarity with AZA education standards and National Association of Interpretation standards and practices.
  • Must have the proven ability to work independently and with a team to create and deliver public programing and guest engagement while fostering a positive and collaborative team environment.
  • Experience working with Animal Ambassadors and in environmental education preferred.
  • Mature professional attitude and considerable discretion, including ability to manage confidential information.
  • Ability to perform with considerable independence and initiative.
  • Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance, Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Records Check, and Federal Criminal History Record Information are required, along with a valid PA driver’s license.


PHYSICAL requirements

Position works in an office setting, but is primarily located outdoors, especially in the peak season.  Position is physical and requires the ability to walk, stand, stoop, bend, squat, push, pull, carry and lift up to 50 lbs.  This list is not inclusive.  Position required to work evenings, weekends and holidays.  Must possess a valid driver’s license.

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to: