Conservation Manager Job Description

JOB DESCRIPTION:                          Conservation Manager


Responsible To:                              Plant Heritage CEO

Overall Objective:                          Management, development, and promotion of the conservation activities of Plant Heritage through implementation of Conservation Strategy.

Responsible For:                            Plant Conservation Team staff members and budget

Oversees:                                       Systems & processes related to plant recording and data management, Collections Coordinator network

Term:                                               Permanent


Overview of Role

The Conservation Manager (CM) will plan, coordinate and monitor the various plant conservation programmes including the National Plant Collections Scheme, Threatened Plant Programme and Plant Guardians. The CM will provide leadership to Plant Heritage conservation staff through setting clear objectives and regularly monitoring performance. The CM will prepare and manage budgets associated with conservation projects.

The CM will advise and report regularly to the Conservation Committee on progress towards meeting the charity’s conservation objectives. They  will promote the work of Plant Heritage and communicate with members, collection holders, partners and other interested parties. 

Oversee the development and operation of plant recording systems including Persephone, CMD and the Threatened Plant Programme database.



Conservation Strategy

Develop suitable plans and schedules to deliver the Plant Conservation Strategy. This will be through consultation and agreement with the Conservation Committee (CC). Secretary to the CC, working with the Committee Chair to define the work programme for the committee and any appointed working groups. Ensure that the decisions of the CC are communicated and implemented.


Represent Plant Heritage in its relationship with members, Collection Holders, volunteers and other participants in our conservation programmes. Clearly communicate our mission and objectives and respond to requests and other correspondence.

Ensure policies are regularly reviewed and, where needed, updated and approved by the Conservation Committee.

Staff management

Ensure staff members have clearly defined job plans that align with the organisation’s objectives. Identify skills needs and training opportunities where appropriate.

Budget setting, monitoring and fundraising

Identify budget needs linked to plans and schedules and communicate these clearly to the Conservation Committee for agreement. Work closely with fundraising staff to identify and develop opportunities for external funding.

Collections and programmes

Regularly review the performance and outcomes of our conservation programmes to ensure efficient allocation of staff and budgets. Work with the Plant Collections Committee in setting clear and measurable plans for developing the National Plant Collections.

Oversee production of the annual National Collections Directory.


Responsible for developing and managing partnerships with other horticultural and plant conservation charities and related bodies in order to realise opportunities to increase the impact and reach of our work.


 The Conservation Committee and the Plant Collections Committee (PCC)

  • National Plant Collections®
  • Threatened Plants Programme
  • Plant Recording systems and data management
  • Plant Guardians®
  • Plant Exchange
  • Programme of Workshops
  • Supporting national Events and Shows
  • Team Management
  • Volunteer Management
  • Communications and PR


£33,000 - 37,000 dependent on experience, full time

Possibility to work part time (minimum 4 days per week), with pro rata pay

23 days holiday, plus bank holidays

Contributory pension

Location:  Plant Heritage office, Stone Pine, Wisley, Woking, Surrey, GU23 6QD (adjacent to RHS Garden, Wisley)

To Apply: Please send a CV and a covering letter to Gill Groombridge, Business Manager by 30 December 2023 - send to For an informal chat please ring Gill Groombridge on 01483 447540.

Person Specification




At least 5 years practical experience in horticulture or a related area, two of which in a management or supervisory post



Experience of plant conservation in practice



Experience of managing staff and/or volunteer teams




Graduate or equivalent



Qualification in Horticulture (HND or equivalent minimum) or a closely related subject area




Plant conservation theory and practice.

Curation of plant collections.

National and international regulation relating to plant conservation



Excellent IT Skills, including Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and use of databases



Understanding of the purpose and operation of the National Collections scheme.



Understanding of voluntary membership organisations



Understanding of Plant taxonomy




Excellent written skills, with the ability to turn complex information into a clear and compelling message for multiple audiences.



Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to build effective working relationships with a wide range of people and establish credibility business and professional people, trustees, and volunteers



Attention to detail and able to produce a consistently high standard of accuracy in written work and record keeping.



Excellent negotiation and influencing skills.



Meeting management and administration



Public Speaking



Full driving licence



Personal Attributes

Able to prioritise a varied workload and work under pressure to meet deadlines



Able to work effectively with volunteers



A flexible approach to work in order to adapt to changing priorities.



eg: plant genus, common name, county, collection holder name.