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Welcome to DeVries Nature Conservancy!

Nestled on the banks of the Shiawassee River just five minutes from downtown Owosso, the fresh air and calming spaces of DeVries Nature Conservancy bring nature close to home. Open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year, our grounds are a great place to experience the four seasons, whether by foot, snowshoe, cross-country ski, kayak, or canoe!

Explore our website to find information about us, our upcoming events and activities, fun things to do while visiting our grounds, ways to get involved and much more. If you can't find what you're looking for, let us know. Our staff is happy to help.

DeVries Nature Conservancy is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. Please Note: we are not affiliated with The Nature Conservancy.

Enjoy our 136 acres every day from dawn to dusk. Please follow posted rules. Download our trail map here!

Our Nature Playscape is open every day from dawn to dusk. If you use digging materials from the shed, please put them back when you're done.

Our Nature Center is open Monday-Friday from 9 am - 4 pm. Our Nature Center houses many live animals to view! 


Full Position Description


Who We Are

DeVries Nature Conservancy is a nonprofit nature center established in 2006 from the estate of veterinarian J.R. “Jack” DeVries and his wife Frances, who together spent 44 years serving the veterinary needs of Owosso residents. Their final wish was to give back to the community they loved with a gift of lasting benefit for future generations. DeVries Nature Conservancy has 136 acres of land and over 4 miles of trails to explore.


Our Mission:

To preserve natural, scenic, forested lands and foster learning about Michigan’s natural history and rural past.


Our Stated Purpose:

To protect and preserve the natural communities that inhabit the Conservancy’s grounds in a manner consistent with the region’s native flora and fauna; to help people understand their local heritage by cultivating a “sense of place” through an appreciation of the region’s human history and natural environment—all the elements that, together, make a place special and unique.


Position Description

The Farm Manager reports to the Executive Director and is responsible for implementing the farm and rural living aspects of DNC, as outlined in Goal 3 of the DNC Strategic Plan (see below). This person develops and implements historical farming practices, and interpretive and educational programs to promote an understanding of historical agricultural and rural living practices. (Time period focus is on the transition between horsepower and gas-powered farm equipment.) Full time, salaried, with paid vacation, sick time, and matched IRA. The ideal candidate will be able to lift 50 pounds. On-site rental housing may be available. DeVries will conduct a background check during the hiring process.


Strategic Plan, Goal 3

Develop a historical agriculture program focusing on the transition period between horse-drawn and gas-powered equipment. Utilize DNC facilities and grounds to demonstrate historical agricultural practices, homestead gardening and rearing of livestock.



·        Over the next 5 years, develop an implementation plan identifying needs to create the historical agriculture program. Engage with the public to evaluate interests.

·        Shift a portion of current agricultural fields to row crops for demonstrations consistent with the time period.

·        Evaluate use of the barn, old homestead area, and Historic Sleigh and Carriage Museum for their ability to provide educational and demonstration capacity.

·        Evaluate costs and infrastructure needs for keeping and maintaining livestock for use and interpretation/educational programs.

·        Develop Historical Agriculture and Rural Living programming allowing for experiential learning opportunities for the public.


Duties and Responsibilities

DNC Farm Manager at a Glance

·        DNC’s historical farm and rural living program is new and we are looking for someone with a vision that fits within our strategic plan, but allows for flexibility in how the program develops. We are seeking an individual who would enjoy freedom and latitude in implementing a shared vision for the program.

·        The farm manager should have experience in historical agricultural practices in at least one area (row crops, livestock, building/barn maintenance, etc.) as well as a passion for historical rural living skills typical of the chosen time period and consistent with practices found in mid-Michigan.

·        This individual should be organized and energetic, ready to work on developing a completely new program and promote that program within the community. This person will be able to work independently but also function within a team and be able to adapt to Board and Executive Director vision and guidance.

·        This position will also be responsible for maintenance of vehicles and equipment, groundskeeping, gardening, animal care, and interactions with the public in formal and informal settings.

·        Educational experience in a laid back and experiential manner is also important.

·        The position will begin with a scope focused primarily on farm management for the first year as you learn the role and work alongside the current groundskeeper; the position will assume maintenance and groundskeeping in addition to farm management duties after the first year and the salary will be adjusted appropriately.


Farm Manager Administration and Operations


·        Evaluate existing land and buildings for their ability to fulfill the mission and strategic plan for the program. This includes developing options for the use of livestock within the program, including housing livestock.

·        Assist with special building projects, repairs, and improvements where appropriate.


Oversee the maintenance and upkeep of DNC facilities, grounds, and equipment

·        Inspect furnace/AC units, plumbing, and electrical needs.

·        Inspect buildings and grounds regularly for damage, vandalism, and other issues.

·        Work with tenants on maintenance and repair issues at the rental property.

·        Maintain a log of maintenance and safety checks performed on all facilities.


Landscaping and seasonal maintenance

·        Perform seasonal maintenance such as lawn mowing, spring cleanup, fall leaf removal, and snow removal.


Trail maintenance and improvements

·        Maintain and improve trails to ensure the safety and enjoyment of visitors.


Collaboration and Events

·        Work collaboratively with the environmental education program to develop cohesive and complementary programs that fulfill the mission and vision of the DeVries.

·        Develop and implement an annual demonstration day that includes an experiential component for the public to experience, learn, and try various rural living skills and practices as well as observe and learn about historical agricultural practices.

·        Develop and nurture partnerships with other local organizations and individuals to promote and develop the program.

·        Support major events such as fundraisers and seasonal festivals as needed and/or requested. Evening and weekend/on call work will occasionally be required.



Wage: $35,000-$45,000 per year, commensurate with experience


Email Us Your Resume!



Found a baby animal and not sure what to do?

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says it best: "Keep Wildlife Wild!"

We know that it is hard to do, but the best thing you can do to help these baby animals is to leave them alone. These animals most likely do not need our help and are best left in their habitats.

To learn more about what to do if you find a baby animal, check out the DNR's website.

If you believe the animal is actually injured, you can find a list of licensed rehabilitators hereDeVries is NOT a licensed rehabilitator!

Contact us today!

2635 N. M-52
P.O. Box 608
Owosso, MI 48867

Nature Center: (989)723-3365 

Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events

2635 N. M-52, P.O. Box 608, Owosso, MI 48867 • (989) 723-3365 •