Defenders of Wildlife is a national, nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. Founded in 1947, Defenders is one of the country’s leaders in science-based, results-oriented wildlife conservation. Organizational priorities include protecting and restoring imperiled North American wildlife; ensuring conservation of wildlife and habitat on federal public lands, with particular emphasis on national wildlife refuges and national forests; and ensuring the adoption and implementation of a national program for the conservation of wildlife, habitat and ecosystems in the face of global warming.
This professional-level position is responsible for conducting complex policy research and analysis and developing information, partnerships and programs to further Defenders of Wildlife’s strategic habitat and species conservation goals on private lands nationwide. The incumbent will join Defenders’ Landscape Conservation department, and work closely with Field Conservation, Endangered Species Conservation, Government Relations, Conservation Law and Communications teams to advance collaborative, science-based conservation to protect and restore wildlife and ecological integrity on private lands as part of integrated landscape-scale conservation initiatives.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
In coordination with Defenders’ policy, legislative, Geographic Information System (GIS) and legal specialists, research and develop policy proposals for shaping and implementing federal and selected state law, regulations and policies to achieve conservation objectives on private lands. Develop written materials explaining issues and proposals to policymakers, the public, news media, and conservation partners.
Analyze and engage with proposed legislation (including the 2018 Farm Bill), administrative initiatives, draft regulation and federal projects affecting wildlife conservation on private lands, and prepare summaries, factsheets, technical comments, testimony and other materials explaining these proposals and Defenders’ position on them.
Working with Defenders’ Government Relations staff and partners, educate Congressional offices on private lands conservation and policy issues. Assist in identifying legislative champions, and coordinating messaging and outreach to Members of Congress and their staff to advance a progressive conservation agenda.
Contribute to the effective execution of Defenders’ strategic objectives to improve wildlife conservation on private lands as part of landscape-scale initiatives, including efforts to strengthen private land and resource conservation program implementation and management, and species protection and recovery across multiple land ownerships.
Cultivate, maintain and grow positive working relationships with Congressional staff, federal agency officials, state governments, landowner organizations, land trusts and other partners to achieve shared conservation goals.
Research, write, and/or edit Defenders reports, webpages, blogs and other publications.
Represent Defenders in public meetings, hearings, press events, conferences, coalitions, and in general communications with public officials, legislators, the media, Defenders’ membership, the donor community, and the general public.
Inform and mobilize citizen activists, including Defenders’ members and supporters and Wildlife eNews subscribers, on private lands conservation issues.
Work with Development staff to raise operating funds for Defenders’ Landscape Conservation program.
Perform all other related duties as assigned.
Education: Advanced degree in environmental/public policy, conservation biology, natural resources management, natural resources law, agricultural economics or related discipline.
Experience: Three or more years of progressively responsible experience is required in researching, developing, advocating for and/or implementing federal, state and/or privately administered programs to conserve biodiversity on private lands/working landscapes. Experience working with federal agencies (e.g., Natural Resource Conservation Service) and/or conservation programs (e.g., Working Lands for Wildlife, Conservation Reserve Program) and an understanding of relevant state policies and programs (e.g., State Wildlife Action Plans) is essential for this position. Existing relationships with federal agency and administration staff, state wildlife departments, landowner organizations and private land trusts highly desirable. The position requires interdisciplinary skills and practical experience in building coalitions and partnerships, and translating cutting-edge science and policy into programmatic initiatives to conserve species and ecosystems.
Leadership skills and demonstrated ability to help guide the implementation of programs and/or initiatives affecting wildlife, natural resources, or related resources.
Excellent research, writing and verbal communication skills.
Strong interpersonal skills with ability to work effectively with other staff members in an interdisciplinary team context.
Self-starter and entrepreneurial, demonstrated ability to take initiative.
Working knowledge of GIS data, application and analysis.
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