Location: Friday Harbor, WA
Benefits: Benefits include health insurance, 3% match for IRA contributions, three weeks’ vacation, 12 days medical/family leave, and 10 paid holidays/yr.
Hours: Full-time, Exempt Employee
Reports To: Executive Director
Supervises: Conservation program staff and volunteers
Work Location: Friday Harbor
Closing Date: Open until filled (review for interviews begins in early March)
Reporting to the Executive Director, the Conservation Director develops and implements the land conservation program of the San Juan Preservation Trust (SJPT). Using best practices, this individual collaborates with land owners; agency partners, such as the San Juan County Land Bank; and other nonprofit organizations to successfully build and maintain a pipeline of high-quality land conservation projects. Requirements for the position include a minimum of ten years’ experience in public or private land conservation, including knowledge in grant-writing, real estate transactions, and natural resources management.
An advanced degree in a relevant field is preferred, but experience commensurate with the responsibilities is acceptable. The Preservation Trust is a team-oriented organization that succeeds because its closely knit staff members work well together and trust one another. Given this environment, we are seeking a highly motivated and experienced leader committed to being an inspirational advocate for land conservation. This is a great opportunity for a goal-oriented individual to lead the conservation program of a successful and growing land trust.
The San Juan Preservation Trust (www.sjpt.org), founded in 1979, is a private, 501 (c)(3) nonprofit land trust dedicated to helping people and communities conserve land in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. It was awarded national accredited status by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission in 2012 (renewed in 2017), joining a prestigious group of some 400 land trusts (out of more than 1,300 nationally) to achieve this distinction since the accreditation program was launched in 2008.
Since its founding, the Preservation Trust has permanently protected more than 300 properties encompassing 48 miles of shoreline and 19,000 acres on 20 islands, including land now managed as public parks, nature preserves, wildlife habitats, and working farms and forests.
The Preservation Trust is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees and a professional, full-time staff of 10. It is headquartered in the town of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, which is served by the Washington State Ferry System. Financial support comes from the voluntary contributions of some 3,000 private individuals, families and foundations. The Preservation Trust is not affiliated with any government agency and does not receive tax revenue.
Our MISSION is to:
- CONSERVE the natural beauty, vital ecosystems, and unique character of the San Juan Islands for future generations;
- CARE for the lands and waters under our protection, with our partners;
- CONNECT people to nature, to each other, and to the Preservation Trust.
The Conservation Director works with the Executive Director and the Stewardship team to develop and implement SJPT’s land conservation strategy. This position furthers the mission of the San Juan Preservation Trust by managing our Conservation program, which includes overseeing SJPT’s conservation fee acquisition, easement, and amendment policies; prioritizing conservation opportunities; cultivating positive landowner relationships; and ensuring the integrity and long-term health of our conservation work.
This individual maintains landowner contacts, negotiates real estate deals, coordinates land/easement transactions, oversees project consultants, and writes and manages project grants. The Conservation Director works to develop and maintain relationships with private landowners, public agencies, conservation organizations, and local governments. This position reports to the Executive Director and requires considerable interaction with a large volunteer Board of Trustees and a professional staff.
- Initiate, manage, and conclude actions to achieve SJPT’s conservation goals according to Land Trust Alliance standards.
- Supervise conservation program staff and assist in hiring program staff and contractors (including, but not limited to, potential new or seasonal hires (e.g., consultants, project manager, interns, or fellows).
- Serve as liaison and staff lead to SJPT’s Board of Trustee Conservation/Acquisition Committee in developing conservation initiatives and program strategies.
- Update SJPT’s Strategic Conservation Plan with Conservation/Acquisition Committee guidance.
- Assist development of SJPT’s acquisition policies.
- Monitor and introduce industry trends and innovations.
- Monitor, report, integrate, and remain informed on all legislative, regulatory, and tax issues associated with land conservation, particularly as they relate to conservation easements.
- Maintain and update (as necessary) our conservation easement template.
- Maintain and update (as necessary) our conservation easement amendment policy.
- Guide amendment requests through analysis and approval process.
- Collaborate with private landowners; federal, state, tribal, and local agencies; conservation organizations, and community partners to conserve priority conservation lands.
- With legal support, negotiate, draft, and review transactional and legal documents, including easements, option agreements, and purchase and sale agreements.
- Solicit outside legal input as prudent and necessary.
- Obtain and review appraisals, environmental assessments, surveys, title reports and closing documents.
- Develop project budgets and assist Executive Director in developing conservation program budget.
- Identify sources of project-specific funding from public agencies, private foundations, and other sources and prepare grant applications and budgets.
- Administer project grants, including meeting all financial and programmatic reporting requirements.
- Keep abreast of land conservation tools, tax incentives, and public and private funding opportunities.
- Develop and maintain database that tracks all past, present, and potential conservation opportunities and transactions.
- Support conservation defense efforts as needed.
- Establish contact with new landowners (new generations of landowners).
- Participate in and initiate local/regional conservation partnerships.
- Support other SJPT staff, program goal areas, and office tasks as required, including assistance with special projects and other duties (as assigned).
- Bachelor’s degree in environmental policy, conservation biology, ecology, natural resources management, or related field.
- Advanced degree preferred, ideally in a relevant field of law or natural resource management.
- Ten years of experience in conservation, natural resource management, land use planning, real estate or related field, including two years’ experience in conservation real estate transactions (fee simple and conservation easement transactions).
- Demonstrated success negotiating property acquisitions and/or conservation easements.
- Experience managing and leading staff.
- Experience working with landowners, government agencies, community groups, and conservation organizations.
- Experience writing, obtaining, and managing grants for conservation.
- Sincere commitment to the Preservation Trust’s mission, values, and goals.
- Physical ability to hike rough terrain.
- Ability to occasionally work nights and weekends to attend special events.
- Car and valid driver’s license.
- Ability to work collaboratively and effectively with a range of individuals reflecting a spectrum of political perspectives.
- Ability to address issues constructively.
- Collaborative, facilitative style that brings people together.
- Self-directed, energetic, and creative.
- Ability to manage time and competing priorities.
- Dedicated to driving projects and other assignments to completion.
- Eager to develop and cultivate conservation opportunities.
- Demonstrate integrity in business relationships and ethical decision making.
- Articulate communicator, both in speech and in writing.
- Experience with public speaking.
- Strong organizational skills.
- Excellent computer skills, including MS Office suite and ArcGIS.
- Ability to adapt to and identify with the people, communities, and culture of the San Juan Islands.
Additional Qualifications: Candidate must be able to thrive within a small nonprofit office environment, possess a strong belief in land conservation, and demonstrate a passion for protecting the San Juan Islands.
How to Apply: Please send resume and cover letter to:
Director of Administration
San Juan Preservation Trust
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Via USPS: PO Box 759, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
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