Texas Urban Conservation Director

Are you ready to help shape the future of Texas? The Nature Conservancy is among the largest and most effective non-profit conservation organizations in Texas. Over our 50 years in the Lone Star State, we’ve protected nearly 1 million acres of land and worked with state and federal agencies to create and expand beloved public areas, protect drinking water for millions of Texans, and conserve critical coastlines and marine habitat.

The Conservancy is looking to build off of this 50-year legacy to shape creative conservation initiatives in Texas’ major cities.

The Urban Conservation Program Director will be responsible for developing and implementing strategies that help cities utilize natural systems to increase their resilience to environmental changes and challenges, including drought, extreme heat, hurricanes, rising sea levels and flooding. These strategies should emphasize the importance of protecting and restoring nature and reflect an understanding of how natural infrastructure can work in tandem with traditional infrastructure in ways that benefit both people and nature. Where possible, projects should also help reduce risk to disadvantaged communities and include a community-involvement component.

The program director will work with local governments, partner organizations, academic institutions and business leaders to promote, design and test the effectiveness of nature-based solutions. These include freshwater and land protection, habitat restoration and reforestation, flood protection, air quality monitoring and improvement and reduction of “heat island effects” that many cities face.

S/he will develop and lead the urban program in Austin and oversee conservation work in several other Texas cities. Working with a team of conservationists, scientists, policy, marketing and development professionals, the successful candidate should be poised to begin with an initial emphasis on the urban watersheds in Austin.

 
ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS

The Texas Urban Conservation Director is a member of the executive team for The Nature Conservancy in Texas and will function as a liaison between the Texas chapter and the Conservancy’s broader national and global urban conservation networks. S/he will work to integrate the chapter’s work with Conservancy-wide priorities that demonstrate how nature and nature-based solutions can build more resilient and vibrant communities across diverse geographies, race, politics, class and privilege.

In concert with government relations, conservation, and executive staff, S/he will play a leading role in managing key relationships and advancing relevant urban-focused public policy priorities with federal, state and local policymakers.

S/he will be expected to deliver compelling presentations to internal and external audiences. With support from the Conservancy development team, s/he will interact with key Conservancy supporters.

This position reports to the State Director.

 
RESPONSIBILITIES AND SCOPE

Build, lead and manage the Conservancy’s urban conservation program in Austin, with an initial focus on the Waller Creek and other urban watersheds.
Oversee Texas’ urban conservation strategy across all major Texas cities.
Supervise urban conservation staff in one or more cities.
Expand the Conservancy’s role as a major conservation partner in Texas cities.
Help define, adapt and implement the Conservancy’s national and global urban priorities for Texas.
Negotiate complex and innovative solutions with government agencies, communities, property owners, and other conservation organizations to conserve, protect and restore natural resources.
Develop, implement and review appropriate community engagement strategies.
Develop innovative scientific methods, analyses, tools and frameworks to address natural system needs.
Use scientific tools to identify and prioritize locations for restoration and conservation activities.
Identify a diverse portfolio of replicable projects that demonstrate the value of nature to people and people to nature in an urban environment.
Assist with establishment of policies or sustainable financing mechanisms that mainstream the use of nature to solve urban challenges related to air quality, heat, water, coastal erosion, and sea-level rise.
Build cooperative relationships and collaborate with diverse groups, including communities, property owners, business leaders, conservation partners, government officials, donors, board members and the general public, to recruit support for the Conservancy and publicize and leverage Conservancy efforts.
Advance the use of nature-based solutions to reduce risk to underserved communities.
Create innovative funding sources through private-public partnerships.
Develop outreach efforts designed to broadly communicate the importance of nature-based solutions, share best practices and create opportunities for the community to engage in tangible projects and take action to protect nature.
Work closely with executive leadership to develop long-term strategies and achieve strategic goals and objectives.
Recruit, retain and manage high quality and effective multi-disciplinary contractors or staff, with responsibility for performance management.
Make independent strategic decisions frequently based on analysis, ambiguous information, experience and judgment.
May require frequent travel and evening and weekend hours.
May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

BA/BS degree in environmental policy or related field and 7 to 10 years of experience in not-for-profit, private, government or conservation practice in a related field
Supervisory experience, including proven ability to motivate, lead, set objectives and manage performance.
Experience managing programmatic budgets
Ability to collaborate with a varied and diverse group of invested stakeholders
Experience in designing, implementing and directing multiple projects and initiatives.
Experience preparing and presenting project proposals, negotiating, and/or working in partnership within TNC or with other organizations in a collaborative and advisory capacity, or related.
Experience in partnership development (partners, community, government, etc.); experience with high-level conservation and policy contacts.
Excellent communication and presentation skills; ability to persuasively convey the mission of The Nature Conservancy to diverse groups.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS:

Master’s degree in related field.
Experience in urban heat, reforestation, ecological restoration and management, or stormwater and water management projects.
Experience working for or with local governments and/or community based organizations.
Experience in fundraising and working with donors.
Demonstrated success in building support for conservation projects across a wide range of audiences, including senior staff, donors, agencies, colleagues, and key external audiences.
Knowledge of current trends in research in urban ecosystems and recent practices in the conservation of lands and waters within cities.
Demonstrated experience influencing, developing and implementing conservation policy and plans.
Knowledge of politics and society with respect to environmental affairs; politically savvy.
Strong knowledge of unique Texas political, cultural, business and NGO landscape.
Managing time and diverse activities under deadlines while delivering quality results.
Experience conceiving and implementing strategic initiatives.
A proven track record as a team leader to achieve clear objectives.
Ability to work cross-divisionally to achieve results.
Communicating clearly via written, spoken, and graphic means.
Successful experience in developing, directing and managing multiple projects.
Demonstrated leadership and visionary qualities and ability to work effectively with and through others in a decentralized and geographically dispersed organization.
Proven interpersonal, communication and negotiation skills.
Experience in collaborating with scientists and other conservation practitioners to complete assessments and develop focused conservation priorities.
Knowledge of methods and standards of biodiversity information systems and initiatives.

Interested? Find more information and apply!

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