Program Director

The Nature Conservancy is seeking a Program Director to work on all facets of land and water conservation within the Sangre de Cristo mountains of New Mexico. The position includes responsibility for implementing landscape restoration and freshwater conservation strategies and building a broad coalition of partners, collaborators, supporters and funders to address forest restoration needs for communities and sustainable water supplies for people and for nature.

Securing water supply for nature and people and managing land and water for future generations are central to The Nature Conservancy’s near and long-term goals. Towards that end, the Conservancy is working with communities to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends, and helping to create tools, such as climate change adaptation strategies and Water Funds, for scaling up conservation around the world. The Southern Sangre de Cristo mountains are a critical focal area for The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico and Colorado, and for the Rio Grande Water Fund. The Rio Grande Water Fund is a signature program in New Mexico, established to help restore fire-adapted, forested watersheds to provide clean water for natural systems and water security for rural communities and farms, as well as downstream cities and agriculture.


The Program Director will broaden the constituency in northern New Mexico for nature-based solutions for water and economic security, including Pueblos and Tribes, traditional land grant communities, acequia associations, government agencies, and recreation and other businesses. They will convene, facilitate and lead working groups to support the landscape restoration and freshwater strategies, and to develop, plan and fund projects to carry out the strategies. The Director will do so by providing meaningful ways for partners and stakeholders to engage in the strategies and their implementation.

As one of the members of our Rio Grande Water Fund team, the Program Director will collaboratively implement a landscape restoration strategy that integrates recreation,  water, fire, forest and land management planning, along with climate change adaptation. This strategy will include analysis that describes the assets at risk and potential avoided costs for water users.

The Program Director will serve as the focal area contact to government agencies, community groups, other conservation organizations, foundations, academic institutions, and/or the public. And will also help to raise funds for the Water Fund and/or specific restoration or water conservation projects in the Sangre de Cristos, as well as provide assistance for proposal writing, negotiating with partners, agencies and business and donors as needed.

This position will require frequent travel between Santa Fe and Taos in New Mexico, with time split between the two locations.

The position may interact with and support in the scoping and development of other TNC projects and programs (particularly water funds) throughout North America and other regions of the world.

May occasionally work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.


Develop a plan with clear milestones towards establishing the Conservancy as a major conservation partner in the Sangre de Cristo area; inclusive of goals to advance the Rio Grande Water Fund and the Conservancy’s climate change adaptation and freshwater strategies.

Mobilize stakeholder support for the Rio Grande Water Fund and the freshwater strategy. Adapt approach to the individual or group and knows how and when to use complex influence strategies. Use success stories and passion for the mission to generate enthusiasm and support.

Identify and facilitate key partnerships with public and private organizations and community leaders in order to effectively implement strategies and to widely communicate solutions and best practices.

Engage a diverse group of people, including government officials, board of directors, government and legislative staff, tribal leadership and staff, partner organizations, traditional communities, and the public, to develop and implement collaborative, nature-based solutions.

Facilitate meetings, groups and collaborative planning and implementation of Rio Grande Water Fund and other Conservancy activities.

Coordinate multiple projects with several variables, sets and meets deadlines, and manages grants, budgets and timelines.

Resolve routine problems independently; consult with supervisor to develop plans for resolution of unusual or complex problems.

May act as a resource to others to solve problems.

Initially supervise no staff but may help plan and direct the work of contractors, volunteers and interns.


BA/BS degree in natural resources or environmental science or policy or related field and 5 years’ experience in conservation projects for not-for-profit, government or conservation practice in a related field.

Strong demonstrated verbal and written communication skills in English.

Experience in designing, implementing and directing multiple projects and initiatives with strong organizational skills and attention to follow up.

Experience facilitating diverse groups of professionals in different disciplines (e.g. scientists, policy, marketing, and philanthropy) to collaboratively achieve shared goals with tangible outcomes.

Experience in partnership development and negotiations with diverse organizations (such as communities, government, tribes, acequias, etc.); experience with high-level conservation, and policy contacts.

This position requires a valid driver’s license and compliance with the Conservancy’s Auto Safety Program. Employment will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee’s motor vehicle record.


Master’s degree in water resources, planning, ecology, forestry or related natural resource field.

Experience working in or with local governments and/or community based organizations; demonstrated leadership ability in diverse community setting.

Experience working in or with federal and/or state agencies that manage land or water; demonstrated ability to influence agency budgets, priorities, and projects.

Knowledge of Taos and northern New Mexico’s political, cultural, business and organizational landscape.

Track record of taking initiative and desire to take on increasing independence and responsibility.

Experience related to water supply or natural infrastructure including financial or economic analysis.

Experience with verbal and written communication in Spanish.

Knowledge of fire ecology, economic valuation, and current trends in valuing nature and natural infrastructure policy and practice.

Experience working in teams or a matrix organization.

Experience preparing and presenting project proposals, negotiating, and/or working in partnership with other organizations in a collaborative and advisory capacity.

Experience utilizing communication and presentation skills persuasively to diverse groups.

Experience in, or strong familiarity with, international conservation strategies, projects or programs.


To apply to position number 44879, submit resume (required) and cover letter separately using the upload buttons. All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on December 30, 2016

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