Senior Director of Land Conservation
Do you love the challenge of putting together complex conservation transactions? Are you a real estate professional looking to build a land protection program? Do you have extensive experience working with federal and state agencies to secure the necessary funding land acquisition projects? If so, Potomac Conservancy is seeking an energetic and creative self-starter to join our mission for clean water.
Who we are: Founded in 1993, Potomac Conservancy believes the foundation of healthy, vibrant, and resilient communities starts with clean water. As the region’s leading clean water advocate, we shape the broader effort to ensure the Potomac River boasts clean drinking water, healthy lands, and connected communities. You will be joining a small but growing team who work every day to fight for clean water through building a local inclusive movement of impassioned river advocates. Potomac Conservancy’s Land Conservation Program, accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, focuses on the protection of high-quality lands and waterways in the headwaters of the Potomac River.
The Senior Director of Land Conservation is responsible for building effective working relationships with private landowners, non-profit partners, government agencies, and funders that will advance the Conservancy’s land protection goals. The Senior Director of Land Conservation reports to the Vice President of Programs and Operations.
Lead Land Protection (50%):
- Develop long-term, strategic conservation plans for priority geographies and projects.
- Identify projects within priority conservation areas. Initiate outreach and sustain regular communication with individual landowners and strategic partners.
- Secure property-specific funds from federal, state, and nonprofit programs for the purchase of properties and conservation easements; connect priority landowners to land protection funding.
- Conduct due diligence and shepherd projects through the land conservation process with landowners; the Conservancy’s attorneys, Conservation Committee, and Board of Directors; other relevant professionals (surveyors, appraisers, etc.); partner agencies; and funders.
- Comply with- and document compliance with- the Land Trust Alliance Standards and Practices and the requirements of Land Trust Accreditation Commission accredited land trusts.
- Assist Land Conservation Manager, as needed, in addressing landowner inquiries related to proposed land use activities on conserved lands and other stewardship matters.
Advance Regional Collaboratives (20%):
- Represent the Conservancy in the Shenandoah Valley Conservation Collaborative (Virginia), Safe Water Conservation Collaborative (West Virginia), and Virginia United Land Trusts (Virginia) to advance land conservation goals, particularly in Conservancy priority watersheds.
- Participate in partnership planning and operations, participate in geographic and topical priority setting, assist with joint grant proposals (and reporting), and collaborate with partners on landowner outreach and installation of conservation practices.
- Serve on special collaborative committees or workgroups as needed.
Provide Internal leadership and Strategic Guidance (20%):
- Supervise field staff and contractors, with an opportunity to build out the team in first year
- Develop an annual work plan and budget for the Land Conservation program.
- Lead quarterly Land Conservation Committee meetings of the Board of Directors, and present at quarterly Board meetings, ad hoc Board committees, and Board cultivation events relevant to the Land Conservation program as necessary.
- Contribute to DEIJ work; strategic planning; and other organization-wide initiatives
Contribute to Fundraising and Grant Management (10%)
- Develop funding proposals and budgets for land conservation projects.
- Manage awarded grants, grant reporting, tracking of project deliverables, and expenditures.
- Meet with funders in person as necessary to secure support for priority projects.
- Support President and Development team in preparing materials for donors.
Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five years of experience negotiating conservation real estate transactions is required, as is demonstrated experience working effectively with private landowners and public land management agencies. A master’s degree and 7 years of experience is preferred. Closely related experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience may be considered. GIS experience is preferred.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
- Knowledge of the practices, principles, and techniques of land protection.
- Knowledge of federal, state and local funding sources for land protection as well as the laws, codes, and procedures that affect real estate transactions and private land protection.
- Ability to understand and anticipate the needs and perspectives of landowners and partners and work to find mutually satisfying solutions to conflict.
- Creative thinker and problem-solver who works to identify innovative yet practical ways to solve conservation challenges.
- Strong understanding of the power of language to advance or hinder progress. Ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing with landowners, funders, professional colleagues, governmental entities, the public, and the media.
- Proven fundraising ability from both public funding sources and private philanthropy. Strong grant writing experience and ability to connect with public agency personnel to secure public funds.
- Ability to lead a team of staff, contractors, and partners to achieve conservation goals.
- Familiarity with Land Trust Alliance Standards & Practices and Land Trust Accreditation Commission requirements for accredited land trusts.
- Demonstrated expertise in MS Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
- Proven organizational skills and strong attention to and interest in detail. Ability to meet deadlines and juggle multiple and diverse tasks.
- Ability to work well independently and without close supervision.
- Ability to travel in your own vehicle and work occasional evenings and weekends.
Preferred Skills and Abilities:
- Familiarity with the culture and landscapes of the service area (panhandle of WV, northern Shenandoah Valley, VA, central Maryland).
- Ability to navigate in rural areas (even off road or off trail) without cellular reception using GPS, maps, & compass.
Salary range is $70,000-80,000 depending on experience. Benefits include medical and dental coverage; 18 days paid time off and 10 holidays per year; flexible work schedule; 403 (b) matching and flex spending accounts; travel reimbursement; working with bright, fun coworkers; and interacting with a supportive board of directors. Location for this position either in Silver Spring or Winchester office.
Email a cover letter and resume to Kate Arion (email@example.com) with “Senior Director of Land Conservation” in the subject line. Applications are only accepted electronically. The position will remain open until filled. Potomac Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer.
We recognize the environmental movement has not been an inclusive one and has a history of excluding historically discriminated communities — including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), people from working class backgrounds, women, and LGBTQ+ people. We believe that these communities must be centered in the work we do. Because of this, we strongly encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other communities that have been historically less included in the environmental movement.