Wild Places Program Director

Job Type

Full Time


Details: DOE




Santa Fe
United States


WildEarth Guardians’ Wild Places Program protects wild places across the American West through innovative and bold strategies and campaigns. There are more than 300 million acres of federal public land in the 11 western states, and our goal is to protect priority wildlife, wildlands, and waterways, and to simultaneously rewild and restore priority fragmented and degraded landscapes on this land. Wild Places is Guardians’ oldest and largest program, with five Campaigns and a staff of six including the Director. The Director is responsible for developing and implementing strategies that ensure these Campaigns translate into success for WildEarth Guardians’ mission and vision:

1.    Greater Gila – long-term protection of the Gila Bioregion, including buyouts of livestock grazing allotments on federal public lands.

2.    Keeping Public Lands in Public Hands – challenging legislative and administrative efforts to seize our public land for private gain.

3.    Restoration – hands-on restoration work, primarily restoring riparian habitats in New Mexico and working with local tribes and pueblos to do so.

4.    Rewilding – reconnecting and restoring wildlands, wildlife habitat, and waterways damaged and fragmented by old logging roads, culverts, dams, and motor vehicle use.

5.    Wildlands for Wildlife – protecting the habitat of imperiled species such as grizzlies, lynx, Mexican spotted owls, and New Mexico meadow jumping mice.

The Director will also participate in the Conservation Team, which is the leadership group designed to guide the conservation strategies of the entire organization. The Director’s responsibilities are carried out with the support, oversight, and insight of the Conservation Director.

Key Responsibilities:

·     Developing key legal, policy, political, and communication strategies for the Program that ensure the Program meets Guardians’ strategic objectives.

·     Managing the 5 staff members, 5 Campaigns, and budget of the Wild Places Program.

·     Managing litigation, including coordinating with staff attorneys and outside counsel.

·     Collaborating and strategizing with Guardians’ other programs: Wildlife, Wild Rivers, and Climate & Energy.

·     Communicating the work, success, and vision of the Program to the public, the media, the organization, and to allied organizations, individuals and communities.

·     Assisting with fundraising.

·     Handling other administrative duties.

·     Providing organizational leadership.


While we recognize the benefits of hiring someone with a strong background in American West public lands advocacy, we want to be clear that the below qualifications are not exclusive. We strongly encourage people with transferable skills to apply. Our priorities are:

·     Robust campaign skills, meaning the experience to identify a goal and chart a path, using multiple creative tactics to achieve the goal, along with the ability to pause midstream, reassess, and develop a new path when needed.

·     Extensive—at least 5 years—advocacy experience, even if outside the realm of protecting wildlife, wildlands or waterways. This is not a position for people new to advocacy work. 

·     Strong management experience, with at least 3 years of managing staff. 

Other qualifications we are looking for:

·     Passion for our work.

·     Leadership skills, including an interest in bringing out the best in staff and providing motivation when the work is tough.

·     Law, biology, or environmental management degree, or other relevant degree or education.

·     Ability to handle multiple and diverse issues in short timeframes.

·     Demonstrable skills in organization, writing, and oral advocacy.

·     Experience with political advocacy.

·     Capacity to embrace conflict and cooperate without compromising organizational values.

·     Willingness to take calculated risks.

·     Emotional maturity, integrity, and sense of humor.

·     Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

·     Ability and desire to lead, collaborate, and work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.

·     Regular travel around the Western U.S. and to Washington, D.C. Expect flexible work hours, including some weekend and evening hours.


WildEarth Guardians offers a competitive salary and benefits package, including full health, dental, and disability insurance, retirement benefits, paid vacation, health and family leave, a sabbatical, paid holidays, and a fabulous work environment. Our primary offices are in Santa Fe, Denver, Missoula, and Portland, however we may have flexibility on the job location. 

As an advocate for the natural world, WildEarth Guardians affirms biodiversity, ecological unity, and the interdependence of all life. We highly value diverse perspectives and experiences. We are committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both within our organization and externally. We acknowledge the intersections between social, racial, and economic injustice and the inequities that are driving the climate crisis and harming wild nature. Applicants with experience in these areas are encouraged to apply. WildEarth Guardians is an equal opportunity employer and actively strives to ensure fair and equal treatment of its employees and constituents regardless of differences based on culture, socioeconomic status, race, marital or family situation, gender identity, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical ability, or sexual orientation. 

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply



The hiring committee will review applications on a rolling basis. Our first application review will begin on 3/23/18. The position will remain open until filled. 

Please submit your application electronically to apply@wildearthguardians.org. Applications should include, in a single PDF, the following: cover letter, résumé, one writing sample that is predominantly your own work, and three professional references.