Vice President, Landscape Conservation - Washington DC - Defenders of Wildlife



JOB TITLE:   Vice President, Landscape Conservation


SALARY: Up to $145,000

FLSA:  Exempt

DIVISION/SITE:  Headquarters, Washington, DC

DEPARTMENT:  Landscape Conservation

REPORTS TO:  Senior Vice President, Conservation Programs

LAST REVISED:  July 2020

Basic Summary:

The Vice President for Landscape Conservation is based in the Washington, D.C., headquarters and oversees Defenders’ work to promote landscape-scale wildlife conservation, focusing on four program areas: federal public lands management; private lands conservation; climate change adaptation; and wildlife-responsible renewable energy development. The Vice President is responsible for implementing Defenders’ conservation mission through these four integrated programs in accordance with Defenders’ strategic plan, including promoting science-based and sustainable wildlife and habitat management and policies; working to ensure sound management of federal lands, particularly national wildlife refuges and national forests; promoting wildlife conservation on private lands; facilitating environmentally-responsible renewable energy development onshore and offshore to mitigate for climate change while preserving our natural heritage; promoting policies to ensure that wildlife managers consider and address the effects of climate change; and raising public awareness about the importance of conserving and restoring biodiversity for current and future generations.  Working closely with the President & CEO and Senior Vice President for Conservation Programs, the Vice President serves as part of Defenders’ senior leadership team in providing leadership for the organization as a whole.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Work closely with the President & CEO, Senior Vice President for Conservation Programs, and other members of Defenders’ senior leadership, to provide leadership direction on matters involving Defenders’ organization, programs and culture.
  • Provide senior leadership and supervision for the Landscape Conservation department. Working with department staff, prioritize and develop short- and long-range strategic plan objectives, organizational structure, and department staffing and budget requirements.
  • In consultation with Defenders’ leadership and other departments, develop wildlife habitat conservation and management policy positions to achieve Defenders’ strategic goals and priorities.
  • Manage Defenders’ programs to provide for the long-term conservation and sustainable management of federal public lands for imperiled species and other wildlife, focusing on the National Wildlife Refuge System, National Forest System and the National System of Public Lands.
  • Work with federal agencies, Congress, state agencies, renewable energy companies, and non-governmental organizations to develop and implement national policies that promote the rapid buildout of renewable energy onshore and offshore while ensuring appropriate protection of wildlife and habitat.
  • Work with federal agencies, Congress, state agencies and other stakeholders to ensure appropriate consideration of the effects of climate change on wildlife in management of federal public lands and in determining public policy to address climate change.
  • Work with private landowners, land trusts, other nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders to promote sound wildlife conservation on private lands.
  • Direct, coordinate, and/or assist Defenders’ advocacy efforts to influence legislation, regulatory processes, agency policies, and land management plans involving issues of landscape conservation.
  • Research, write, and/or supervise the development of factsheets, reports, webpages, and other publications as necessary.
  • Represent Defenders in public meetings, hearings, press events, conferences, coalitions, and in general communications with public officials, legislators, the news media, Defenders’ membership, the donor community, and the public.
  • Work with the Development and Marketing departments to raise funds for the Landscape Conservation department’s programs.
  • Ensure optimum performance for individuals and group function. Recommend and implement techniques to improve productivity, increase efficiencies, and maintain state-of-the-art practices for the department.
  • Ensure communication of duties and responsibilities to direct reports and monitor performance. Provide regular coaching and counseling. Identify training needs. Prepare and deliver salary and performance reviews; review and approve performance and salary appraisals as necessary. Working with the Human Resources department, resolve staff disciplinary issues.
  • Perform all other related duties as assigned.



Advanced degree in environmental/public policy, natural resources management, natural resources law, conservation biology, or related discipline with experience in successful advocacy for wildlife and natural resource conservation and protection.


  • 10+ years of progressively responsible experience (which may include graduate study) is required in one or more of the following areas: developing and implementing comprehensive, multi-disciplinary programs to conserve biodiversity; engaging in large scale wildlife and habitat management planning; working with agencies and organizations to implement national conservation campaigns.
  • 5+ years of progressively responsible experience managing and supervising staff.
  • Experience with federal and state wildlife, land management and resource conservation agencies, and knowledge of wildlife and natural resource laws, regulations and policies, are also essential for this position.
  • An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Requires interdisciplinary skills and practical experience in translating cutting-edge science into programmatic initiatives to conserve species and ecosystems
  • Ability and willingness to model the tenets of Defenders’ Commitment Statement: Mission, Transparency, Respect & Trust, Appreciation, Empowerment & Accountability, Professional Growth, Fairness, Diversity, Safety, Work/Life Balance, and Pride. 
  • Demonstrates a willingness and ability to productively engage and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives.  
  • Ability to approach work in a collaborative and inclusive style, with a track record of working in a solutions-oriented manner. Ability to effectively address and manage conflict. 
  • Ability to work independently as needed, problem solve, and exercise sound decision-making skills in fluid environments to meet job expectations and achieve goals in an accurate and timely manner. Ability to effectively navigate through change and maintain flexibility. 
  • Ability to represent Defenders to external entities and the public in a professional manner while exercising tact, diplomacy, and discretion.  
  • Demonstrates a willingness and ability to productively engage and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. 
  • Ability to effectively navigate through change and maintain flexibility  
  • Ability to effectively address and manage conflict 
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office and general computer literacy. 
  • Personal interest and commitment to conservation 

Work Expectations and Environment:

General office working conditions, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so. This role may require occasional travel.

All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals to perform the essential functions of the job.

Defenders of Wildlife embraces the values of fairness and equity in society – including our workplace and our movement. We are committed to providing a professional, fair and safe workplace free of harassment and discrimination. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures.  We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places. More than co-workers, we are teammates and partners in our mutual goal of respecting our planet and all who live on it.

Visit Our Values and Diversity page to learn more about who we are and how we operate.


Interested applicants please apply with a cover letter through our careers portal at

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.



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