Fellow, Marine Conservation Policy

Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF or Federation) is America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 52 state/territorial affiliates and more than six million members and supporters, including hunters, anglers, gardeners, birders, hikers, campers, paddlers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes. The Federation's mission is to unite all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in our rapidly changing world through programming focused on conserving wildlife, restoring habitats and waterways, expanding outdoor opportunities, connecting children with nature, and addressing the causes and consequences of climate change.

The National Wildlife Federation believes that in order to save wildlife and ourselves, we need to ensure that everyone in America has clean water and air, safe communities, easy and equitable access to the daily benefits of nature, and protection from the ravages of climate change. These basic needs, equally necessary and urgent for all people, are foundational to bringing the conservation movement and ethos into the 21st century.

The National Wildlife Federation's National Advocacy Center is seeking a Marine Conservation Policy Fellow to join our Water and Coastal Policy Team. While the Fellow will serve the broader Water and Coasts team, the majority of the work will be focused on marine conservation issues and policy, in coordination with the Director of Marine Conservation.

The NWF Water and Coasts team has worked for years as a leader in the field to advance clean water, to protect and restore rivers and coastal ecosystems, and to advance nature-based solutions for building resilience in the face of mounting climate-drive extreme weather.

We are also steadily expanding our work in the marine policy and conservation space. This includes deepening and building on previous work on marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR), marine protected areas, marine fisheries, near-shore marine habitats, and more.

The Water and Coastal Policy Team uses targeted research, mobilization, coalition building, communications, on-the-ground field organizing, federal advocacy, education, and accountability tactics to communicate the importance of clean water, resilient coasts, and healthy aquatic and marine ecosystems for people and wildlife, and defend key laws, policies, and places that support thriving wildlife and communities. We work on a bipartisan basis to secure and direct federal resources to priority areas in the freshwater, coastal, and marine conservation space. The Water and Coastal Policy Team also works closely with our network of affiliate organizations to develop and advance our policy positions.

The Marine Conservation Policy Fellow will report directly to the Director of Marine Conservation and work alongside the rest of the team in Washington, DC. A primary focus of the Fellow’s work will be on advancing responsible research into marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR) methodologies that account for ecosystem and community impacts and potential benefits. This will require understanding the methods/pathways, projects, stakeholders, risks and potential benefits, the regulatory framework, codes of conduct, and community engagement.

Additionally, the Fellow will support the Director of Marine Conservation in the scoping and buildout of NWF’s larger marine program work, working with staff across the organization and affiliates, as well as with partner organizations and coalitions. The Fellow will be asked to assist with research and materials development on coastal and marine policy issues, and will have an opportunity to help inform and shape NWF’s future marine conservation agenda. The Fellow will also provide general support for water and coasts team advocacy activities, perform subject-matter research, track congressional activity, expand and update online tools, produce materials to support our campaign goals, and assist in overall program management and communication (internal and external).

This position is part of NWF’s fellowship program. NWF Fellows must be available to work a 40-hour weekly schedule. This 11-month position offers $20.00 per hour plus core benefits.

In this role you will:

In this role, you will gain experience in water, coastal and marine policy, advocacy, and communication including writing content for public audiences, providing policy support, and networking with sustainability-minded colleagues and partners. Duties will include:

Research, write, and edit reports, factsheets, blogs, newsletters, presentations and memos on a variety of water topics, including: coastal and marine conservation and policy (marine carbon dioxide removal, marine protected areas, marine fisheries), as well as potentially clean water policy, ecosystem restoration, and natural infrastructure.
Update a bibliography of marine OCDR resources compiled related to methods/pathways, policy, projects, effectiveness, risks, benefits, the regulatory framework, codes of conduct, and community engagement.
Identify opportunities and help lead work to fill current gaps in the current OCDR landscape, particularly as it relates to community education and engagement.
Conduct science and/or policy research into focal areas emerging from NWF’s marine scoping activities to inform ongoing efforts to refine future focus areas.
Provide general support for water and coasts team advocacy activities to help ensure tactics are completed, which may include drafting content and assisting with events for policymaker, internal, media, and external partner audiences regarding policy, scientific, or other issue area developments.
Increase the team’s social media presence through creation of original, relevant social media and online content to inform and engage the Federation’s nearly seven million members and advocates on coastal/marine conservation topics.
Monitor and report back on congressional hearings and briefings and track federal legislation.
Assist with field fly-ins, lobby days, and roundtables as needed.
Perform administrative duties and help with program coordination as needed, including taking and distributing meeting minutes and other materials and supporting scheduling for relevant Water and Coasts team meetings.
Participate in the Water and Coasts team’s implementation of our Environmental Justice Action Plan.
Collaborate and interface with other NWF programs and coalition partner groups, including ocean-focused NGOs, agencies and industry.

Basic Qualifications Include:

At least two years of work or study on environmental or conservation issues.
Excellent verbal and written communications skills.
Must be organized and self-motivated.
Ability to meet deadlines, anticipate team needs, and handle multiple demands and different priorities.
Strong research competencies.
Equity and justice competencies.

Preferred Qualifications Include:

Familiarity with costal and marine conservation issues; specific experience in marine and coastal policy preferred.
Specific knowledge of or experience working on marine carbon dioxide removal, marine protected areas, fisheries policy, and/or marine ecosystems.
Familiarity with federal policymaking process.
Social media experience.

NWF Values:

Your actions are expected to reflect the staff values of the National Wildlife Federation: collaboration, mindfulness, empowerment, inclusivity, and mission focus.  Your competencies should include:

Being motivated by values of equity and responsibility to those most marginalized;
Consistently bringing a high level of empathy and social skills to work and interpersonal interactions;
Being committed to deepening an environmental justice approach in policy priorities, program development and partner engagement;
Actively seeks feedback, direction, and guidance from all team members and keeps staff informed of decisions that impact them;
Being dedicated to advancing NWF’s internal equity transformation and compelling partners and allies to incorporate equity into their work; and
Passion for and commitment to NWF's mission.

Travel Requirements:

This position may require travel, including overnight trips, and some evenings and weekends. Successful candidates must use their own vehicle for travel (compensated at Federal travel rate per mile), work safely and independently in remote locations around and demonstrate self-discipline and accountability for managing their field and home office workload efficiently.

Location and Work Mode:

This position is based out of our National Advocacy Center in Washington, D.C. The National Wildlife Federation is committed to a flexible and empowered work environment with an authentic community of care for all staff. In this position, the employee may work remotely, in the office, or in a hybrid manner to be decided jointly with their supervisor in the final stages of the interview process. For more information on Work Modes, please review the benefits section of our careers page: https://www.nwf.org/About-Us/Careers.

Physical Requirements:

Remaining in a normal seated or standing position for extended periods; reaching and grasping by extending hand(s) or arm(s); dexterity to manipulate objects with fingers, for example, using a keyboard; communication skills using the spoken word; ability to see and hear within normal parameters; ability to move about the workspace. This involves mobility and the capability to carry materials weighing up to several pounds (such as a laptop computer or tablet and project supplies) during both office and potential travel-related activities.

Persons with disabilities may be able to perform the essential duties of this position with reasonable accommodation. Requests for reasonable accommodation will be evaluated on an individual basis.

COVID Consideration:

The National Wildlife Federation closely follows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease and has implemented processes that promote the safety of our employees, candidates, and communities.


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Candidates should submit a cover letter and resume.

We strive to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) in all elements of our work and with our partners to support the interdependent needs of wildlife and people in a rapidly changing world. We recruit, employ, train compensate, and promote regardless of race, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity (including gender nonconformity and status as a transgender individual), age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, genetic information, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Applicants are invited to learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at nwf.org/equity.

We recognize that people come with a wealth of experience and talent beyond just the technical requirements of a job, therefore our job descriptions are guidelines, not hard and fast rules.  Your experience, which may include paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work, helps build the competencies and knowledge that translates to our openings.  Diversity of experience and skills combined with passion is a key to innovation and a culture of excellence.  Therefore, we encourage people from all backgrounds to apply to our positions.

Please let us know if you require accommodations during the application or interview process by reaching us at hrhelp@nwf.org or 703-438-6244.

If selected for this position, a background check will be conducted.

Roles & Responsibilities

Type of Work:
Washington DC; Remote

How to Apply