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Dana Alston Environmental Justice Fellowship

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May 16, 2023

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


The Dana Alston Environmental Justice Fellowship Program is named after an environmental justice leader who was instrumental in the development of the environmental justice movement and became both a leader and supporter. Ms. Alston assisted in the convening of the historic First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991. This event, which brought together grassroots environmental justice activists from around the country and helped to establish a national agenda for the environmental justice movement serves as a pivotal moment in environmental justice history.


NWF is working to address the longstanding and systemic inequities that have resulted in environmental injustices in low-income, frontline/fenceline, and communities of color. For decades, these communities have borne the disproportionate burden of pollution, hazardous waste, and other environmental hazards, leading to a range of health problems and impacted quality of life. Our hope is that the Dana Alston Environmental Justice Fellowship is the first of many fellowships recognizing the work and contribution of environmental justice leaders.


Our program aims to develop and prepare environmental justice leaders by providing meaningful and impactful experiences in our environmental justice program. Through the program, we aim to harness and hone our fellowship recipients’ skills, knowledge, and tools to advance environmental justice policies and practices from the hyperlocal to the national level.


By investing in these emerging leaders, we envision a world in which communities that are most impacted by oppressive systems are able to cultivate and benefit from emerging, collaborative, and transformational solutions to promote healthy, sustainable, and just environments.


The Environmental Justice Fellows Program at NWF is aligned with and in honor of the work that Dana Alston, and countless others, have led in our communities across generations.


Fellows will either receive a specific project or co-create their scope of work, in collaboration with the program leadership. This will include a vision for the project, clear goals and outcomes, and the creation of effective products that can be utilized in a variety of ways.


Some example projects include:


  • Conducting research - this fellow might produce a research report or paper summarizing their findings, as well as recommendations for policy or practice changes that could address the issue.
  • Community organizing or advocacy - this fellow might produce a project such as a community education campaign or a policy advocacy effort.
  • Data-tracking and visualization - this fellow might look at a timely and relevant event that is important to environmental justice, like a particular law or policy and evaluate its impact and visualize the relevant information in a way that can be useful to policy makers, decision-makers, community groups, etc.
  • Communications - this fellow might create a series of storytelling pieces that center and amplify the voices and messages coming from our most impacted communities. This could come in the form of story mapping, docu-series, social media, etc.
  • Policy - this fellow might examine the cumulative impacts of various federal, state, and local policy on communities most burdened by environmental injustices. This could look like the creation of a toolkit for community engagement, roadmaps for accessing government resources, or policy recommendations that alleviate these burdens.


The Fellows Program will:


  • Provide participants with an immersive and experiential opportunity to engage in the field of environmental justice;
  • Connect participants to a nation-wide network of environmental justice leaders and stakeholders, providing opportunities for continued learning and growth;
  • Cultivate participants deep understanding of environmental justice principles and policies to advance systemic change in communities; and
  • Include site visits to communities impacted by environmental injustice.


What is Covered:


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 $25.00 per hour plus core benefits. This fellow will:


  • Receive individualized support through ongoing check-ins and updates with Senior Program Manager;
  • Be an integrated member of the Environmental Justice program at NWF;
  • Have access to all NWF related program tools and resources;
  • Engage with a network of leaders in the Environmental Justice and the conservation movements;
  • Assist in the programmatic evaluation and planning of the 2024 fellowship program, drawing on the experiences and lessons learned from the 2023 program.




We invite applications from people who work with or in environmental justice organizations, who represent frontline climate communities, and/or who have a strong background in environmental justice-oriented organizing and practice.


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.
  • 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


Applicants are invited to learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s required equity competencies at


Location and Work Mode:


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 fellow will work on a fully remote 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. Proof of vaccination will be required for employment at the National Wildlife Federation.




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


To apply for the fellowship, please provide the following:


  • A three-to-five-page proposal expressing your interest in the fellowship, the scope (including vision, goals, methods, and products) of the project you plan to work on during your time with the program, and how you hope to grow as a result of this opportunity.
  • 2-3 letters of recommendation from a recent professor, prior supervisor, or other professional contact.
  • Any examples of past work that you feel demonstrate or reflect your interest in this work and your ability to advance solutions (please do not submit more than two examples).


Fellows will be selected based on the following considerations: application materials, the type/scope of project interested in, environmental justice experience and geographic representation.


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


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 or 703-438-6244.


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

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