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Kate Zimmerman Policy Fellow

Job Location

Denver, CO


Type of Job




Published By

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Published Date

Jun 7, 2023

About the job

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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 National Wildlife Federation’s Water for Wildlife goal is “to protect and restore the natural function and quality of the nation’s waters, wetlands, floodplains, and riparian areas to sustain healthy fish and wildlife populations”. The availability of water for wildlife and people in the Western U.S. is subject to long-term aridification, extreme heat events and forest fires, habitat degradation, and severely competing interests for scarce water resources. The quality and quantity of water in the West is heavily dependent on the lands that surround the West’s waterways, including the riparian and wetland areas that filter, enhance, and extend water supplies. Therefore, the National Wildlife Federation is seeking a Kate Zimmerman Policy Fellow to support the Western Water Director in improving land management policies and practices that foster resilience and sustainability of the West’s water resources, with a focus on the restoration and protection of riparian corridors. This 11-month position offers $25.00 per hour plus core benefits.


This Fellowship honors Kate Zimmerman, a public lands champion and giant of conservation policy that helped to conserve millions of acres of the nation’s public lands during her illustrious career. Kate worked as NWF’s Public Lands Policy Director, and was a shrewd legal mind and tireless advocate. The Kate Zimmerman Legal Fellowship builds on Kate’s legacy and supports the leadership development of the next generation of women conservation policy leaders.


As the Kate Zimmerman Policy Fellow, you will report directly to the NWF’s Western Water Director, and work alongside our Western teams and policy experts based in Washington, DC and around the country.


In this role you will:


Develop an assessment of the opportunities and needs for scaling riverscape restoration adoption on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in the Colorado River Basin (CRB) that reflects the best information from partners and stakeholders across the region. This assessment will support and inform an effort to develop a grassroots advocacy strategy to help facilitate the adoption of riverscape restoration as a priority on BLM lands in the CRB. Your role in developing this assessment may include:


  • Interviewing key stakeholders with experience in and knowledge of the planning, approvals, and implementation of low-tech process-based restoration projects in the West to identify core opportunities, barriers, or levers to adopting riverscape restoration. This may include BLM current or retired staff, partners, and stakeholders throughout the region;
  • Reviewing applicable state, local, federal and tribal programs, directives, administrative and regulatory policy, regulations and statutes that may impact the adoption of riverscape restoration in the region;
  • Reviewing existing guidance produced by non-governmental partners;
  • Incorporating guidance from economic reviews, polling, and other data into the assessment;
  • Developing drafts of an assessment, facilitating review of the assessment by subject matter experts, and presenting the findings from the assessment to NWF and other partners.


Contribute to the development of a grassroots advocacy strategy that will foster the adoption of riverscape restoration as a priority on BLM lands in the CRB. Your role may include:


  • Researching key decision-makers and other critical roles or individuals that heavily influence the adoption of riverscape restoration on BLM lands;
  • Interviewing and conveying information from state or local leaders with in-depth knowledge of BLM that can support a robust advocacy strategy.


Assist the Director of Western Water in overseeing the administration of the Western Water program, including overseeing contractors, arranging meetings, etc.




  • Passion for protecting and restoring the natural function and quality of Western waters, wetlands, floodplains, and riparian areas that allow wildlife and people of all backgrounds to survive and thrive.
  • Knowledge of the policy frameworks specific to public lands management and/or riparian resources, policy, and conservation;
  • Demonstrated ability to research and analyze policy materials and to convey findings in writing and orally;
  • Excellent research and analytical abilities;
  • Detail-oriented with strong organizational skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to work well with diverse interests, including environmental justice and Tribal representatives, labor, business, and conservation groups.
  • Ability to thrive in a multiple-task work environment, work independently with minimal supervision, set priorities and follow through to completion, with excellent attention to detail and strong organizational skills;
  • Computer proficiency in MS Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.


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


Travel Requirements:


There may be travel of up to 2 times a month with trips from 1-4 days.


Location and Work Mode:


This position is based out of our Rocky Mountain Regional Center in Denver, CO. 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 in the office, in a hybrid manner, or fully remote, 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:


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. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.


For more information on our recruiting process, please review our Careers page:


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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