Conservation Project Associate

Regular, Full-Time
Job Category
Program/Project Management


Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action.  By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive.  And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level.  What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 23 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country.  Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).




Audubon California


Audubon's mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. By connecting people with nature, Audubon is a leader in creating a powerful voice for the environment, deeply rooted in and broadly drawn from all parts of our population. We accomplish this through conservation, advocacy, community involvement, and tapping into an active network that includes more than 350,000 members and supporters and 48 affiliated chapters in communities throughout California. Audubon California is a field program of the National Audubon Society.

Audubon California works at a regional scale collaborating with Audubon Chapters and other State programs and external partners along the Pacific Flyway.  In addition, we implement cross-cutting conservation strategies with Audubon partners across the country and hemisphere, including our work in Coastal Stewardship, Seabird Conservation, Working Lands, and Bird-Friendly Communities.

Audubon California’s Working Lands Program is focused on increasing and sustaining the habitat value of California’s agricultural lands to ensure the conservation of birds and other wildlife in the context of a productive agricultural landscape. We work at multiple levels, partnering with farmers, wetland managers, agricultural organizations, public agencies, and other conservation groups to develop and implement creative, cost-effective ways to meet our goals.


Position Summary

The Conservation Project Associate is an integral member of Audubon California’s Working Lands Team, supporting projects to enhance the habitat value of managed wetlands and agricultural lands for birds and other wildlife. The Working Lands Team utilizes research, planning, advocacy, restoration, and implementation to advance bird habitat enhancement goals in the Central Valley. As a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership, the Project Associate will work closely with The Nature Conservancy and Point Blue Conservation Science, as well as with public agencies, especially the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Resource Conservation Districts, agricultural producer organizations, farmers, wetland managers, and conservation partners.

The Project Associate reports to the Working Lands Project Director and collaborates directly with all members of the Working Lands Team. This position is based in Sacramento, California.


Candidates should submit a cover letter when applying to this position.  Position will remain open until filled.


Essential Functions

  • Partner with Working Lands staff on project implementation, tracking, and reporting for habitat enhancement efforts on Central Valley wetlands, rice and alfalfa, Tricolored Blackbirds, hedgerows, and groundwater recharge.
  • Identify, develop and write grants to government agencies and foundations to fund projects. Manage project budgets, reporting requirements, and third party contracts.
  • Work with Audubon and Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership staff to assess the value of alternative wetland and farm management practices and achieve research goals. Conduct bird and other habitat monitoring at research sites, and communicate results to scientific and non-scientific audiences. Navigate sensitive landowner relationships at private lands research sites.
  • In collaboration with the Working Lands Team, engage landowners, agencies, and Audubon chapters to build partnerships for restoration and enhancement projects and advocacy for Central Valley habitat.
  • Serve as a public representative of Audubon and the Working Lands team which may include presentations, public speaking, meeting participation and/or other interactions with agencies, NGOs, Audubon chapters, and landowners to both gather and disseminate information.
  • Advise project partners, such as Resource Conservation Districts and other NGOs, on restoration design and native plants to enhance bird habitat. Provide on-site assessments and guidance to implement successful restoration projects.
  • Other duties as assigned.



Qualifications and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology, natural resources management, or related field.  Equivalent combination of education and experience also considered.
  • Three years experience in conservation planning and/or project development/coordination.
  • Ability to manage complex projects with a variety of partners and to meet deadlines is essential.  Previous experience with design and management of restoration projects preferred.
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills and the ability to build consensus among a wide range of individuals (e.g. conservation partners, private landowners and farmers, volunteers, and local community members).  Demonstrated experience with grant writing, writing scientific reports or papers, and writing for a general, non-science audience.
  • Strong project management skills, including but not limited to setting and implementing effective goals and objectives, problem-solving, time management, contract and grant management, creating and maintaining collaborations with other organizations, developing public awareness activities, preparing reports, etc.
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

  • Comfort navigating contentious regulatory issues to seek common ground with diverse interests.
  • Knowledge and appreciation of the people, values, and current conservation issues of agricultural landscapes and managed wetlands.
  • Experience working on field research or monitoring projects; work in an agricultural setting a plus.
  • A working knowledge of ArcGIS, comfort using a GPS unit and testing/using a new mapping system through ArcGIS Collector on an iPad preferred. Working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) required.
  • A flexible approach to work and willingness to take on new projects or tasks as needed.
  • Ability to engage in strenuous outdoor activity, carry field equipment and endure outdoor field conditions including cold and wet winter weather and extreme heat.
  • Willingness to conduct in-state travel, occasional out-of-state travel and be comfortable with working evenings and weekends as job responsibilities demand.
  • Valid driver's license required.


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