Director of Allegheny Highlands Program – Virginia

The Nature Conservancy
Hot Springs, VA
Job Category
Full time Positions
Min. $75,000
Last Date to Apply
The Director of the Allegheny Highlands Program is responsible for government and community relations, land protection and management, education and outreach, and science and research in a six-county region of Virginia, including stewardship of the 9,000-acre Warm Springs Mountain Preserve. S/he provides leadership and support for the program’s conservation planning and establishes overall conservation priorities in the AH program area. The Director coordinates that work with major state, federal and private partners while also serving as the coordinator for the Conservancy’s Central Appalachian Program’s efforts to collaborate with public land managers across the region. Located in western Virginia, the Allegheny Highlands boasts some of the finest intact temperate broadleaf forests in the world, along with intricate cave and karst systems that recharge pristine rivers and harbor endemic species. The region’s forests help protect the headwaters of the James and Potomac rivers, which supply drinking water to the people of Northern Virginia, D.C. and Richmond before ultimately feeding into the Chesapeake Bay. Embedded within millions of acres of national forest and other public lands, teaming with native trout streams, and traversed by miles of trails - the area is an outdoor recreation paradise.

The Director of the Allegheny Highlands Program establishes the Conservancy as a major conservation partner within western Virginia and the Central Appalachians, defines conservation priorities in the region, manages a team that implements conservation strategies, and builds strategic, scientific, and technical capacity in the field. S/he collaborates with other TNC staff in the fields of conservation, government relations, marketing, philanthropy, and operations, along with chapter leadership, and is the principle contact with the local community, landowners, corporations, donors, government agencies, the academic community and local elected officials. The Director develops key partnerships with public and private organizations to identify and resolve complex technical issues and to widely communicate lessons learned and best practices, develops innovative scientific methods, analyses, tools, and frameworks to address system-scale needs, implements high-impact strategies, and engages community support for local and regional conservation efforts. S/he negotiates complex and innovative solutions with government agencies and landowners to conserve and protect natural communities and develops and implements conservation strategies that are good for people and nature. Current priority strategies that the Director will lead include: 1) working with the U.S. Forest Service and partners through the Central Appalachians Fire Learning Network to advance the restoration of fire-adapted forests, 2) positioning Warm Springs Mountain Preserve as a flagship preserve for outdoor recreation enthusiasts, donors and researchers while modeling responsible stewardship and demonstrating sound ecological management, 3) advancing the science and management of private working lands to improve habitat for golden-winged warblers and other species of greatest conservation need, and 4) ensuring application of the mitigation hierarchy to natural gas pipeline and future energy infrastructure projects facing the region.
Minimum qualifications:
• BA/BS degree and 7 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
• Fundraising experience or proposal development and writing, including identifying donor prospects and donor cultivation.
• Experience managing complex or multiple projects, including managing finances and coordinating the work of other professionals and partners.
• Supervisory experience, including hiring, motivating, leading, mentoring, setting objectives and managing performance.
• Experience developing partnerships (conservation partners, community, government.)
• Negotiation, facilitation and conflict resolution skills.
• Must have valid driver’s license and safe driving record per TNC’s Auto Safety Program.

Preferred skills and experience:
• Demonstrated experience influencing, developing and implementing conservation policy and plans.
• Knowledge of current trends in conservation planning, landscape ecology, climate adaptation, adaptive management and effectiveness monitoring, including fire management and restoration.
• Ability to develop practical applications of scientific concepts and technical innovations for conservation purposes.
• Working knowledge of general ecological principles and ability to direct conservation field work, with a broad grounding in natural resources management and familiarity with the ecology, flora and fauna of the Appalachians region.
• Familiarity with National Forest System land management and policy.
• Communicating clearly via written, spoken, and graphical means in English.
• Politically savvy and experienced in partnership development (partners, community, government).
• Current certification or ability to obtain NWCG Firefighter Type II qualification.

For more information or to apply, go to, click Search Careers and search by the position title and/or location, then click Apply Now to submit an online application. It is necessary to complete the application in its entirety. In addition, submit resume (required) and a letter of interest that includes salary requirements in separate documents.
Contact Person
Suzanna Turanyi
Contact eMail
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