Director of Conservation Programs

Mohonk Preserve Published: June 2, 2023
New Paltz, NY
Skill Level
Senior Level
Job Type
Natural Resources/ Restoration / Planning / Land Use / Program Management

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About Mohonk Preserve:

Located in the beautiful Hudson River Valley, Mohonk Preserve is New York’s largest nonprofit nature preserve. Our mission is to protect the Shawangunk Mountains region and inspire people to care for, enjoy, and explore their natural world. We manage over 8,000 acres of mountain cliffs, forests, fields, and streams through four integrated programs – Conservation, Education, Stewardship, and Visitor Experience – and welcome over 300,000 members and visitors each year who come to hike, run, rock climb, boulder, bike, cross-country ski, snowshoe and enjoy and experience nature.

Based in a vibrant university community, Mohonk Preserve offers a great working environment in one of New York’s greenest counties, with all-season recreation, access to Preserve lands, a dynamic, committed team of conservation professionals and long legacy of conducting ecological research and environmental education. The Preserve is also the home of one of America’s premier rock-climbing destinations.

Equal Opportunity Employer:

Mohonk Preserve is an Equal Opportunity Employer dedicated to creating an inclusive culture where employees from diverse backgrounds can thrive and support our mission. Successful candidates will be equity-minded and committed to furthering our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) goals.

About the Position:

The Director of Conservation Programs is a senior level manager and a member of the Mohonk Preserve Leadership Team responsible for providing vision, leadership and oversight for the Preserve’s conservation initiatives. The Director is responsible for strategic planning, managing, budgeting, and implementation of the Preserve’s conservation programs, which include staff specialized in land protection and conservation science.

As Director you will oversee all research partnerships, scientific observations and applied management programs to ensure that the Preserve’s scientific data, resources, capacity, and expertise are leveraged to have maximum impact on the organization’s mission and goals. The Director also oversees all aspects of the Preserve’s acquisition and ownership of land and land rights and is responsible for assuring that the Preserve’s boundaries are legally understood and protected. The Director actively promotes interdepartmental collaboration and leads interdepartmental projects involving climate change, advocacy, and other topics.

The Director need not have expertise in the full range of activities undertaken by the department. The Preserve’s land protection and conservation science staff are experienced professionals with deep expertise in their fields.

  • Reporting: The Director of Conservation Programs reports to the President & CEO.
  • Classification: Full time (40 hours per week), Regular, Exempt

Essential Functions:

  • Actively participate in the Preserve’s senior leadership team, supporting organizational planning and interdepartmental initiatives.
  • Recruit, manage, train, motivate, support, and empower a strategic, high-performing conservation team, providing direction and mentorship for the team and for each team member. Team includes: Land Protection & GIS Manager, Research Ecologist, Applied Forest Ecologist, Community Science Coordinator, seasonal staff, interns and volunteers.
  • Serve as staff lead for the Preserve’s Board committees both the Conservation Committee and the Land Protection Committee.
  • Prepare and submit annual budgets, departmental workplans, performance evaluation reports, and other information as required or requested by the President & CEO.
  • Promote integration of the Preserve’s observational natural history data into regional and global studies.
  • Ensure that the Preserve upholds Land Trust Standards and Practices required to maintain accreditation with the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.
  • Promote land conservation and stewardship through participation in partnerships and forums as appropriate and engage local communities around the benefits of land conservation.
  • Coordinate with outside organizations and regulatory agencies as needed to enable land acquisition and land management projects.
  • Collaborate with Development department staff to identify and develop funding strategies to secure funds for conservation initiatives from both individual donors and institutional funders.

Desired Skills and Experience:

At Mohonk Preserve, our priority is finding the best candidate for the job. We encourage you to apply even if you don't meet all the qualifications or have a less traditional background.

  • Master’s degree in Ecology, Biology, Forestry, Climate Science, Natural Resource Management, Conservation or related field and 5+ years of related experience, OR equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience in leadership roles in conservation or natural resource management.
  • Essential supervisory skills including effective communication, listening skills, conflict resolution, strong leadership, critical thinking, priority management, diversity awareness, problem solving, guiding workloads, staff development, managing performance, people skills, openness to advice and willingness to learn.
  • Ability to inspire and work with staff, Board of Directors, researchers, community partners and volunteers.
  • Demonstrated enthusiasm for science-driven land management.
  • Knowledge of leading trends in climate science, land protection and land management.
  • Proven ability to set and implement priorities, manage multiple projects and evaluate project success.
  • Exemplary communication abilities including written, oral and presentation skills; experience communicating with partner organizations.
  • Excellent computer skills - Microsoft Office 365 applications, remote work platforms (e.g., Teams, Zoom)
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice to ensure that all people are respected and welcomed at the Mohonk Preserve. This includes participating in ongoing education and other work the organization undertakes to develop and incorporate these principles.
  • Willingness to work occasional irregular hours, including some weekends, evenings, and/or holidays, including participation in Preserve and community
  • Valid driver’s license; clean driving record; ability to pass background check.
  • Bonus skills:
    • Familiarity with real estate transactions, multi-party land acquisitions and conservation easements
    • Familiarity with land management and restoration techniques
    • Strong knowledge of regional flora and fauna
    • Experience conducting environmental field research

Physical Demands:

  • Minimal to light physical effort is required in performing duties in an office environment. This position requires the ability to operate a computer and standard office equipment and lift up to 20 pounds.
  • Occasionally works outdoors. Requires the ability to navigate in off-trail conditions, sometimes in extremely rugged terrain, in all weather conditions while carrying equipment for up to eight hours.
  • May require sitting, standing, walking, hiking, climbing stairs, stooping, bending, carrying equipment.

Compensation and Benefits:

  • Salary: $80 – $84k per year based on experience
  • Benefits:
    • Health Insurance – employer’s contribution toward premium is 95% for individual; 50% for family 
    • Life & Disability Insurance
    • Dental & Vision Plans
    • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
    • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
    • 403B Retirement Plan – includes employer contribution
    • Supplemental Retirement Annuity - available upon hire
    • Paid vacation and 12 ½ paid holidays
    • Generous sick time
    • Personal days (3 days)
    • Hybrid work schedule available
    • Comp and Flex time
    • Mohonk Preserve membership for the duration of the position
    • Access to lands and activities of Mohonk Mountain House resort

Eligibility for certain benefits is dependent upon a variety of factors including length of employment.


Mohonk Preserve’s main offices are located at our Visitor Center in Gardiner, NY. This position will be based out of the Preserve’s Daniel Smiley Research Center (DSRC) currently on the grounds of the Mohonk Mountain House resort. Mohonk Preserve offers hybrid work schedules at this time – coordinated with their supervisor and depending on the job, staff may be able to split time working remotely, as well as in the office and in-person on the land. Generally standard working hours, with some flexibility, to be coordinated with supervisor.

Note: Mohonk Preserve is a smoke-free campus.

How to Apply:

  • Please click "Apply" below to email cover letter, resume, and 3 professional references (include phone and email) by May 26, 2023.
  • The anticipated start date of this position is early August 2023.
  • No phone calls please.
  • Learn more about Mohonk Preserve online

This job announcement is not intended to represent a complete, comprehensive list of all duties and responsibilities that may be required in this position. There may be unplanned activities and other duties assigned.

When you apply for this position, please say you saw this job on Green Dream Jobs!!

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