Director of Land Conservation

Mojave Desert Land Trust Published: March 14, 2023
Joshua Tree, Remote/Hybrid, CA
Skill Level
Senior Level
Job Type
CEO/ Senior Mgmt/ Exec Director / Natural Resources/ Restoration

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The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to protect the Mojave and Colorado Desert ecosystems and their natural, scenic, and cultural resource values. Our service area spans nearly 26 million acres. Since 2006 we have secured permanent and lasting protection for over 110,000 acres and we are poised to protect more significant land in the next five years.

MDLT is at an important inflection point. We are striving to meet significant environmental challenges in the desert with bold action to protect and restore land for the wildlife and people who call it home.

Job Summary

MDLT is looking for an experienced individual to work closely with the Joint Executive Directors and the Director of Land Acquisition in all aspects of the organization’s land conservation strategy. The Director of Land Conservation is a senior leadership position and is responsible for developing, managing, and implementing MDLT’s conservation land stewardship, restoration and research efforts for a diverse portfolio of fee and conservation easement lands totaling approximately 50,000 acres and spanning across the entire California desert region.

The Director is responsible for securing (in collaboration with MDLT’s Grant Strategist) managing and implementing several large, state, and federal grants that fund MDLT’s land conservation work. The Director is expected to regularly meet and coordinate with state and federal agency partners including the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as serve as an MDLT representative at various coalition, group and community meetings and events pertaining to desert conservation.

Reports To: This is a senior leadership position reporting directly to the Joint Executive Directors.

Location: The ideal candidate would reside in the Joshua Tree area and occupy a private office at MDLT headquarters. However, this position is eligible for hybrid working. Extensive time in Joshua Tree and in the field are required, but the candidate may work from home as appropriate.


  • Cultivate and develop MDLT’s arid land restoration program and oversee all restoration projects.
  • Create and assess techniques to help promote native plant propagation and habitat resilience on conservation lands.
  • Oversee and implement MDLT’s land stewardship obligations including property monitoring, land management plans and other stewardship responsibilities.
  • Help research and guide grant opportunities for restoration and research projects. Responsibilities include grant strategy and planning, grant application drafting, and grant project completion oversight.
  • Supervise a team of four or more field staff.
  • Meet with federal and state agency partners, fellow nonprofit organizations, and other groups as needed to strategize, coordinate tasks, and meet objectives related to desert conservation.
  • Develop and manage work plans, department budgets and fulfill all reporting requirements, including annual reporting and grant reports.
  • Evaluate and help improve MDLT systems pertaining to Land and Natural Resources Management.
  • Update job knowledge by remaining aware of new research, participating in educational opportunities, reading professional publications, maintaining personal networks, and participating in professional organizations. Present work and findings at related conferences when possible.
  • Interact with donors and funders by giving tours and providing information as needed.
  • Ensure compliance with local, state, and federal laws and organizational policies. Adhere to national Land Trust Alliance Standards for land ownership and stewardship.


Any combination of education and experience which would likely provide the necessary knowledge and abilities may be qualifying. A typical way to obtain the required knowledge and abilities would include the following:


  • A minimum of five years’ work experience in arid lands restoration ecology, conservation land management, or relevant biology/ecology work with non-profits, agencies, private consulting, or academia.
  • In-depth knowledge of general desert ecology and environmental systems. Desired specialties could include desert riparian systems, spring ecology, native plants restoration, desert tortoise biology, wildlife corridor systems, or other relevant focus.
  • Demonstrated experience in harsh conditions or climates.
  • Experience developing and managing large-scale conservation projects necessitating the management of complex budgets, multiple personnel, contractor and grant agreements.
  • Experiencing managing $500,000+ grants, including managing deliverables, tracking budgets, and writing timely reports.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Experience in public speaking and maintaining professional relationships with elected officials and seniorlevel state and federal agency officials.
  • Experience working with tribes and/or tribal entities.
  • Experience in local, state and federal environmental policy.
  • Proficiency with MS Office, Office 365, and ArcGIS.
  • Proven ability to strategize and problem-solve in complex systems.
  • Strong leadership and organizational skills.
  • Proven success in working collaboratively with staff, vendors and outside partners.
  • Experience in a senior management position.

Education and/or Training:

  • B.A./B.S. in Biology, Ecology, Land Management or a relevant field.
  • Preference will be given to candidates with a Master’s degree in a related field.

Certificates, Licenses, Registration:

  • Must possess and maintain in good standing a valid California Class C Driver’s License.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Genuine interest in MDLT’s mission. Preference given to candidates with experience working with land trusts, agencies, environmental non-profits, and/or relevant consulting companies.
    Ability to travel to remote desert lands for field work and data collection.
  • Strong organizational skills and an attention to detail.
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively on a team and to build and maintain positive relationships within all levels of the organization.
  • Ability to balance competing priorities, complex situations, and tight deadlines.
  • Strong project coordination skills and ability to create and track multiple budgets.
  • Ability to work well and in a respective manner with outside partners and individuals to help achieve
  • MDLT’s broad conservation mission.
  • Possess the knowledge and skills to assess project circumstances and opportunities, and ability to think creatively and “outside the box” to help MDLT navigate the desert conservation climate.

Why our employees love working at MDLT

  • MDLT is the type of organization where you can balance great work with great life. Every day we go to work filled with passion to be excellent, to creatively problem solve and to innovate.
  • Pay will be based on experience and qualifications, ranging from $70,000 to $90,000 with annual cash bonuses based on performance.

We also offer an excellent benefit package including:

  • Medical, Dental and Vision Insurance Benefits
  • 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan with a generous company match
  • Generous paid time off – extensive vacation, holidays, administrative time, personal time, and sick time - (additional paid holiday break between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day)
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Teleworking/Cell Phone Stipend
  • Flexible Savings Account (FSA) Pre-tax savings for medical expenses not covered by insurance
  • Dependent Care Savings Account Pre-tax savings for childcare services

How to Apply

  • Please click "Apply" below to email Lani Brown, Director of Operations & Human Resources. Include a thoughtful cover letter addressing your reasons for interest and how your experience prepares you for this position as well as a current resume. Please include at least three professional references with contact information.
  • All applications are held in confidence; references will not be contacted until later in the search process with the candidate’s prior knowledge. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the successful candidate is selected.

About our Team:

We are a team of highly motivated and passionate people who care deeply about our mission and one
another. At MDLT, we believe in and support workplace diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. It is our
belief that a diverse and inclusive workforce leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for
everyone. In recruiting for our team, we welcome the unique contributions that you can bring in terms of
education, opinions, culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age,
languages spoken, veteran’s status, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and beliefs. If you have the skills, the passion to make an impact, and enjoy an enthusiastic work environment where differences of opinion and diverse backgrounds are respected and welcomed, then we want to hear from you!

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