Executive Director

Yaak Valley Forest Council Published: February 6, 2020
Yaak, Montana, Montana
Job Type
CEO/ Senior Mgmt/ Exec Director /

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~ The Yaak Valley Forest Council was formed in 1997 by local residents concerned with the health and management of the million-acre Yaak Valley. ~

The Yaak's unique location, with its combination of Pacific coast and Rocky Mountain weather, has resulted in a uniquely biodiverse ecosystem of sensitive species. We endeavor to protect the Yaak’s water, woods, and wild places and support our local Yaak community towards sustainable land practices.  Check out our website to learn more.

Position Overview and Definitions

Our long-time Executive Director is retiring and we are looking for a strong new leader, able to dynamically coordinate between staff and board of directors to achieve our conservation goals. 

YVFC desires that the Executive Director has strong communication & listening skills and coaches employees effectively. The Executive Director should have the ability to learn from the past, think outside the box, a willingness to take calculated risks and possess a realistic yet optimistic outlook.

The Executive and Conservation Director position is a full-time, year-round position that will make a major contribution to the fulfillment of the Yaak Valley Forest Council’s conservation goals. This position will report to the YVFC Board of Directors, some of whom are active subcommittee participants. 

General Responsibilities

YVFC’s executive and conservation director is responsible for the thorough and competent implementation and maintenance of conservation program activities that include, but are not limited to:

Grizzly Bear Protection and Recovery - We seek to advance the recovery of the Yaak grizzly bear subpopulation and connectivity to adjacent populations. The director will be responsible for advancing creative recovery efforts, partnering with state and federal agencies tasked with recovery, education, and outreach on behalf of this goal, lobbying, and advocacy, and keeping the plight of the Yaak grizzlies—the most endangered subpopulations in Montana and the West—at the top of news cycles. It will be the responsibility of the director as well to cultivate and nurture, in conjunction with board and staff, significant relationships with other grizzly advocates in the state, around the region, and across the country, as well as globally. Twenty-five bears are not enough. 

Wilderness Advocacy - Promote and implement YVFC Wilderness Goals and Objectives. Identify and prioritize landscape-scale restoration projects and wilderness protection. Build on existing coalitions and relationships to advocate for wilderness designation in the Yaak Valley ecosystem. This position requires effective communication and the building of relationships across ideological lines within the Yaak community and with local, state and national organizations and stakeholders.  This position will engage in advocacy, campaign strategy, media outreach and elements of fundraising.  

Conservation Education and Community Development -  Our goal is to increase critical thinking skills and ecological literacy, in addition to positive outdoor experiences. We achieve this through educational programs and summer camps designed for students in local school districts. In collaboration with local gardeners and city officials, YVFC has been instrumental in establishing a Troy Farmers Market that enjoys a steadily growing base of support and participation. We seek to expand these successes to other communities adjacent to the Yaak as well as in the community of Yaak itself.

Forest Watch -  We work to protect the wild, roadless areas in the Yaak and support wilderness designation while developing long term forest restoration projects that employ local contractors. We engage in scoping proposals with the U.S. Forest Service to see that our values are being addressed. We monitor vegetative management proposals both before and after logging to hold the agency accountable for its projects.

Headwaters Restoration Partnership Project  - The Headwaters program works to improve habitat for native fish species. We are actively working to expand the effectiveness of the program, both in the U.S. and Canada where the main stem of the Yaak River originates. We continue to perform bank stability surveys, restoration projects and non-toxic weed treatment on both public and private lands to restore the health and productivity of waters within the Yaak watershed. 

Other Areas of Responsibility:  

  • Team Leadership, management, and evaluation of staff including office manager and social media coordinator, headwaters field crew leader, crew, conservation education, and community development coordinator, and grants manager. 
  • Work with grants manager and YVFC board of directors in conjunction with the contracted YVFC bookkeeper to create a yearly program budget and maintain the financial health of the organization. With the assistance of the bookkeeper prepare Quarterly progress and financial reports for the board of directors.
  • Coordinate and communicate quarterly (and as needed) with the board of directors on organization issues and projects. 
  • Provide prescriptive recommendations for a combination of commercial and noncommercial vegetative management techniques designed to promote ecosystem health through habitat and water quality restoration, erosion control, and protection of endangered and sensitive species.   
  • Facilitate and provide overhead administrative support for future research efforts targeting threats to biodiversity in the Yaak under realistic climate change scenarios and in light of recreational and economic land management practices. 
  • Assist in community organization of a local restoration workforce, a task that requires an understanding of national land management policies, stewardship, and implementation of contracts. 
  • Submit materials and provide quality control for material published on the YVFC website, external correspondence, op-eds, press releases, newsletters, campaigns and partner requests.
  • Represent Yaak Valley Forest Council within the conservation community and in the public arena.
  • Participate in training opportunities for individual, organizational and program development


  • Education and/or experience in at least one and ideally two or more of the following areas: environmental conservation, environmental law, natural resource management or biological sciences, forestry and federal lands policy. This should include a working knowledge of forest ecology, principles of conservation and landscape biology, watershed and stream restoration, sustainable land use, and current threats to biodiversity. 
  • Demonstrated experience in leading an organization in a time of change. Ability to develop and implement long term and short term strategy in the accomplishment of goals.  
  • The ability to represent the YVFC in order to effectively raise funds necessary to finance and forward the organizational objectives. 
  • A professional track-record of proven excellence in management, delegation, and staff leadership. 
  • The ability to effectively network and communicate in order to build relationships with government agencies, elected officials and in collaborative groups and partnerships.
  • Capable of leading public outreach events for stakeholders, donors, and other interested parties.
  • Technological proficiency in the use of software for word and data processing (e.g. Word and Excel or equivalents) as well as social media and web-based platforms for communication and organization. 
  • An understanding of financial processes and non-profit accounting practices.
  •  Strong organizational skills and the ability to maintain confidentiality.

Desired Skills and Attributes:

  • A strategic thinker able to guide the organization, preferably with a background in organization development. 
  • Due to the ever-changing issues that confront the Yaak Valley, new projects, concerns, and issues arise in a dynamic and sometimes unpredictable fashion. The executive and conservation director must be able to identify environmental / conservation threats to the Yaak Valley and to develop tactics with staff and board members to overcome those threats to ensure success. 
  • Effective at interpersonal, verbal, and written communication.
  • The ability to work independently, prioritize projects and meet multiple deadlines in a changing environment.
  • An inspiring leader capable of bringing together staff, board, stakeholders, supporters, and donors in pursuing the strong conservation ethics of YVFC.
  • Strong moral character, a person with integrity, authenticity and a commitment to the protection of the Yaak Valley. 

Salary and Benefits

  • Salary - $45,000 to $55,000 annually, depending on experience.  
  • Permanent full-time position
  • Medical Insurance monthly stipend
  • Paid holidays
  • 3 weeks paid vacation after one year

To Apply

Please click "Apply" below to submit the following application materials:

  • Resume 
  • Cover letter explaining the motivation for your application 
  • A 1-4 page statement describing your approach towards and previous experience with organizational management, development, and project outreach.  
  • A 1-4  page statement detailing your background with environmental conservation and your specific motivation for contributing towards conservation in the Yaak. 
  • Closing Date:  Review of applications will begin February 9, 2020, but the position will remain open to applications until filled.  

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

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