Staten Island Preserve Director & Conservation-Compatible Agricultural Practices Adviser

The Nature Conservancy Published: October 25, 2022
Walnut Grove, California
Skill Level
Senior Level, Mid Level
Job Type
Farm / Organics
(Number of Job Posting Views: 8)

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The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Grounded in science, we develop innovative solutions to the world’s toughest environmental challenges so that people and nature can thrive. Our work is guided by our values, which include a commitment to diversity; respect for people, communities, and cultures; and a collaborative, bipartisan approach. Thanks to more than 1 million members, over 400 scientists, and the dedicated efforts of our staff and partners, we impact conservation around the world. 

The California Chapter is TNC’s largest state program, with approximately 230 employees working to achieve our conservation mission, from financial analysts to on-the-ground ecologists. We are currently engaged in more than two dozen large-scale conservation projects statewide—projects that are designed to develop and test ideas to increase the pace, scale, and effectiveness of conservation. Over the past six decades, we have protected 1.4 million acres, 5,000 miles of streams, and 3.8 million acres of ocean habitat in California and off the coast. 

The California Chapter believes that we are most effective when we are embedded in our state’s communities, politics, media, and environmental issues. For this reason, and to reduce our carbon footprint when meeting in person, all staff live in California, including those in a home office.


Agricultural land uses cover large areas of the earth’s land surface, and ag practices can have significant direct and indirect effects on the environment, both on- and off-farm. California’s major agricultural landscapes are also areas of high importance for biodiversity conservation. The Nature Conservancy in California seeks to develop and advocate practices that improve the ability of these lands to provide habitat for key species and reduce adverse environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions.

The California Chapter engages in a variety of these landscapes, including by being an owner of properties that have agricultural leases or other ag operations. The most operationally complex of these properties is TNC’s 9,200-acre Staten Island Preserve in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Crop cover on the Preserve currently includes corn, rice, winter wheat, potato and alfalfa. Staten Island is managed as a site to develop, demonstrate, disseminate and advocate wildlife-friendly ag practices, primarily focused on providing a habitat stronghold for migratory birds like cranes and shorebirds.

Another priority for the preserve is developing practices for reversing subsidence and other trends that compromise the sustainability and resiliency of the farm and the habitat it provides; solutions for these problems are needed by landowners across the Delta. The Conservancy’s ambitious vision for the preserve – and the Delta region more generally – hinges on demonstrating a sustainable balance of farming and conservation. Farm operations on Staten Island are managed by a TNC related entity, Conservation Farms and Ranches (CFR). The Preserve Director engages with and receives guidance from the CFR Board of Directors, coordinates between CFR and TNC, and directs overall farm operations.   


The Staten Island Preserve Director and Conservation-Compatible Agriculture Practices Adviser provides agricultural expertise to TNC initiatives and teams in California. A principal responsibility is leading TNC’s program on its Staten Island Preserve. The Director coordinates between The Nature Conservancy and Conservation Farms and Ranches, ensuring that the two entities are aligned and complementary, and that farming and conservation efforts on the Preserve are appropriately balanced. They develop and advance an ambitious vision for the Preserve, which includes the provisioning of habitat for birds, and implementing climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies on the Preserve, such as carbon sequestration projects, carbon emissions reduction projects, solar panel installation, crop conversion from corn to rice, and wetland restoration. They represent TNC among a variety of stakeholders, and are responsible for developing, maintaining and leveraging high-level relationships with Delta agencies, nonprofits, farming entities, and others. They ensure public access on the Preserve is managed so as to build constituency for conservation, while also reducing conflict with farming operations and with wildlife. They work with commodities brokers to sell crops, and serve as a public official on Reclamation District 38 to maintain the levee system. The role may require frequent travel within and occasionally beyond California, and evening and weekend hours. They may work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances. Housing on-site is expected to be a condition of employment.


  • BA/BS degree and 7 years’ experience in conservation practice or related field or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Fundraising experience, including solicitation of public grants and engaging private donors.
  • Experience managing complex or multiple projects, including managing finances and coordinating the work of other professionals and partners.  
  • Supervisory experience, including motivating, leading, setting objectives and managing performance.
  • Experience in partnership development with non-profit partners, community groups and/or   government agencies.                                       
  • Experience negotiating.


  • 7-10 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Passion for conservation-compatible farming.
  • Experience with operations of large (>5000-acre) farms, including management of office and farm staff, and familiarity with compliance and labor matters.
  • Familiarity with California ecosystems, and issues associated with conservation, agriculture and water management.
  • Strong communication skills, both written and oral.
  • Political and business savvy.
  • Multi-lingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.


Each person who works at TNC contributes to our goal of protecting nature for future generations. Another one of TNC’s primary goals is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that employees around the globe feel that their unique contributions are valued. We know we’ll only achieve our mission by hiring and engaging a diverse staff that reflects the communities in which we work. We consider life experience in addition to the professional requirements listed in our postings. To quote a popular saying at TNC, “You’ll join for the mission, and you’ll stay for the people.” To learn more, head to YouTube to hear stories from staff or visit Glassdoor.  

We’re proud to support the health and wellbeing of the people we employ. We offer a competitive, comprehensive benefits package that includes healthcare coverage, flexible spending accounts, 401(k) plan with an 8% employer match, parental leave, accrued paid time off, life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, and other benefits that support work-life balance. Learn more on our culture webpage. 

If you’re interested in working with us, please apply—we’d love to hear from you.


To apply for job ID 52368, submit your materials (resume and cover letter) online by using the Apply Now button at by 8:59 PM PST/ 11:59 PM EST on November 20, 2022. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact

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TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

Covid: Where legally permissible, TNC requires all new employees to be fully vaccinated and willing to keep up to date with vaccines that protect against COVID-19.   By accepting an offer of employment, you agree to comply with this requirement, unless you are entitled to a legally mandated exemption.

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority, and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientations, gender identities, military or veteran status or other status protected by law. The Nature Conservancy is also a “big tent” organization. We believe that all people benefit from conservation and that the cause should be inclusive of everyone regardless of their political persuasion. We work hard to make conservation a non-partisan issue through partnerships with stakeholders, elected officials, and industries that span the political spectrum.

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