WildEarth Guardians

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Photo Credit: U.S. Forest Service

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Southwest Conservation Advocate


The review process has started and no more applications will be accepted at this time. If you submitted your application to this position, thank you.


Salary Range: $56,000 to $65,000

Location: AZ or NM (Santa Fe preferable or Tucson)

Deadline for Applications: July 17, 2022

Are you a Guardian for Wild Places?

WildEarth Guardians is seeking a full-time advocate in our Wild Places Program to advance a new paradigm of forest management and protection based on the growing body of science that demonstrates trees work cooperatively through symbiotic relationships between fungi and plants, which create shared mycorrhizal networks. These networks operate as a single organism connected by infinite biological pathways that allow trees to communicate and interact in intelligent ways, often described as ‘forest wisdom,’ which supports Traditional Ecological Knowledge and beliefs long held by Indigenous Peoples. The science, both new and old, make it clear that forests themselves have the intelligence and capacity for self healing and adaptation to new climate regimes.

In this position, the SW Advocate will be responsible for helping develop and advance new policies and protections for national forests in the southwestern US by promoting the concepts of “forest wisdom” throughout the region and increasing support for our forest protection work among a broad array of communities and interests. In addition, the SW Advocate will help develop and implement a communications plan to engage the general public, target audiences and media to broaden the reach of our forest wisdom message.

Importantly, the SW Advocate will also help integrate forest wisdom concepts into WildEarth Guardian’s ReWilding work, which seeks to improve the ecological integrity of national forest lands by advocating for the protection and restoration of important fish & wildlife habitat, connectivity, and climate change refugia. Specifically, the SW Advocate will track and engage in priority U.S. Forest Service projects and plans in the region. In addition to meeting with agency officials and crafting technical comments, often in conjunction with partners, the SW Advocate will coordinate with our WildPlaces attorney to help develop litigation when necessary. Ultimately, the SW Advocate will work to ensure forest ecosystems will be respected and managed responsibly and sustainably; that the natural and human environment is restored to the benefit of all people and living things; and that frontline communities do not bear disproportionate risks of environmental harm.

About WildEarth Guardians

WildEarth Guardians (Guardians) is a highly-effective west-wide nonprofit environmental advocacy organization headquartered in Santa Fe, NM with offices in Denver, CO, Missoula, MT, Boise, ID, Seattle, WA, and Tucson, AZ. With a 33-year history of bold environmental action, we wage innovative legal, political, and grassroots campaigns to protect and restore wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and community health in the American West.

WildEarth Guardians is committed to being an equitable, just, and inclusive organization. Toward this end, we are committed to celebrating diversity, buoying inclusivity, and striving towards equity. We are committed to integrity and accountability by continuing to seek out new training opportunities and in nurturing equity and inclusion throughout our organizational practices. We adopt Environmental Justice principles to guide our advocacy and outreach. We strive to confront injustice by welcoming a wide variety of voices as we defend the vulnerable from the powerful. We embrace opportunities to bring together as many people as we can to create a more just, beautiful, and equitable world.

The ReWilding Initiative mission is to restore wildness to public lands scarred by decades of exploitation and mismanagement, and to reconnect wildlife habitat and waterways across the American West through advocacy, education, and the effective use of the law. With more than 300 million acres of federal public land in the 11 western states, our goal is to protect wildlands and waters in the American West, with an eye towards rewilding fragmented and degraded landscapes, and protecting habitat on those lands for priority wildlife species.

Position Summary

The SW Conservation Advocate works closely with the ReWilding Manager to:

  • Understand and communicate the foundational scientific principles around “forest wisdom” in compelling ways to build a broad constituency that creates sufficient power to force public lands management agencies to protect and manage forest resources differently.
  • Assist in identifying policy changes that will advance a new forest paradigm that ensures greater reverence for, and protection of, Southwestern forests including mature and old growth forests and supports true ecological restoration.
  • Identify, review, track and comment on Forest Service projects and plans to ensure they meet applicable laws and support the long-term conservation of mature and old growth forest dependent wildlife, such as the Mexican spotted owl, as well as other priority species.
  • Communicate the ‘forest wisdom’ vision and its foundational scientific principles in compelling ways to Guardians’ members, the public, the media, and targeted agency personnel, decision-makers and funders.
  • Demonstrate the ability or willingness to learn and practice diversity, equity, justice and inclusion at Guardians.

The position is supervised by the ReWilding Manager.

Principal Responsibilities

  • Networking, Coalition building, Outreach and Communications (35%)
  • Project and Forest Plan Advocacy (30%)
  • Policy Advocacy (25%)
  • Administration & Organizational Support (10%)

Required Knowledge and Skills:

  • Strong relational skills (including ability to connect with and build coalitions with diverse stakeholders) and knowledge and understanding of communities and cultures, including Tribal Nations in the US Southwest; in particular in AZ and NM.
  • Strong background and familiarity of environmental and public land laws and policies with demonstrated technical writing experience
  • A 4-year college degree or equivalent skills and knowledge developed through professional or life experience.
  • At least 2 years of professional experience in related fields.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, with demonstrated experience in public outreach and coalition building.
  • Creative, self-starter with proven ability to work independently and collaboratively.
  • Commitment to creating a new paradigm for forest management, combating climate change, and restoring ecological processes and habitat for imperiled wildlife.
  • Strong moral compass and ability to stand against the tide.

Additional preferred skills include, but are not limited to:

  • Knowledge of and experience with Forest Service planning processes and project engagement.
  • Strong organizational skills and an ability to succeed in a fast-paced environment with a full workload where it is necessary to balance multiple tasks and deadlines.
  • Passion for protecting and restoring wild places and wildlife habitat of the American Southwest.
  • Interest and experience in bolstering issues of equity while confronting environmental injustice.
  • Integrity, kindness, sense of humor, and a healthy sense of outrage.
  • Bilingual (Spanish and/or Native Languages)

Compensation and Benefits

Salary: $56,000 to $65,000
Location: AZ or NM (Santa Fe preferable or Tucson)

WildEarth Guardians offers a friendly and flexible, team-based environment with an excellent benefits package. We provide opportunities to select benefits based on your personal preferences, your family situation, and/or your financial objectives. They include full health, vision, dental, life, and disability coverage, a 403(b) retirement plan with a 3% match after your first year, paid and unpaid health and family leave, a sabbatical policy, sick leave, three weeks paid vacation to start, and ten holidays including your birthday. Salary is negotiable, within salary range, based on experience.

To Apply

The review process has started and no more applications will be accepted at this time. If you submitted your application to this position, thank you.

WildEarth Guardians is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, class, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, family/marital status, religion or other protected classes. We encourage applications from persons of color, women and LGBTQ+ candidates.


Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) VISION STATEMENT 

Read Wildearth Guardian’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion statement