Local recruitment: Program Director (Mississippi River Water Initiative)

National Audubon Society

United States 🇺🇸


The National Audubon Society is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. We work throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state, regional, national, and international programs, nature centers, and chapters have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. As a sentinel species, we recognize that the fate of birds is inextricably tied to the fate of us all.

Audubon has more than 700 staff working across the United States and seven countries in 17 state and regional offices, 41 nature centers, and 23 wildlife sanctuaries. Together as one Audubon, we aspire to alter the course of climate change and habitat loss, leading to healthier bird populations and reversing current trends in biodiversity loss.

Audubon is committed to a culture of workplace excellence, where our talented and diverse staff are deeply engaged, with a strong sense of belonging. The birds Audubon pledges to protect differ in color, size, behavior, geographical preference, and countless other ways. By honoring and celebrating the equally remarkable diversity of the human species, Audubon will bring new creativity, effectiveness, and leadership to our work throughout the hemisphere.

Position Summary

The National Audubon Society is seeking a Program Director, Mississippi River Water Initiative to strengthen, expand and lead Audubon’s water conservation strategy across the River and key parts of watershed. Audubon’s water strategy is a key element of our strategic plan, focused on ensuring clean and abundant water in rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands, and marshes in landscapes where this is paramount to birds’ survival. The Mississippi River Water Initiative seeks to coordinate existing strategies in the priority states of Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi while developing new strategies to advance more comprehensive habitat protection and restoration efforts to benefit birds and the places they need. The Program Director is charged with coordinating and building upon existing Mississippi River Water Initiative policy on-the-ground conservation and public engagement work designed to increase support, delivery and funding for water conservation and environmental protection efforts. This position reports to the Vice President, Water Conservation.

An experienced and credible environmental leader, the Program Director will work collaboratively with national and regional policy, conservation, science, communications and engagement staff on water issues throughout the watershed, including staff within three regional Audubon offices: Audubon Delta, Audubon Great Lakes and Audubon Minnesota, Missouri and Iowa.

The Program Director will build upon existing Mississippi River water conservation programs, act as a spokesperson for the Water Initiative, lead our coalition work in this area and build strategic partnerships that advance Audubon’s objectives. They will manage large grants and identify and cultivate promising new funding opportunities in collaboration with national and regional program and development staff.

An active pursuit of racial equity is a moral and strategic imperative for Audubon. We are committed to becoming a workplace in which every employee feels valued, seen, and heard, and in which everyone has the opportunity to grow, thrive, and live their values. We know that a more diverse Audubon allows us to be more equitable and inclusive in how and where we work.


  •  $110,000 to $120,000/year (contingent on geo-differential) 

Essential Functions

• Develop a comprehensive water conservation strategy across the Mississippi River Water Initiative in

   collaboration with state and regional offices, designed to maximize the impact for birds and the places they need.
• In collaboration with the Vice President, Water Conservation, develop measurable goals for Audubon’s Mississippi          River Water Initiative and track progress toward these goals.
• Lead implementation of a federal Mississippi River water policy agenda, including critical policy and engagement            efforts that advance the initiative’s goals and build our advocacy network.
• Collaborate with regional offices to identify new opportunities and partners for on-the-ground water conservation          work within the Mississippi River Water Initiative, with a focus on expanding natural infrastructure approaches to            conservation.
• Collaborate with Audubon communications staff to present clear, consistent public messaging for Audubon’s work          and objectives of the Mississippi River Water Initiative.
• In coordination with regional and national engagement staff, serve as an Audubon spokesperson/ambassador                on Mississippi River issues and help raise Audubon’s leadership profile and visibility with donors, partners,                    policymakers, and the public.
• In partnership with the Vice President, Water Conservation and development team, help secure funds                          from individuals, foundations, and government agencies and develop partnerships and relationships with funders,          donors, and strategic partners to support and grow Audubon’s capacity for a diverse set of Water Initiative programs.
• Manage grant deliverables and track grant spending related to the Mississippi River Water Initiative.
• Partner with Audubon staff to incorporate equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging into the Mississippi River                Water Initiative.
• Other duties as required.

Qualifications and Experience

• Knowledge of water resources or wildlife conservation in the Mississippi River watershed.
• Experience developing an inclusive strategy that seeks to accomplish conservation goals while considering the

   needs of traditionally underserved communities.
• Demonstrated experience overseeing complex projects through to success, including meeting financial goals, project    deadlines, and coordinating the work of key staff and partners.
• Outstanding interpersonal skills, judgment, diplomacy, and a demonstrated ability to collaborate and build coalitions      with a wide range of individuals and organizations.
• Excellent and persuasive communication skills, both written and verbal, including substantial public speaking                experience, and the ability to effectively represent Audubon to members, state and federal elected officials, donors,      and chapter leaders, as well as in traditional and social media.
• Ability to synthesize and communicate technical and complex information to both technical and non-technical                audiences.
• Demonstrated success with fundraising, in particular with major donors, foundations, corporations, and government      funders.
• Willingness and ability to travel for key meetings with staff, funders and other important stakeholders.
• Bachelor’s degree in public policy, political science, biology, ecology, natural resources management, or related              field required. Advanced degree preferred.
• 10+ years’ progressive experience in policy, advocacy, science and/or public service. An equivalent combination of        education and experience will also be considered.
• Interest in conservation and the mission and programs of the National Audubon Society, including our principles of        Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging.

EEO Statement

The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.

Accessibility Statement

The National Audubon Society endeavors to keep our careers site accessible to any and all users.  If you would like to contact us regarding the accessibility of our website or need assistance completing the application process, please contact Accommodations@audubon.org. This contact information is for accommodation requests only and cannot be used to inquire about the status of applications.

COVID Policy

All new hires must be fully vaccinated prior to their start of employment unless they are pre-qualified by HR for exemption.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development