Program Associate, Ocean Program

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

California, USA 🇺🇸

Job ID: 54072

Location: California

Full/Part Time: Full-Time

Regular/Temporary: Regular


California, USA

Location negotiable within California. 


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, nonpartisan 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 and one of the largest, most dynamic conservation organizations in the country. With approximately 275 employees, from financial analysts and fundraisers to ecologists and economists, we are currently invested in 14 strategies to address the biggest challenges facing California and the world, including numerous community-based projects designed 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.

Finally, we are passionate about the middle ground in American politics and life. The hallmark of The Nature Conservancy is its “big tent” approach, engaging people across the political and ideological spectrum to find solutions that last. We ask all employees to embrace this critical strategic position of our organization.


The Program Associate will help manage core functions and processes for the California Oceans Program of the Conservancy.  The Associate coordinates grant management activities for public and private awards including preparation, submission, and management of grants, in partnership with Oceans Program staff and Development, Finance and Operations staffs. The Associate also helps facilitate annual planning, budgeting, and performance review cycles; administers contracts; manages and coordinates multiple core Program projects; conducts research to support priorities; facilitates team communications in multiple forms; and, serves as a liaison to other Program teams, and to other Conservancy departments such as External Affairs, Development, Marketing, Finance, and Operations. The Associate reports to the Director of the Oceans Program.

In this role, the Program Associate will:

  • Support Ocean program leadership by leading the coordination of all aspects of the Ocean program functions in a way that helps the Oceans Team to maintain effectiveness, meet administrative and project deadlines, and ensure maximum conservation benefit across all projects. Performs tasks with minimal supervision and makes independent decisions based on analysis, experience and judgment. 
  • Track and coordinate Program deliverables related to annual planning, budgeting, and performance management cycles
  • Coordinate the Program’s public and private fundraising activities including assisting in proposal development, writing, reporting, and tracking deadlines; serve as a key liaison to Development staff
  • Assist with contract management for the Oceans Team efficiently and completely, and per SOP and TNC-CA guidelines. This includes interacting with external parties to develop contracts, as needed, managing contractors to ensure project success; and supporting developing and monitoring a contract tracker for the Oceans Team.
  • Facilitate communications within the Program and act as a point of contact with key Conservancy staff across other Departments. Develop, facilitate, and lead communications for the team to improve connectivity within the team and externally to provide exposure and value to the Program’s successes.
  • Manage core Program projects; track deliverables for Program.
  • Conduct targeted research needed to further programmatic or fundraising goals.  
  • Schedule, plan and prepare for team meetings and external meetings, as appropriate; help facilitate and provide needed follow-up; and track deliverables and deadlines.
  • In coordination with other departments, curate Program’s conservation documents and products to increase efficiency in fundraising and communications.
  • Communicate with stakeholders, partners and public agency staff to advance the goals of the Program, as directed.
  • With other Program Associates, assist with broader Conservation Programs & Science department coordination, meeting execution, and general support.


Want to restore abundance and resilience to the world’s oceans? Our California Oceans Team is at the forefront of ambitious efforts to transform how we protect and restore ocean and islands habitats across California and around the world, transforming fisheries and reducing plastic pollution. We are a dynamic and diverse team of hard-charging folks working to make a real impact in ocean conservation. This is an exceptional career opportunity for a highly motivated, capable individual interested in joining the world’s leading conservation organization!


  •  BA/BS and 5 years’ experience in natural resource management or related field or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience managing and tracking multiple projects


  • Master’s degree and 2 years’ experience in natural resource management or related field or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Knowledge of current trends and practices in conservation
  • Knowledge of ocean conservation issues in California
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Experience in communications and outreach including developing and/or managing the development of materials e.g., websites, brochures, factsheets, infographics, social media posts
  • Basic understanding of The Nature Conservancy’s mission and its niche in the conservation field
  • Skills in building and managing relationships with diverse partners, e.g., media, government officials, non-governmental organizations and scientists.


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. 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. 

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


The starting pay range for a candidate selected for this position is generally within the range of $66,000 – $84,000 for annual base salary. This range only applies to candidates whose country of employment is the USA. Where a successful candidate’s actual pay will fall within this range will be based on a variety of factors, including, for example, the candidate’s location, qualifications, specific skills, and experience. Please note countries outside the USA would have a different pay range in the local currency based on the local labor market, and not tied to USA pay or ranges. Your geographic location will be confirmed during the recruitment.


To apply for job ID XX, submit your materials (resume and cover letter) online by using the Apply Now button at . Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact

Do you have military experience? Visit our U.S. Military Skills Translator to match your military experience with our current job openings!

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.

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 successful applicant must meet the requirements of The Nature Conservancy’s background screening process.





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