Landscape Conservation Specialist

The Nature Conservancy


Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA


Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable.  One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we strive for a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 79 countries, including all 50 United States, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

The Nature Conservancy offers competitive compensation, 401k or savings-plan matching for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities and promote from within. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires conservation achievement and personal development, both within the workplace and beyond.


The Nature Conservancy is seeking an experienced professional to work with our Protection and Freshwater Teams to develop, manage and advance conservation programs, plans and methods. They will help acquire land and conservation easements primarily on native prairie in western and northwestern Minnesota and other locations in the three states as opportunities arise. Additionally, they will coordinate partners and build the capacity of others to achieve conservation objectives, with an emphasis in the headwaters of the Mississippi River. They will work with landowners; Conservancy staff; citizens; and federal, state and local agency professionals to promote habitat protection and restoration/enhancement programs on public and private land. This is an excellent opportunity to join a dynamic, results-oriented Chapter focused on conserving some of the best natural areas in MN, ND and SD. The work is fast paced, challenging, collaborative, and highly rewarding.  

You would join two dynamic teams of conservation professionals who protect high quality natural areas in the third largest geography of TNC’s US state-based programs.  Our three-state Chapter has a newly updated 5-year strategic plan to guide our conservation work, an annual operating budget of over $17 million and approximately 100 program staff.  We work closely with partners and field staff to implement a wide variety of conservation programs throughout our three states’ grasslands, forests, and freshwater systems. Our real estate team is annually deploying approximately $3M – $5M in transactional work, higher in some years.  We are a recognized leader in The Nature Conservancy’s habitat protection work in the United States. The Chapter’s Freshwater team develops innovative decision support analysis for freshwater conservation in Minnesota and the Dakotas, builds the capacity of partner organizations, works with public and private sector leaders to create enabling conditions and implement conservation at scale. 


The Landscape Conservation Specialist (Specialist) will serve as the Conservancy’s primary representative within the region. This includes leading without authority, coordinating partners, and building the capacity of others to achieve habitat restoration and protection objectives within the region. The Specialist will play a critical role in negotiating and acquiring land and conservation easements; cooperative acquisitions with government partners; developing and implementing landscape level land protection plans; coordinating with agency, non-profit, and other partners to achieve successful conservation results; and, where appropriate, transferring land interests to partner agencies. The Specialist will work with landowners; Conservancy staff; citizens; and federal, state, and local agency professionals to promote protection programs on public and private land.

The Specialist will travel extensively throughout Minnesota and to selected locations in North Dakota and South Dakota. The preferred office location is one of the following: Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Bemidji, Park Rapids, or Brainerd, MN, though another location in MN will be considered. One of the critical objectives for this position is initiating and developing relationships with landowners and partners in our highest priority conservation landscapes in northern MN.  This requires frequent travel to meet with people in these targeted places and may include off-road exploration of priority properties. Close coordination with the real estate, freshwater, grants, and legal staff in the Minneapolis office and other TNC offices is essential and requires regular trips to Minneapolis and other TNC offices in northern MN. We estimate the travel requirements of this position will be 25% to 40%. This position requires a valid driver’s license and compliance with the Conservancy’s Auto Safety Program.  Please see further details in the Auto Safety Program document available at

This position is partially funded with grants from the State of Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment and is contingent on continued receipt of adequate funding.  This conservation measure has been funded consistently since 2009. Current funding supports the position for the next 2 years. We will continue to seek funding and have a good track record of doing so. Additional funding for the position comes from the Conservancy’s Minnesota Headwaters Fund, with funding secured for the next 2 years. The range for this salaried role begins at $47,000 and is dependent on experience.


  • Lead, coordinate, and participate in Mississippi River Headwaters protection partnerships between TNC and local, regional, and state stakeholders.
  • Strengthen partnerships to include a wider array of partners that represent the diversity of the landscape and build the capacity of others to conserve natural resources through traditional and innovative practices.
  • Actively coordinate with the Conservancy’s External Affairs team to inform, support, and promote the Conservancy’s policy agenda.
  • Identify, cultivate, and manage key external relationships within the landscape.
  • Protect significant natural areas and priority landscapes in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota using the full range of protection tools including fee-title acquisition, conservation easements, leases, administrative protection programs (e.g., Conservation Reserve Program, Reinvest in Minnesota), and other methods. This position will work primarily in Minnesota on selected public grant projects and may assist with grant reporting.
  • Work with field office staff and federal, state, and local government officials to protect natural lands for public and private conservation ownership. Consistent with chapter strategic plan and ecoregional portfolio designs, work on transfers of existing Conservancy land to appropriate owners.
  • Work with field staff to identify top-priority landowners in all focus areas within the Specialist’s landscape and cultivate those relationships as well as relationships with local officials and key influencers.  
  • Respond to land protection inquiries and opportunities as appropriate and represent the Conservancy to landowners, members, citizen groups, and local officials. Work with Conservancy professional, administrative, and field staff members as needed to complete projects and follow TNC policies and procedures.
  • Maintain knowledge of partners’ priorities and programs.
  • Serve as a resource and content provider for marketing and communications
  • Performs tasks with minimal supervision and makes independent decisions based on analysis, experience and context.
  • May supervise technical, administrative and professional staff with responsibility for performance management, training and development.
  • Exercise proper financial management – meeting budgets, controlling costs and recovering costs on cooperative transactions.
  • Identify and help secure public and private funds to support the program.
  • Ensures program compliance with internal policies and external requirements.
  • May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.


  • Bachelor’s degree and 3 years’ experience in natural resource management, real estate, or similar field or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience building close relationships with a variety of partners (e.g., media, government officials, internal scientists).
  • Experience completing tasks independently with respect to timeline(s).
  • Experience with communication via written, spoken and graphical means in English and other relevant languages.
  • Experience using common software applications such as Word, Excel, web browsers, etc.
  • Experience in training.                   
  • Fluency in English.   
  • Must have valid driver’s license.  



  • Multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.
  • 5 years’ experience in natural resource management, real estate, similar field or equivalent combination of education and experience.  
  • Ability and willingness to apply science to decision-making and guide activities.
  • Familiarity with principles of land acquisition or similar asset acquisition, with experience completing real estate fee-title and conservation  easement acquisitions.
  • Knowledge of ecological land management principles.
  • Knowledge of and interest in current trends and practices in conservation, ecological land management, and natural resource preservation.
  • Interest in Minnesota’s native habitats, their ecology and natural history and the threats and opportunities for their conservation.
  • Familiarity with principles of land acquisition or similar asset acquisition, with experience completing real estate fee-title and conservation easement acquisitions.
  • Experience coordinating with a team to initiate and execute large and complicated transactions or projects.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform well, and even thrive, under pressure.
  • Experience working constructively and collaboratively with many different types of people, including those that disagree with you or are antagonistic
  • Experience managing staff or volunteers.  
  • Well-developed project management skills and experience.
  • Experience with interest-based negotiations.
  • Experience developing creative solutions to difficult and complex problems.
  • Attention to detail, particularly the ability to follow detailed policies and procedures, while working for broader conservation results.
  • Basic competency using ArcMap GIS software.


This position requires a valid driver’s license and compliance with the Conservancy’s Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered “high risk drivers.” Please see further details in the Auto Safety Program document available at

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee’s motor vehicle record.


To apply to position number 49105, submit resume (required) and cover letter separately using the upload buttons on the website. All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020.

Click “submit” to apply for the position or “save for later” to create a draft application for future submission. Once submitted, applications cannot be revised or edited. Failure to complete required fields may result in your application being disqualified from consideration.

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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 of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. 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 orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

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