California Program Associate

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Location: Sacramento, CA
Department: Field Conservation Programs
Supervisor: Director, California Program


This professional-level position is responsible for implementing assigned work plans for the California Program of Defenders of Wildlife. The primary responsibilities include implementation of programs, strategies, campaigns, and projects focusing on strategic plan priorities in California. 

This position also involves a wide variety of responsibilities supporting the program and operations of the California Program field office. Programmatic and technical assistance will be provided to the Director and other staff members in the California Program. It serves as the Director’s liaison to other staff, federal and state agency personnel, elected officials and their staff, Defenders’ members and the general public.  The California Program Associate must possess a general knowledge of all programs and projects within the California Program in order to assist the Director with oversight, implementation of works plans and compliance with procedures and schedules. This position requires substantial discretion in determining how to meet assigned goals and competing deadlines.


  • Coordinate and implement local, state and/or national strategies, campaigns, programs, projects, work plans, publications, educational materials and reports for each assigned program area.
  • Influence federal and state wildlife policy through administrative, legislative and judicial forums, using a range of strategies including but not limited to direct and grassroots lobbying in Congress and the California Legislature; seeking policy and programmatic changes in federal and state agencies; and recommending litigation where appropriate and providing technical support.

  • Undertake a wide variety of duties as needed to implement program plans, including drafting letters; negotiating sign-ons to Defenders’ policies and group letters; and writing and editing reports and proposals.

  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with leading conservation biologists, research scientists, state and federal agency personnel, members of Congress and California Legislature and their staff, and leading NGOs; identify new partners as appropriate.

  • Represent Defenders in coalitions, public meetings, hearings, press events, conferences, national and international forums, and in general communications with public officials, the media, members, the donor community and the public.

  • Trouble-shoot problems with the computers, server and other technological and information systems, in conjunction with our in-house computer specialist or outside experts. Carry out desktop publishing projects as needed.

  • Compile and edit documents; copy and fax; schedule appointments;; manage and distribute information; check requests, reimbursement requests, and and submit in a timely manner; attend all relevant internal staff meetings; and follow all other administrative procedures. Plan and execute Wildlife Volunteer Corps projects that further achievement of Defenders’ benchmark goals in Defenders’ strategic plan in collaboration with partner organizations.

  • Identify, inform and mobilize citizen activists, including Defenders’ members and supporters, in areas of particular importance.

  • Respond to information requests from members and other interested parties requiring technical responses, and distribute Defenders’ published reports.

  • Assist all Defenders departments with tasks relating to education, development, publications, and communications.

  • Coordinate, edit, and proofread the program’s weekly field notes and forward those to the appropriate Field Conservation Coordinator on a timely basis.

  • Assist with development of the California Program’s annual budget.

  • Research specific conservation issues and prepare comprehensive background memos on issues as assigned by the Director.

  • Perform all other related duties as assigned by supervisor and be an energetic, enthusiastic and committed advocate for all Defenders’ programs.


  • Education: Bachelor’s degree (B.A./B.S.) in Biology, Natural Resources, Environmental Studies, Public Policy or related discipline.

  • Experience: 3+ years of experience working on wildlife conservation, land use planning and/or water issues. Other relevant experience with public policy, legislative procedures, grassroots organizing, communications, administration and/or development.

  • An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.

  • Certifications: none

  • An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above

  • Other:

  • Demonstrated knowledge of federal and state agencies, natural resource policies and laws, and contemporary conservation issues

  • Experience developing, implementing and managing conservation campaigns

  • Ability to conduct research, analyze information and produce high quality work products in a consistent, efficient and timely manner

  • Strong organizational and communications skills

  • Ability to effectively and efficiently handle many projects and tasks at one time. High level of computer literacy with advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office and information technology systems

  • Willingness to travel throughout California an average of four days per month

  • Personal interest and commitment to natural resource and wildlife conservation


  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so.


  • General office working conditions, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.


Interested applicants please reference California Program Associate position in your subject line and submit a letter of interest, along with your resume and salary history to us via e-mail at:

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.

Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures.  We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places. 

All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.