This professional-level position is responsible for promoting and expanding the marine program for the California Program Office, with an emphasis on sea otter conservation and coastal conservation. The position will involve starting up specific campaigns and working in areas involving sea otter conservation, other marine species conservation, protection of coasts and oceans, participation on marine policy issues, working with the media, building and educating our members, and fundraising. Must possess excellent communication, research, and writing/editing skills. Must be extremely well-organized and capable of juggling many different projects and tasks. Assignments are results- and goal-oriented, requiring substantial discretion on the part of the position in determining how to meet the assigned goal (e.g., putting together a new conservation campaign or producing a research report).

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Expand and lead Defenders’ sea otter conservation program, which includes working to conserve and recover the southern sea otter through education, outreach, engagement with the scientific community, federal and state agencies, tribes, and other stakeholders.
  • Expand the California Marine Program to focus on the leading threats to coastal ecosystems, marine fish and wildlife, including plastic and other ocean pollution, fisheries conflicts, energy development, and climate change.
  • Implement strategies, campaigns, programs, projects, work plans, budgets, publications, educational materials and reports for the marine program.
  • Assist with the development of an effective social and multi-media educational efforts.
  • 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.
  • Perform all other related duties as assigned by supervisor and be an energetic, enthusiastic and committed advocate for Defenders’ programs.

SALARY: 50,000 – 60,000
FLSA: Exempt
DIVISION/SITE: Home Office in California, preferred: San Francisco Bay Area, Monterey Bay Area
DEPARTMENT: Field Conservation
REPORTS TO: Director, California Program


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


  • 4+ years of experience working on environmental issues. Experience with sea otter and coastal conservation issues is preferred. 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.


  • Proficiency in Spanish is preferred.
  • Demonstrated awareness and understanding of the concerns and needs of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations
  • Experience developing, implementing and managing conservation campaigns
  • Demonstrated knowledge of federal and state agencies, natural resource policies and laws, and contemporary conservation issues
  • 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 environmental issues

Work Expectations: Work Environment:

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

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

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.


Interested applicants please apply with a cover letter through our jobs portal at https://www.defenders.org/jobs

About Defenders:

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.

Visit Our Values and Diversity page to learn more about who we are and how we operate.
It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.