Placer Land Trust

Auburn, California

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $77,000-$84,000
Deadline Jan 28, 2022

Placer Land Trust (PLT) is a private nonprofit organization and nationally accredited land trust located in Placer County, California. PLT is seeking a Conservation Director to develop and complete a growing number of conservation projects, accelerate the pace of its land conservation, and oversee the ongoing monitoring, management, and permanent protection of PLT’s conservation holdings. This position offers a tremendous career opportunity to lead the next generation of PLT’s partnerships and projects, working with our experienced team (currently 12 employees) to build upon 30 years of success.

PLT works with willing landowners and conservation partners to permanently protect and care for natural and agricultural lands in Placer County, CA. Since 1991 PLT has completed 64 projects protecting 11,955 acres, with several projects and several thousand more acres currently in progress.  


The Conservation Director will report to and be supervised by PLT’s Executive Director (Jeff Darlington). The selected candidate will replace Lynnette Batt, PLT’s first Conservation Director. The Conservation Director will join the Operations Director (Eden Rock) and the Executive Director as PLT’s core leadership team. The Conservation Director will manage two programs, Acquisition and Stewardship, and will supervise PLT employees engaged in these duties (currently the Stewardship Manager, Land & Recreation Manager, Land Manager, and Conservation Specialist). For more information about PLT’s staff, click here.

This is a full-time (40 hours per week), exempt, salaried, at-will position. The selected candidate will work with the Executive Director to determine routine work location and schedule, which may include telecommuting and/or work at the PLT office in Auburn, some field work, and flexible scheduling to meet the needs of the position and PLT. The position will require frequent travel, mainly within Placer County, for site visits, meetings, and other activities.

The Conservation Director will work both autonomously and in partnership with the Executive Director, depending on the task, timing, and the Conservation Director’s level of skill and experience. The Conservation Director will manage PLT’s Acquisition and Stewardship programs, including supervising PLT staff engaged in these programs, as follows:


1. Identify, develop, and negotiate new conservation projects.

2. Secure public and private funding for project transaction, acquisition, and stewardship.


3. Ensure proper and sustainable protection, management, administration, and defense of PLT’s conservation easements and fee owned properties.

4. Prioritize, select, and oversee land enhancement and restoration opportunities that add significant value and that PLT can achieve within staff capacity and/or utilizing partnerships (without jeopardizing capacity for items 1-3 above).

Job Responsibilities:

The Conservation Director will perform the following responsibilities:

  • Investigate potential land conservation projects using screening criteria (and keep criteria relevant and updated); work with staff and volunteers to assess screened land conservation projects; and select, prioritize, and recommend potential projects to the Board of Directors to actively pursue.
  • Solicit public and private grant funding for land conservation and long-term stewardship, and over time sustainably increase such revenue. Encourage and solicit donations of land and conservation easements, and donations of funding for transactions and stewardship. Work with the Executive Director to obtain and increase stewardship endowment funds as well as new funding for high priority restoration and enhancement projects (such as habitat restoration or trail/recreation development).
  • Cultivate, steward, and enhance relationships with conservation partners (landowners, public agencies, foundations, NGOs, etc.)
  • Develop and manage complex land acquisition projects, including budgeting, stewardship assessment, landowner negotiations, project fundraising, due diligence, etc. Prepare or supervise preparation of documents for land conservation projects, including purchase and sale agreements, donation agreements, stewardship endowment calculations, baseline documentation reports, deeds, easements, management plans, escrow documents, etc. Oversee all phases of these projects through identification to acquisition to annual stewardship. 
  • Work with stewardship staff to help prioritize, develop, and oversee large land management, enhancement, and ecological restoration projects (including budgeting, assessment, fundraising, contracting, and implementation) provided these projects can be achieved within staff capacity and/or utilizing partnerships.
  • Ensure PLT meets all its contractual obligations related to land acquisition and stewardship grants and agreements, conservation easement stewardship, land management, and defense of PLT’s real estate assets.
  • Supervise conservation and stewardship staff, including workload prioritization, performance evaluation, utilization of best practices, and individual and team success.
  • Ensure stewardship staff (including the Conservation Director) develop expertise in key conservation and stewardship issues through recurring training and ongoing participation in regional planning and partnership efforts.
  • And:
  • Assist with recurring reporting, annual planning and budgeting, strategic planning, strategic conservation planning, accreditation, team building, and administration.
  • As directed by the Executive Director, participate in PLT fundraising and donor stewardship events, and other activities that promote conservation partnerships and/or increase community support for PLT’s mission.
  • Perform according to PLT’s core values in support of its mission and vision.


The qualified applicant will demonstrate the following skills, experience and/or aptitude:

  • Experience managing land conservation programs and projects, preferably with a land trust.
  • Complex project management skills, including overseeing multiple projects through to success, and meeting financial goals and project deadlines.
  • Program management skills, including development of strategic priorities, capacity and resource allocation, and forward planning.
  • Personnel supervision, management, and team leadership experience, including the ability to lead a team of staff, contractors, and partners to achieve conservation goals.
  • Knowledge of conservation science, ecology, and landscape-scale conservation.
  • Proven fundraising ability from both public funding sources and private philanthropy. Strong grant writing and grant management experience.
  • Highly effective and professional communication skills, both written and verbal. Ability to represent PLT with landowners, funders, partners, and the public, and work effectively with people across diverse political, social, and economic spectrums.
  • Proven organizational skills and strong attention to and interest in detail. Ability to meet deadlines and juggle multiple and diverse tasks.
  • Experience developing and reviewing contracts and legal agreements such as conservation easements, assessments and reports, and other complex documents.
  • High proficiency with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook) and Adobe Acrobat. Experience with/ interest using various team communication and project management software. Familiarity with conservation mapping software (ArcGIS, Google Earth, etc.).
  • Ability to navigate in rural areas (even off road or off trail) using mapping software, and ability to hike up to several miles in steep terrain.
  • Ability to work occasional evenings and weekends, and ability to travel for work (including valid California Driver’s License).
  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Ability to learn quickly and maintain an interest in continued learning.

Additionally, the following demonstrated skills and/or experience that are directly relevant to the PLT Conservation Director’s work will improve applicants’ likelihood of selection:

  • Land acquisition transaction experience, including negotiations, appraisals, title review, due diligence, legal agreement drafting and review, and closing escrow.
  • California real estate knowledge.
  • Conservation easement drafting, reviewing, monitoring, and/or reporting.
  • Familiarity with Placer County’s geography.
  • Background with ecology or conservation science, including land management experience.
  • Certification or degree (Bachelors or Postgraduate) in relevant field.
  • Any other experience directly relevant to being the Conservation Director of a land trust.


The starting salary for the Conservation Director will be between $77,000-$84,000, based on skills and experience. Benefits include health insurance contribution, paid holiday/vacation/sick leave, other leave, contributions to a SIMPLE IRA retirement program, flexible schedule, and telecommuting.


PLT is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to equal employment opportunities for all applicants, and we prohibit discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training. To ensure our work benefits our community and will be relevant today and for future generations, PLT values and seeks a team with diverse experiences, backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. People who promote a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and teamwork are encouraged to apply.

To apply, email cover letter and resume (PDF or MS Word format) to with “Conservation Director” in the subject line.

Applications should be submitted by January 28, 2022, at which time PLT will begin reviewing applications and start its selection process.

All applications will be reviewed using blind screening. Top candidates will first participate in a phone interview, a short writing assignment, then up to two more interviews (video and/or in-person), and professional references will be consulted before a final decision is made.

PLT’s preferred start date is no later than mid-April 2022; however, the Conservation Director position will remain open until the right candidate is identified, selected, and hired.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.