Director Of Trails & Conservation

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation

Carlsbad, California

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $84,000 - $107,500 a year
Required Experience 7+ years

The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (AHLF) is a 501c3 nonprofit in Carlsbad, CA that operates the Discovery Center: a nature center with an extraordinary collection of hands-on exhibits, walking trails, gardens, animal ambassadors, and more. It also acts as a clubhouse for an array of environmental educational programs, as a field trip site, hosts fundraising events, community gatherings, and other events, as well as offers private rental spaces for our members.

The Director of Trails and Conservation (DTC) reports to the Chef Operations Officer, leads the trails and facilities manager, and works collaboratively with public and private land owners, funders, fellow AHLF staff, board members, committee members, and volunteers to advance the restoration, conservation, and management of priority parcels of land.

DTC is responsible for the conservation efforts and trails of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (AHLF). Duties include overseeing possible land acquisition efforts and conservation easements, overseeing and managing habitat restoration and trail management/maintenance, contributing to grant writing in support of trail restoration and expansion projects as well as conservation projects, building strong and successful relationships with all entities around the lagoon, maintaining communications with landowners, and collaborating effectively with staff to execute trail and conservation efforts. This position will include administrative duties, governmental stakeholder grant administration, and relationship building, interface with the public, leading volunteer restoration efforts (working collaboratively with the volunteer coordinator), development of stakeholders for funding purposes, marginal membership sales and retention, and bringing adult educational programming and opportunity into our conservation efforts and trails.


$84,000- $107,500 yearly


  • Provide leadership, direction, management, and evaluation of all of AHLF’s public access easements, conservation easements, land, conservation efforts, and processes
  • Develop proposals, budgets, grant funding applications, and reports for trail restoration and maintenance and conservation efforts
  • Manage the evaluation and prioritization of land projects to ensure alignment with AHLF’s objectives, priorities, and financial obligations for maximum public access benefit, in alignment with the AHLF’s Standards and Practices and state and federal laws
  • Hold primary responsibility for all aspects of real estate transactions, including negotiating with landowners and representatives; contracting for and reviewing property appraisals and environmental reports; preparing transaction documents, completing title review, performing due diligence, and conducting closings
  • Hold primary responsibility for land-related record keeping, landowner engagement and response, and annual monitoring for fee properties and conservation easements
  • Work with senior and executive leadership on the development and implementation of AHLF’s Strategic Plan objectives for conservation and trails
  • Lead future landowner outreach efforts and foster good working relationships with landowners in AHLF’s focus area to promote public access and a healthy lagoon
  • Partner with the AHLF Staff in the development and implementation of educational and stewardship activities related to the Trails and Conservation Program, including many volunteer events
  • Identify and foster partnerships with other environmental organizations, land trusts, federal agencies, tribes, community leaders, and other partners to help attain program goals
  • Educate interested landowners, their professional advisors, watershed councils, and partner groups about conservation options, both one-on-one and through public presentation
  • Lead Memorial Bench Program


  • Bachelor’s degree required (Master’s preferred) in a field of conservation, geography, land management, or environmental studies
  • Coursework or experience in business, environmental studies, natural resource conservation, real estate, agriculture economics, planning, public policy, or a related discipline
  • Four to five years experience in land conservation, including demonstrated experience negotiating agreements and managing complex projects from start to finish
  • Minimum of 10 years of related experience and evidence of progressive advancement in previous jobs
  • Experience working with landowners, government agencies, community groups, and conservation partners to achieve objectives
  • Experience in developing and writing grant applications, budgets, and demonstrated success in receiving public and private funding
  • Familiarity with local flora and fauna preferred, especially sage scrub habitat
  • Experience with GPS, GIS mapping, and analysis
  • Significant experience in land-based real estate transactions, both fee-title and conservation easements, and a strong understanding of tax and conservation law

About Company

Mission: To energize our community through education and outreach to preserve the Agua Hedionda Lagoon as a healthy and accessible watershed.

Vision: To be Stewards of the Watershed as we inspire future generations so we all have access to a healthy lagoon. A safe space in nature… for all.

Core Values:

  • Family First
  • If not you, then who?
  • Sustainably Minded
  • Stretch & We’ll Catch


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

Category Admin & Leadership, Outdoor Recreation
Tags Trail Maintenance, GIS, Outreach