The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) is seeking a Forestland Conservation Specialist to promote forestland conservation and manage related projects throughout Virginia. The primary geographic focus of work is in the central and eastern portions of the state. This position fills a vacancy in our Forestland Conservation Program and works as part of a team with other project managers. Projects are primarily open-space easements focusing on working agriculture and forestland but also include outreach to the public and partner groups on a broad range of tools to conserve and sustainably manage forestland in urban and rural environments. Frequent travel is required to project locations in the eastern and central portion of the state and to agency headquarters in Charlottesville, with occasional assignments that may extend statewide.
Primary duties include: leading the negotiation, development, and closing of open-space working land easements; identifying and fostering strategic opportunities to conserve forestland; serving as an agency expert on open-space easements and other forestland conservation tools; and working closely with citizen-landowners, real estate professionals, agency coworkers, other state agencies, grant-making organizations, local planning districts, county governments, and non-profit organizations to complete forest land conservation projects.
Other duties include: providing occasional real-estate support services to VDOF’s State Forest Program for acquisition; working collaboratively with the Forestland Conservation team to develop programmatic strategies and objectives and prioritize work; performing outreach and education to internal and external audiences about forestland conservation tools, including participating in the agency’s Generation NEXT Program with Virginia Cooperative Extension; supporting other VDOF field staff by helping monitor and steward existing VDOF easements; working cooperatively with the Forestland Conservation Program team and VDOF’s finance team to identify, develop, and manage grants and other funding opportunities, especially state and federal land conservation grants.
Undergraduate studies in Natural Resources Management field, or Natural Resources Policy, or Land-Use Planning, or equivalent field experience of four or more years required; experience with forestland conservation tools, including local planning, taxes, easements, mapping and geographic information systems; experience working with county government staff, planning districts, and non-profit groups on land use issues; experience performing conservation-related outreach and education; ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with personnel from various state and federal agencies, local planners, cooperators, and the public; ability to effectively establish and grow diverse partnerships; demonstrated excellent presentation skills; excellent and effective oral, written, and inter-personal communication skills; ability to negotiate different types of forested terrain on foot; valid driver’s license; proficiency using a PC, Microsoft Office software, and the Google Suite; and ability to travel throughout the state with overnight stays required.
Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources Management field, or Natural Resources Policy, or Land-Use Planning. Five or more years of experience managing conservation real-estate projects or stewarding tracts with perpetual conservation restrictions; and Virginia-specific knowledge of local planning regulations, taxes, land use issues, and conservation grant funding programs.
Ability to function and contribute to team oriented atmosphere and outcomes, willingness to learn and to teach and attention to detail.