Representative, New Mexico

Location: Santa Fe, NM
Department: Field Conservation
Supervisor: Director Southwest Program
Salary: Up to $60,000


This professional-level position is responsible for implementing assigned Defenders’ strategic plan conservation objectives and strategies in New Mexico, with a focus on conserving both state and federally listed threatened and endangered species and ensuring the sustainable management and conservation of our public lands, while working collaboratively with other Defenders’ staff, programs, and departments.

The Representative position will require knowledge of New Mexico and Southwest natural resource conservation issues, such as endangered species policy, federal land management policy, state wildlife management, renewable energy, landscape level planning, and conservation biology. This position will also require familiarity with key stakeholders and organizations engaged in conserving New Mexico’s natural resources, and the ability to quickly establish ties with decision makers and conservation partners.

Program strategies and objectives are achieved by collaborating with a variety of external partners including state and federal agencies and officials, elected representatives, tribal governments, private landowners, and other conservation organizations. The Representative will pursue conservation objectives through a variety of tools including policy advocacy, project review and comment, coalition building, public outreach, and other means. 

This position will collaborate closely with Southwest program staff in Texas and Arizona but will chiefly work in the regional office in Santa Fe, NM. 


  • Influence federal, state, and local wildlife policies and management for listed and key species through administrative, legislative, judicial, and other forums, using a range of strategies including:

    • Seeking policy and programmatic changes by relevant state and federal agencies;

    • Developing and pursuing legislation in the New Mexico legislature;

    • Recommending litigation where appropriate and providing technical support; and

    • Participating in direct and grassroots lobbying of the U.S. Congress, state legislature, and state agencies as appropriate.

  • Assist senior staff with the development and successful implementation of priority public lands and wildlife conservation work in New Mexico, including:

    • Conservation of key imperiled species such as the Mexican gray wolf, New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, southwest willow flycatcher, Mexican spotted owl, jaguar, freshwater fishes and other species listed under the ESA;

    • On the ground restoration projects that benefit species while also engaging the public;

    • Protection and conservation of priority habitats with a focus on statewide habitat connectivity initiatives; and

  • Promote the identification, protection and reestablishment of migratory corridors across jurisdiction boundaries, including:

    • Working with federal and state agencies to develop policies that reduce obstacles hindering the free movement of wildlife;

    • Advocating for state and federal legislation that will elevate importance of wildlife corridors as a priority within the conservation community;

    • Positioning Defenders to be a leader in the Southwest on corridor and connectivity policy; and

    • Educating the public as well as local, state and federal leaders on the importance of connected landscapes.

  • Manage, implement, and expand priority coexistence and community outreach work in New Mexico, including:

    • Coordinating with senior Southwest staff working on coexistence projects to expand the reach of Defenders’ presence in New Mexico;

    • Finding opportunities to partner with private landowners, agriculture organizations and local governments to increase acceptance for species like Mexican wolves and jaguars;

    • Identifying and implementing predator coexistence projects, and

    • Promoting Defenders’ message and strategy within the Southwest environmental community.

  • Advancement of responsible and wildlife-friendly renewable energy development, including;

    • Ensuring that large-scale, renewable energy projects are sited to minimize impacts on sensitive species

    • Working with environmental and industry partners to promote sound, scientific policies for wind and solar energy.

  • Facilitate and promote the integration of diversity, equity and inclusion strategies into Defenders’ programmatic and outreach work in the Southwest;

  • Organize and implement outreach events that raise Defenders profile in the state by engaging membership along with partner organizations and agencies;

  • Serve as a spokesperson for Defenders; represent Defenders and Defenders’ interests to the public, the media, and key decision-makers, and in working groups, committees, and processes.

  • Work with Southwest Program Coordinator and Defenders’ national headquarters staff to ensure public lands and wildlife campaigns engage and grow our state and regional membership and inform the public and Defenders’ members on key issues through mailings, e-mail alerts, social media, dissemination of educational materials, and Defenders magazine.

  • Work with Defenders’ national headquarters staff to provide information to members, foundations, and other donors, and help identify and develop potential sources of funding to support work activities and Defenders’ priorities.

  • Identify key information relating to policy, strategy, and decision-making, and communicate it as appropriate and in a timely manner to the Southwest Program Director and other relevant field and headquarters staff members.

  • Supervise contractors and volunteers as necessary.

  • As needed, assist and advise the Director of the Southwest Program in problem-solving regarding regional and national programs.

  • Perform all other related duties as assigned.


An equivalent combination of demonstrated education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed below:

Education:  A Bachelor’s degree in conservation biology, forest ecology, political science, natural resources management, environmental planning, environmental or public policy, or a related natural resources discipline. An advanced degree is preferred but not required.

Experience:  3+ years of conservation advocacy, community engagement, coalition building, or other non-profit experience.  


  • Demonstrated awareness of and experience with the concerns and needs of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations.

  • Strong oral advocacy and verbal communications skills.

  • Superior writing and research skills with attention to detail.

  • Excellent strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities.

  • Ability to work constructively as a member of the Southwest team and to independently initiate project ideas and manage them through to completion. 

  • Experience participating in coalitions and/or convening diverse stakeholders in collaborative activities.

  • Excellent interpersonal skills to work productively with both colleagues and opponents.

  • Networking skills to engage with leaders in the conservation community, federal and state agencies and other organizations.

  • Analytical skills to anticipate and make recommendations on policy issues impacting wildlife.

  • Experience with community building to elevate public awareness of issues and build a constituency for solutions.

  • Ability to exercise appropriate judgment in response to unexpected change and complex situations.

  • Personal interest in and commitment to 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. 


  • Occasional weekend and evening work required.

  • Regular travel within New Mexico and periodic travel to other Southwest states is required.


  • 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.


Interested applicants should complete an application for employment. Please reference Representative New Mexico in your subject line and submit your completed application, a letter of interest, and resume 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, 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.

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.