Land Trust or Preserve Managers
The federal government, in its various agencies and branches, is the largest employer of land trust professionals. State and local government agencies also employ some land trust professionals in a variety of positions. Outside of government, potential employers include numerous nonprofit organizations and private land trusts. Additionally, large banks and other similar institutions employ land trust specialists.
This field is so popular that many people get their start in less traditional ways, such as contract or seasonal work, volunteer work, and internships.
People graduating with a bachelor's degree may only be able to land contract work at first. Contract work is work done on a per-project or freelance basis: You sign on for one specific project and move on when it is done. Contract workers usually are specialists, such as ecologists or botanists. The need for them is high in the summer months when biological inventorying work is plentiful.
The Land Trust Alliance, the Nature Conservancy, and the Trust for Public Land maintain Web sites that includes job listings. Directly contacting land conservation organizations in any particular region could also help a job seeker learn of current or anticipated opportunities.
Volunteer and internship opportunities are available at many environmental organizations. These opportunities frequently lead to paid positions and always provide valuable experience.
There are three general advancement paths for land trust professionals. The traditional promotion path might begin with an internship, then progress to positions of increasing power and responsibility. The second path involves expansion of duties within a specialty field. For example, someone who starts out as a land protection specialist in North Carolina may not have any desire to move out of that work; therefore, his or her job may be expanded laterally—broadening into consulting work in the specialty in other parts of the state, or even nationwide. Third, a person may opt for a "demotion"—getting back to land protection and conservation fieldwork, for example, after having served in an administrative position.
Tips for Entry
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
For more information on this field, read:
- Saving Land (https://www.landtrustalliance.org/about/saving-land-magazine)
- Land&People (https://www.tpl.org/magazine)
- Nature Conservancy Magazine (https://www.nature.org/en-us/magazine/?vu=r.v_magazine)
Attend Rally: The National Land Conservation Conference to network and participate in continuing education opportunities.
Participate in internships with The Nature Conservancy and other land acquisition and preservation organizations.
Visit https://www.findalandtrust.org/ for a list of land trusts in your state.