26 days old

Conservation Fellow

Open Space Institute, Inc
New York, NY 10018
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Position Title:

Conservation Fellow

Reports To:

Conservation Communities Director


Conservation Communities


New York City, Midtown Headquarters

Hybrid: onsite 60%; work from home 40%

Salary Range:

$60,000 - $60,000 - 1 year Fellowship term (Aug 2023-Aug 2024)

FLSA Status



The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural and historic landscapes to provide public enjoyment, conserve habitat and working lands, and sustain communities. Founded in 1974 to protect significant landscapes in New York State, the Open Space Institute (OSI) is a leader in environmental conservation. OSI has partnered in the protection of nearly 2.2 million acres in North America, from southeastern Canada to Florida. All of OSIs work is directed by a consistent strategy emphasizing permanent protection on a landscape scale. Each discrete transaction, whether buying a conservation easement on a family farm in the Hudson River Valley or helping fund the purchase of 100,000 acres in Maine, connects natural lands and prevents fragmentation. You can learn about our values here: Equity & OSI - Open Space Institute

Conservation Communities houses OSIs fiscal sponsorship program, education grants, and Conservation Diversity Fellowship and thus plays a key role in furthering OSIs Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The fiscal sponsorship program, Citizen Action, is OSIs oldest program and serves as an incubator for bourgeoning, environmentally-focused grassroots organizations. With OSIs financial and legal oversight, these groups not only become eligible to receive grants and tax-deductible contributions, they are also able to focus more fully on their programming and capacity-building. The participants have ranged from community gardens and land trusts, to environmental educators and promoters of nature-based arts and activities. OSIs two education grants are the Malcolm Gordon Charitable Fund (MGCF) and the McHenry Awards. MGCF expands the constituency for conservation by reinforcing environmental education program support, focusing in under-resourced communities. The McHenry Awards match exceptional young leaders with environmentally themed projects at nonprofit organizations in New Yorks Hudson River Valley. The Conservation Diversity Fellowship immerses recent college graduates and members of the BIPOC community in the various components of conservation, from transactions and land stewardship to advocacy and grant writing.

Fellowship Goal

The Conservation Fellow is a one-year term position. The objective of the Conservation Diversity Fellowship is to introduce and advance the Fellows professional experience in land conservation. This will be achieved by familiarizing the Fellow via a rotation with OSIs programs and supporting departments during their first few months and a deeper immersion in one or two programs during the second half of their time. This will be achieved by ensuring the fellow has an active role in core work with support and mentorship from the Conservation Communities Director.

Position Summary

Conservation Fellows will join the Conservation Communities team. Fellows will rotate through each of OSI's programs and support departments partnering with colleagues and conservation leaders at the Open Space Institute to accomplish meaningful conservation goals. Specific tasks vary from year-to-year, from grantmaking to communications to park improvement projects; Fellows will work alongside OSI staff on projects related to some of the following:

  • Land Program: Conservation real estate negotiations and acquisitions
  • Parks & Policy: Access and improvements to urban parks and state parks and parks advocacy
  • Stewardship: Stewardship of protected lands and conveyance (sale, donation, easement assignment) of OSI-owned lands
  • Conservation Capital: Grants to organizations based on conservation science research for land protection and information dissemination throughout the conservation community to advance climate-based solutions
  • Equity (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion): Projects assessing, communicating, and implementing established organizational equity values and practices
  • Operations and Finance: Finance, accounting, and administration of a large non-profit organization
  • External Affairs: Communications and Development departments working with partners, funders, and the Board of Trustees to promote our work and raise funds
  • Citizen Action: A fiscal sponsorship program for grassroots startups working on environmental education and open space recreation and stewardship
  • Legal: Transactions and grants

A detailed workplan incorporating some combination of the above departments will be developed with the Conservation Fellow within the first few weeks of the one-year term.

After the first few weeks, the Conservation Fellow will focus on refining skills within one or two departments based on the individual's specific skills, interest, and career plans, and be assigned projects aligned with organizational needs and priorities. Fellows will develop and present a capstone project of their choosing to serve as a final work product.

The list below offers insights into the types of projects Fellows may take on during their time:

Highlights of Past Activities and Responsibilities

  • Inventory historical OSI land acquisitions and park improvement with an equity lens
    • Identifying themes, strengths, gaps and making recommendations

  • Assessing the welcomeness of trails, campgrounds, visitor centers and other public park amenities
    • Supporting program manager and partner planning and development

  • Research
    • BIPOC-led organizations working in and related to land conservation
      • Expanding grant outreach
      • Generating a partnership resource for grantees
    • local demographic information
      • Supporting community outreach and fundraising proposals
      • Social network mapping
    • Historical land use
      • Supporting park community outreach, interpretation, fundraising and communications
  • Support grant applications
    • Drafting content for New York State Consolidated Funding Applications, an annual grant cycle which allows applicants access to multiple funding sources available through New York State agencies

  • Create a story map highlighting OSI work
    • Generate written and video content
    • Identify and utilize data via Arc GIS

  • Support administration of small grants programs
    • Update solicitations and contact lists, research potential new grantees
    • Assist staff with proposal review, ranking, recommendations, and advisory committee presentations

  • Participating in our legislative process and advocacy during Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) Lobby Day and Park Advocacy Day


Eligible Fellow applicants will:

  • Have a demonstrated commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion and commitment to the mission of conservation or the environmental movement
  • Bachelor's or Associates degree in related field with demonstrated academic excellence (GPA, course selection, and leadership)
  • Demonstrated interest in a range of fields relating to land conservation including, ecology, environmental justice, real estate, business, marketing, and a desire to learn new skills
  • Availability and commitment to full and enthusiastic participation in all aspects of the Conservation Diversity Fellowship
  • Have the ability to work in the United States and commit to the entire one-year term of the fellowship.

Skills/Core Competencies


  1. Highly organized with the ability to manage concurrent projects from initiation through completion
  2. Ability to articulate thoughts and express ideas effectively using oral and written communication skills
  3. Excellent research and analytical skills
  4. Ability to work well as part of a team and individually, up, down, and across the organization


  1. Knowledge of the New York and New Jersey landscape and local conservation issues

Physical Requirements

  • Frequently sits for long periods of time
  • Frequently speaks, reads, writes, and uses a computer keyboard
  • May require occasional standing, walking, lifting, stooping, bending
  • Occasional regional travel within New York and New Jersey
  • Ability to hike several miles in a day over trails with elevation change

This is an onsite position in our midtown New York office and is not conducive to telecommuting.

This job description is not intended to represent a complete, comprehensive list of all duties and responsibilities that may be required in this position. There may be unplanned activities and other duties as assigned.


This is a one-year (12 months), full-time fellowship starting August 2023.


The Fellowship is sponsored by the Open Space Institute and offers a competitive annualized salary of $60,000 with a comprehensive benefits package, generous paid time off, and training and professional development opportunities.


The selection process, including a potential interview, will take approximately four to six weeks. Applications received after April 16, 2023, will not be considered.

Apply online at www.openspaceinstitute.org/funds/diversity_fellowship and include the following:

  • Resume or CV
  • College transcript
  • Two Letters of Recommendation that may be from a professor or recent employer. We must receive these by April 16, 2023, or your applications will be incomplete. (Letters can be emailed to resumes@osiny.org)
  • Statement of Purpose (up to 750 words)

OSI is an equal opportunity employer and is actively recruiting a diverse workforce. Land conservation benefits all people. Our mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of all genders, diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and culture. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and look for future team members who share that same value.


Posted: 2023-03-02 Expires: 2023-04-03

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Conservation Fellow

Open Space Institute, Inc
New York, NY 10018

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