Endangered Species Policy Advocate

  • WildEarth Guardians
  • Denver, CO preferred, potentially flexible
  • Jan 29, 2021
Full time Public Policy Legal Nonprofit-Social Services

Job Description

Are you a Guardian for wildlife, great and small, across the Western US? 

WildEarth Guardians (Guardians) seeks a full-time Endangered Species Policy Advocate (Advocate) for the Wildlife Program to serve as our expert on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as well as on key species who rely upon the ESA’s protections for recovery. The Advocate will use their legal and policy acumen to defend and strengthen the ESA – one of the strongest environmental tools available to stem the extinction crisis and protect habitat critical to imperiled wildlife. The Advocate will also be on the frontlines of the fight for the well-being of iconic western species such as grizzly bears, sage grouse, wolverine, yellow-billed cuckoo, Joshua tree and more. In addition to policy and legislative engagement, the Advocate will invest their skills and creativity in preparing the factual foundation for and supporting lawsuits brought by our team of litigators to defend the ESA and protect persecuted species across the American West.


WildEarth Guardians (Guardians) is a west-wide nonprofit environmental advocacy organization headquartered in Santa Fe, NM with staff in Denver, CO, Missoula, MT, Boise, ID, Seattle, WA, Tucson, AZ, Portland, OR, and Sequim, WA. With a 30-year history of bold environmental action, we wage innovative legal, political, and grassroots campaigns to protect and restore wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and community health in the American West.

The Wildlife Program advocates for the intrinsic right of native species to thrive across the West, for biodiversity, for stronger protections for imperiled species and their habitat, and for coexistence between native carnivores and people. We work at the state and federal level to eliminate cruel and indiscriminate killing tools as well as to implement systemic change to ensure that wildlife is protected according to the best available science and respected according to a 21st century ethic of coexistence.


The Endangered Species Policy Advocate works closely with the Wildlife Program Director to defend and uphold the ESA and protect key species – and their habitats – across the American West who rely upon the full protections of the ESA for survival. In addition to working on Guardians’ projects, the Advocate will work in coalition to encourage federal policies that benefit species and to ensure sufficient funding for endangered and threatened species protection work. The Advocate will be relied upon as the ESA legal and policy expert and will be expected to contribute to the strategic vision of this Guardians’ “ESA Defense” initiative (in collaboration with the Program Director).

The Advocate may be asked to work with staff in other Guardians’ key programs – Wild Places, Wild Rivers and Climate & Energy – to the extent there are overlapping species/ESA issues within the work of those programs. The Advocate may also work on additional campaigns within the Wildlife Program, including our “End the War on Wildlife” initiative as well as provide support to ESA-related issues within other programs.

The position is supervised by the Wildlife Program Director.

Note: This is not an entry-level position as we are looking for an advocate with strong prior experience with the ESA and species protection. While a law degree is not necessary for this position, a degree – or comparable experience – is strongly preferred due to the responsibility of the advocate to be able to engage in pre-litigation work and issue-spotting in advance of litigation. A science background is a plus and the ability to be able to comprehend complex scientific literature and translate into layman’s terms is necessary.

Principal Responsibilities:

  • Advance key political and legislative objectives to strengthen the ESA and species who rely on ESA protection;
  • Work with attorneys and other staff to develop and propose new legal advocacy focused on the Endangered Species Act and species who rely on ESA protection;
  • Review proposed rules and agency actions related to priority species and the ESA and provide comments on the same;
  • Draft communications – such as action alert emails, press releases, blog posts, Op/Eds etc. – in support of ESA Defense initiative;
  • Communicate effectively with stakeholders – including members of Congress and other elected officials – and the public on the importance of ESA in remedying the biodiversity crisis.

Knowledge and Skills:

  • Knowledge of the ESA and related federal environmental laws (NEPA, APA, etc.);
  • Knowledge of wildlife and issues impacting wildlife across the American West;
  • Passion for protecting wildlife across the American West;
  • Strong relational skills, including ability to connect with and build coalitions with diverse stakeholders;
  • Strong written and oral communication skills;
  • Analytical, strategic mind and ability to prioritize in a world full of problems, winnow out distractions, recognize and act on opportunities, and anticipate potential future consequences;

Additional preferred skills include, but are not limited to:

  • 3+ years of experience working with the ESA and/or for species protection;
  • Law degree or deep understanding of relevant laws and how to develop litigation;
  • Degree in biology, wildlife studies, or a related field (or comparable experience in the same);
  • Creative, self-starter with proven ability to work independently and collaboratively;
  • Knowledge of and experience with federal, regional, and state environmental policy;
  • Comfort using social media platforms;
  • Excellent organizational skills to support success in a fast-paced environment with a full workload where it is necessary to balance and prioritize multiple tasks and deadlines.

Compensation and Benefits

WildEarth Guardians offers a friendly and flexible, team-based environment with an excellent benefits package. You have flexibility to select benefits based on your personal preferences, your family situation, and/or your financial objectives. Benefits include full health, vision, dental, life, and disability coverage, a 403(b) retirement plan with a 3% match, paid and un-paid health and family leave, a sabbatical policy, sick leave, three weeks paid vacation to start, and fourteen holidays including your birthday. Salary is negotiable within the identified range based on experience.


Apply for the position by providing a cover letter, resume, short writing sample and three references through the web portal. Cover letters should communicate the applicant’s heartfelt commitment to protect and restore the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West. Applicants are encouraged to tell us who they are as human beings, and why they care about this work and are interested in this position.

We will begin reviewing applications February 2, 2021 on a rolling basis and will schedule interviews soon thereafter. We will have this position posted until filled but encourage candidates to apply as soon as possible due to our desire to fill this position quickly.

Please respect our blind hiring process, and apply through the web portal rather than contacting Guardians staff directly.  Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.

WildEarth Guardians is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, class, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, family/marital status, religion or other protected classes. We especially encourage applications from persons of color, women and LGBTQ+ candidates.


$60,000 to $70,000, depending on experience