Program Director I

Program Director I

Type of offer:

The Central Appalachians Project Director serves as part of the Kentucky Business Unit and an important member of the Conservancy’s Central Appalachians Program, a multi-state effort focused on conserving a network of resilient and connected lands through this region as part of a larger conservation corridor from Tennessee to Canada. The position location is flexible (remote work/home office) but requires frequent and regular travel to Eastern Kentucky. The Central Appalachians Project Director oversees, directs, and develops all aspects of project management and implementation for effective conservation programs in Eastern Kentucky and will collaborate with multiple adjacent states within the Central Appalachians. This role places a specific emphasis on developing and implementing scalable protection and restoration strategies for the Central Appalachians. In addition to leading the vision and direction of the Conservancy’s Central Appalachian conservation program, the Central Appalachians Project Director will serve on the operational team for the Cumberland Forest Project, a 253,000 acre project bringing together impact investment, climate resilience, carbon markets, sustainable timber harvests and recreational and economic opportunities for people and communities.


The Central Appalachians Project Director serves as the regional lead for conservation programs and projects and fulfills the following essential functions:

Conservation Vision and Leadership

  • Serves as chief partner to the Director of Conservation in developing a compelling conservation vision and agenda, shaping strategies and priorities, and achieving meaningful deliverables for conservation in the Central Appalachians.
  • Works with The Nature Conservancy’s Central Appalachian Whole System project team to contribute to ecosystem-scale conservation strategies benefiting both people and nature and to translate Whole System vision into tangible actions. This includes serving as primary liaison to TNC’s Central Appalachians Whole System, a priority TNC program aimed at conserving the globally significant connected, climate resilient landscape stretching from Tennessee to Canada.
  • Serves as the Operations Team representative for the Cumberland Forest Project; responsible for working with the larger team towards conservation, restoration, and community benefits for Kentucky’s 55,000-acre portion of the project.

Conservation Program Management

  • Oversees the implementation of two voluntary forest carbon projects which are currently in progress within Kentucky.
  • Collaborates with Kentucky’s Director of Protection, Director of Conservation, Director of Land Management, and Central Appalachians Whole System staff to implement scalable protection, restoration, and recreation, strategies contributing to the Central Appalachian Business Plan and Kentucky’s prioritized focal landscapes.  
  • Serves as key working group member, and lead for Kentucky, within the Central Appalachians Whole System project.
  • Serves as the on-the-ground point of contact for Kentucky for the Cumberland Forest Project.

External Leverage and Influence

  • Maintains and enhances the Conservancy’s role as a leading conservation organization, an innovator, a reliable and trustworthy partner, and a source of credible information.
  • Build, cultivate, and maintain key partnerships and relationships with public agencies, private organizations, and key stakeholders in Eastern Kentucky.
  • Seek out and pursue significant public and private funding opportunities that will deliver resources needed to advance the Central Appalachians Whole System vision.
  • Collaborate with philanthropy staff to support effective fundraising for the Central Appalachian Project Area, including participation in donor events, communications and marketing efforts, and gift solicitations.


  • Oversees conservation programs in the Central Appalachians of Kentucky
  • Instrumental in defining The Nature Conservancy as a key player in the economic transition of Eastern Kentucky towards nature-based solutions (e.g. forest carbon, sustainable energy).
  • Programmatic scope may require cross-boundary work and relationships.          
  • May be responsible for leading or co-leading a whole system program.
  • Leads and manages team or project to support and improve conservation efforts.             
  • Establish and maintain optimal standards of performance for the department or program while controlling costs and administering budgets.
  • Identify and assist with public and private fundraising to meet program needs.
  • Builds cooperation from outside parties to accomplish program goals.
  • May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.
  • Frequently makes independent decision based on analysis, experience, and context.
  • Facilitates and assists with restoration and monitoring on Cumberland Forest and other TNC lands in the Central Appalachians.
Location: Kentucky
Organization: The Nature Conservancy
Deadline: June 27, 2021
External website link: