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Director of Soil Research and Conservation

Point Blue Conservation Science
Petaluma, California
$100,085 - $130,000 Annually, depending on experience and internal equity.
Closing date
Mar 28, 2024

Director of Soil Research and Conservation at Point Blue Conservation Science

Location: Petaluma, California (Hybrid)

Deadline to Apply: Position is open until filled. 

Position Type: Full Time, Exempt

Compensation and Benefits:  Salary is based on qualifications and internal equity. Estimated salary range for this position is $100,085 - $130,000 annually. Point Blue provides a comprehensive benefit package including employer paid medical and dental for staff and 75% for dependents. Other benefits include life insurance, long-term care, long- and short-term disability, flexible spending accounts, and retirement plans as well as time off benefits. 

About Point Blue:

Point Blue Conservation Science ( ) is a growing and internationally renowned non-profit with over 160 staff and scientists based in Petaluma, California. Founded in 1965 as Point Reyes Bird Observatory, our mission and programs have evolved over time to include a broad range of conservation activity, from restoration to environmental education to innovative work in the field of regenerative agriculture.  We have a proven track record of scientific excellence.

We recognize that increasing racial, gender, cultural, and other diversity, equity, and inclusion factors at Point Blue and in our partnerships is essential for the success of our mission, vision, and strategy. We are actively engaging in a process to create lasting organizational change. We seek applicants from all backgrounds to join our teams. We strongly encourage applications from people with backgrounds that are under-represented in the conservation community.

Job Summary:

The Director of Soil Research and Conservation will advance Point Blue’s growing and highly regarded soils program. The DSRC will develop and lead priority research projects and partnerships that further the scientific understanding of soil stewardship, cultivate awareness of soil health, and promote the practical application of science-based practices to ultimately protect and rebuild robust, resilient natural and working lands. This will include overseeing existing soil-related projects as well as developing and implementing new studies that help to advance Point Blue’s strategic plan. It will also include leading proposal development for the soils program, leading meetings and workshops with researchers, land managers, and agency staff to develop science products, and publishing scientific articles. In addition to publishing, the DSRC will communicate research results at scientific conferences and through writing and presentations for partners and peers. The DSRC position is based out of Point Blue headquarters in Petaluma, CA, with approximately four in-person meetings per month at a minimum with the Soils Team and other colleagues at Point Blue, and otherwise remote work optional.

The DSRC will provide scientific direction and vision for the Point Blue soils program and will work closely with new and existing partners to conduct research, inform management decisions, and communicate science to diverse audiences. An ideal candidate will acknowledge and consider the original land stewardship and traditional ecological knowledge of indigenous peoples and other communities to incorporate and partner with these communities as aligned with the Point Blue mission. The DSRC will be an exemplary partner and will demonstrate the highest levels of professionalism and high performance teaming skills. 

Specific duties include, but are not limited to:

Program Management (40%)

  1. Helps develop enabling structures for meeting project deliverables, including supporting key partnerships in target geographies.
  2. Oversees program-level budget management and project reporting.
  3. Hires, supervises, and mentors staff as needed, including Scientist I-III levels; manages shared staff collaboratively as needed.
  4. Plans, designs, and oversees the work of staff involved in performing research and monitoring projects. 
  5. Meets with staff to identify and resolve problems; performs personnel actions, such as approving timesheets and evaluates performance.
  6. Provides leadership in strengthening internal communication within the team and staff at all levels of Point Blue; creates and promotes a positive and supportive work environment.

Scientific Leadership (40%)

  1. Guides and/or directly leads all projects and partnerships in the soils program portfolio, including Point Blue’s role on the USDA ACTION project.
  2. Provides strategic oversight and direction for the soils program considering staff input and leveraging the strengths of team members.
  3. Solicits and consolidates team input and provides leadership in Point Blue strategic planning efforts.
  4. Determines best representation of the soil program in internal efforts to coordinate science among Point Blue Groups and Initiatives, and as appropriate to the Science Advisory Committee and Board of Directors.
  5. Serves as Principal Investigator with responsibility for research and grant development, project funding, and coordination and implementation, from study design to publication of results.
  6. Develops and maintains scientific partnerships; and cultivates and coordinates graduate student and postdoctoral scholar participation

Fundraising (15%)

  1. Represents and promotes Point Blue science and programs to potential donors and grant programs.
  2. Helps secure funding for projects through relationship building, identifying and building grant proposals, and designing studies to support conservation science.
  3. Prepares more complex grant proposals and contracts. Communicates and negotiates with funders on scopes of work, timelines, budgets and deliverables.

Other Duties as Assigned (5%)

Perform special projects, research, and other duties as assigned, including the support and development of organizational diversity, equity and inclusion goals


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Knowledge of advanced soil science, applied soil ecology, and/or soil biogeochemistry and research in soil management and conservation practices Knowledge of principles of statistical theory and analysis Ability to work with organizations and agencies involved in conservation and ecological research on natural and working lands Expert knowledge of scientific research methods and techniques involving soils, biology, ecology, agroecosystems and other related sciences and their application to resource conservation and management activities
  • Ability to sample, analyze, and interpret biotic and abiotic components of soil Experience and demonstrated success with budget development, preparation and administration; project planning and implementation; supervision and training Ability to effectively communicate both verbally and in writing for scientific and non-scientific audiences, including effective visualization programs (e.g. Powerpoint, Mural, Canva etc.) Develop technical content for varied audiences and purposes, e.g: Publish manuscripts, lead competitive proposals, and generate project reports Utilize computer systems (including cloud-based systems) and software related to data management, analysis, and visualization, including Geographic Information Systems, R, and version control and collaboration tools such as GitHub.

Certifications and/or Licenses:

  • Valid California driver’s license and favorable driving history, and proof of auto insurance. Ability to obtain relevant certificates, permits, or licenses related to working with soil.

Preferred Education and Experience:

This position requires a combination of education and experience equivalent to a Master’s or Ph. D. degree in soil ecology or related field; and 5 years of experience in soil ecology conservation management or related field.

Work Environment & Physical Requirements:

  • This position operates in a professional office environment and in remote field locations with uneven terrain, limited vehicle access, limited cell phone reception, and sometimes in a solitary capacity. Routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, scanners, and filing cabinets. Ability to hike in uneven terrain while carrying gear and/or backpack Ability to operate an all terrain vehicle (ATV) Ability to lift up to 50 pounds occasionally

Position Type, Expected Hours of Work, and Travel:

  • This is a full-time position. Days and hours of work vary depending on season, fieldwork, and timeline requirements. Evening and weekend work may be required as job duties demand. Travel to meetings and field sites in the Central Valley and on the coast (e.g. Sacramento, Chico, Davis, Pescadero, San Francisco) will be necessary.

Apply: You will be asked to upload a cover letter and cv/resume. If you experience difficulty with the application process, please contact

Point Blue is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate against applicants or employees because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, citizenship status, disability status of an otherwise qualified individual, membership or application for membership in an uniformed service, or membership in any other class protected by applicable law and will make reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities to complete the application and/or participate in the interview process.










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