Part-time Research Associate

Posted Date: April 19, 2019
Location: Seattle, Washington
Department: 183 / Conservation Finance

The Conservation Finance Program, a national program at the Trust for Public Land (TPL), is looking for a dynamic professional to join its acclaimed research team on a part-time basis (20 hours weekly). The research team’s work is central to the foundation of TPL’s ability to create new public funding for land conservation and parks at the state and local government level across the United States by getting deeply engaged in public policy, legislation and ballot measure elections.

Position Summary:
We invite you to consider a position on our team of enthusiastic and talented conservation professionals who are at the forefront of the Conservation Finance movement. This position is responsible for conducting research, data collection and supporting programmatic work for the Trust for Public Land’s (TPL) Conservation Finance Program.

The Conservation Finance Program's mission is to create new public funding for land conservation and parks at the state and local government level by advising on the research, design and passage of ballot measures and legislation. Over the past 20 years, we have created over $74 billion in new public funding for parks, open space, working farms, wildlife habitat and trails, while passing over 560 state and local ballot measures and achieving an 82% passage rate. In cities like Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston and Portland and states like New Jersey, California, Colorado and Georgia, we have passed recent measures or are deeply engaged in current ballot measure or legislative efforts that have stemmed directly from the work of our research team.

We are also the nation's thought leader in conservation finance, producing the following key knowledge resources: State and local feasibility studies, LandVote®, ParkVote, the Conservation Almanac®, and the National Conservation Easement Database® (NCED), and partnership with the United States Geological Service’s (USGS) Protected Areas Database of the United States.

The Conservation Finance Research Associate will conduct or assist in research, writing, technical analysis, and presentations of reports and data management for a national team of conservation finance experts. This person will be responsible for the following primary tasks: 1) research and written reports for the Conservation Finance Program. These reports will evaluate the potential of state and local governments to design public funding programs for parks and land conservation; 2) research for the Conservation Almanac, a comprehensive database of public land conservation activities, programs and policies on a state-by-state basis; 3) research for the National Conservation Easement Database, a comprehensive database to track conservation easements in the United States.


  • Written “Feasibility Studies” assessing the potential for local or state conservation funding throughout jurisdiction around the country.
  • Overall support for TPL’s Conservation Almanac and NCED team in these database building efforts by collecting, creating, managing and serving out GIS data for protected lands in the United States.
  • Contact government agencies to assemble land acquisition data, including GIS shape files on local, state and federal land conservation programs nationwide, as well as developing a list of contacts in those states.
  • Functions include supporting the Conservation Almanac team with viewing of GIS data, responding to questions about the data and the creation of maps and other presentation products, including state return on investment studies and state legislative analyses for the entire Conservation Finance team.
  • Identify and collect information from stakeholders through email and phone contacts; gathering data and qualitative information from existing materials (e.g. journal articles, government reports, legal statutes). Also to manage project relationships and project documentation.
  • Conduct extensive Internet research.
  • Format data for input into online databases.
  • Assess and analyze data to ensure quality control and reconcile discrepancies.
  • Create charts and tables in Excel, In Design, etc.
  • Produce technical memos, reports and marketing materials.
  • Some national travel for projects and conferences, 1-2 times per year.
  • Assist with the creation of presentation materials such as but not limited to PowerPoint presentations and report statistics and maps.
  • Perform other relevant duties, including writing, data entry, and administrative tasks, as necessary.


  • Bachelor’s Degree in a related field (environmental policy, natural resources, political science, urban planning, environmental science, etc.
  • 1-2 years relevant experience. This includes relevant academic experience.
  • Strong writing and research skills.
  • Experience with public policy, politics, campaigns and elections preferred.
  • Experience creating literature reviews, policy statements or involvement in the development of academic research papers is required.
  • Experience preparing research and presentation materials for meetings, conferences or presentations.
  • Familiarity with GIS.
  • Experience developing marketing materials (blog posts, social media blasts, pamphlets, newsletters) is helpful.
  • Demonstrated success working both independently and as part of a team.
  • Experience and comfort with communicating in person, in writing, and over the phone with a diverse variety of internal and external audiences.
  • Experience and comfort with presenting information in front of groups.
  • Expertise and comfort using software applications, particularly Excel, Word and Power Point required. Experience with database applications and graphics programs (such as InDesign) strongly preferred.
  • Attention to detail, organization, diligence and commitment to excellence.
  • Ability to work under deadline pressure on multiple projects.
  • Willingness to travel. Current Driver’s License helpful, but not required.