Job Opportunity: Scientist and Communications Specialist (Environmental Health) – Center for Biological Diversity

Center for Biological Diversity LogoScientist and Communications Specialist — Environmental Health
Full Time
Portland or San Francisco Bay Area Preferred

General position overview:

The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a dynamic, experienced and motivated person who combines the skills of both a scientist and an expert communicator to join our work to protect wildlife, people and our environment from the effects of toxics. The Center’s new Environmental Health program will play a leading role in helping the public understand the inextricable link between human health and the health of all other species. Our Environmental Health team uses cutting-edge legal and advocacy strategies to tackle key threats such as pesticides, rodenticides, lead, mining, industrial pollutants, and air and water pollution. The right candidate for this position combines excellent scientific research and writing abilities with proven media outreach and communication skills. Specific tasks will include researching the impacts of toxic substances on imperiled communities and species; providing expertise to support legal advocacy; preparing Endangered Species Act listing petitions; generating positive media stories, op-eds, editorials and creative media products that drive the national discussion about environmental health; and playing an integral role in raising the Center’s national profile and work on this critical issue. This position reports to the Environmental Health Director.

The ideal candidate for this position must be able to: 

  • Act as a public spokesperson and engage the public, scientists and opinion leaders on toxics issues through outreach and public speaking.
  • Produce compelling press releases and effective statements to reporters, story pitches, blog posts, factsheets, op-eds and other written material.
  • Analyze scientific literature to inform science-based advocacy work, including support for policy, litigation, legislation, organizing and outreach.
  • Write comments, white papers, reports and listing petitions.
  • Develop and execute strategic communications plans.
  • Track news stories pertaining to core areas of programmatic focus and establish new ways to become part of the news cycle.
  • Cultivate media relationships, pitch stories to reporters and editorial writers, and continually seek out new media opportunities.
  • Periodically read, research and synthesize environmental health–related science for lay audience materials.
  • Expand and refine the Center’s existing Environmental Health communications materials, including website content and print publications to help inform and activate the Center’s 825,000-plus supporters and activists.
  • Identify and act on political opportunities, especially regarding the media, to shift the national debate in our favor.

Essential qualities, qualifications and skills:

  • Completion of a master’s degree in a relevant scientific field, such as conservation biology, environmental studies, ecology, earth sciences, ecotoxicology, chemistry, or public health. Candidates with exceptional communications experience or master’s degrees in other relevant fields, such as journalism, will be considered if they have a bachelor’s degree in an earth science or related field.
  • Scientific literacy and familiarity with toxics issues such as pesticides, rodenticides, lead, mining, industrial pollution, and air and water pollution.
  • Excellent research, analytical and writing skills.
  • Excellent communication skills, including public speaking skills.
  • Ability to research, synthesize and translate complex scientific concepts for a lay audience.
  • A strong work ethic and good time-management skills.
  • A demonstrated commitment to environmental protection.
  • Dynamic and confident self-starter who can work effectively independently and with a
  • The ability to produce clear, concise, persuasive and powerful writing on tight deadlines.
  • A solid working knowledge of environmental issues and politics.
  • Experience working with the media.
  • The ability to thrive in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
  • The ability to juggle multiple projects on both long- and short-term timelines.
  • The ability to communicate in different styles, depending on the forum, product and audience.
  • A strategic mindset that grasps opportunities in both short-term and long-term contexts.
  • A passion for the Center’s work, and for the work of our Environmental Health program in particular.

Salary is commensurate with skills and experience and comparable to other nonprofits. The Center offers an excellent benefits package, including vacation time; employer-paid medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurance; as well as a 403(b) retirement savings plan with employer match.

Application process: To apply, please email a thoughtful cover letter, short résumé and references to, “Attn: Scientist and Communications Specialist.” Please make sure to attach all application materials as Adobe PDF documents and use your name as the beginning of the file name. The position will remain open until filled. The desired start date is as soon as possible. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted. No telephone calls, please.


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