RAY Conservation Diversity Fellow: Florida Policy Fellow

Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy’s Florida Program is in need of a zealous and meticulous analyst who is passionate about protecting the Floridian marine environment. From the Everglades, to coral reefs, to salt marshes, to mangrove swamps, Floridian water is the inherent ecological and cultural fabric of the state, and is in desperate need of protection. As a traditional swing state, Florida provides unique opportunities to create champions for robust conservation measures aimed at water quality and sea level rise out of non-traditional environmental allies. In Florida, it doesn’t matter what political cloth you’re cut from or if you’re from the right or the left side of the political spectrum. What’s important is preserving the state’s critically important and deeply iconic environment.

We would welcome a Roger Arliner Young (RAY) Fellow to bring their unique perspective to analyzing and developing policies that would protect the Floridian marine environment, with a focus on not just what is prudent for preserving our coastal ecology, but also what is good for the vast and diverse range of ocean stakeholders in the state. Florida is the frontlines for the country when it comes to dealing with climate change related coastal impacts, and the deep racial and economic divides within the state will result in extremely varied outcomes as the climate crisis takes hold. We highly encourage the right Fellow to tackle these issues of intersectional environmentalism head on.

While the focus for this position will be on Florida, the RAY Fellow will have opportunities to meet, interview and immerse themselves in the lives of ocean advocates from across Ocean Conservancy’s critical program areas: ocean science, ocean planning, Trash Free Seas©, legal affairs, Arctic, and fish conservation. They are some of the best and brightest minds working in marine conservation.

In addition to invaluable work experience, the RAY Fellow will be mentored by the Ocean Conservancy’s Florida Conservation team to hone their skills on policy and regulatory analysis, state and local level government relations, building communication and outreach strategies for complex regulatory frameworks, as well as having access to professional development opportunities to develop and build desired skills. The RAY Fellow will also have several opportunities to network with other NGO partners, participate in sessions with external decision-makers, offer creative solutions and contribute to conservation.

Our three-member Florida Conservation team at Ocean Conservancy is joined by an array of cross-cutters from throughout the organization, including Government Relations, Communications, Digital Outreach, and Development. Our diverse past experience ranges from litigation and legal advocacy and the preparation and delivery of Congressional testimony and other public input, to staffing a Congressional office and bilingual outreach campaigns. Today, we are wholly invested in developing robust and responsive policies that will protect the Floridian environment that we so love. We are creative and fun. We take our jobs seriously.

Ocean Conservancy is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion. What that means for our team is being thoughtful about the range of impacts that the policies we advocate for may have on the entire community of stakeholders. It means fighting for what is fair and what is right, even in the face of some of the biggest and most overwhelming challenges we have ever faced, like climate change.

And this is where the RAY Fellow comes in. The RAY Fellow will have opportunities to advocate for the necessity of environmental justice in our policy development, especially in the deeply multicultural, politically bifurcated State of Florida. The RAY Fellow will ardently care for the wild ocean and be deeply committed to ensuring it remains healthy and resilient for generations to come.


Potential projects may include:

State policy analysis and development:
• The RAY Fellow will analyze existing Florida state legislation pertaining to critical marine conservation issues that are the backbone of Ocean Conservancy’s legislative priorities, including water quality and abundance, marine debris, sea level rise, and climate change for the 2022 and 2023 legislative session.
o The Fellow will determine where gaps exist and where opportunities exist to create more conservation-oriented policies on these issues for the upcoming two sessions.
o Creating policy memos to inform Florida program strategy will also provide opportunities to work with elected officials to shape legislation.
o Beyond state legislation, the Fellow will also have the opportunity to become immersed in the development of new regulations being developed by state level agencies (including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs) that focus on water quality and abundance, sea level rise, marine debris, and marine wildlife protections.
Local government policy analysis and development:
• The RAY Fellow will examine existing local government ordinances and regulations for Ocean Conservancy’s key government partners under our flagship Shores Forward Initiative, and find areas where we can work within these governments to improve and protect the marine environment at the granular, local level.
o The fellow will have the opportunity to help write and promote science-based marine debris regulations for some of the largest municipalities in Florida.
Outreach and Education:
• The Fellow will work with an existing stakeholder network to help develop advocates for Ocean Conservancy’s objectives in the state, and will help to build new stakeholder allies from diverse communities.
o Once the pandemic has abated, this will include attending in-person meetings and events in Florida to educate the public on Ocean Conservancy priorities; for example, this could include attending policy roundtables, tabling events (such as boat shows and festivals), or educating participants in fishing tournaments.
o Depending on the candidate’s interest, the Fellow will have the opportunity to interact with the media to convey Ocean Conservancy’s key positions and perspectives on marine protections. This includes authoring articles and opinion pieces for print media.
o The opportunity will provide blogs and website materials for www.oceanconservancy.org on issues pertaining to Florida’s marine environment.

To apply for this job please visit rayfellowship.org.