Tom Graff Diversity Fellow, California Monarchs

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.


EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share the Core Values that allow us to experiment courageously in our work while staying true to who we’ve been as an organization for 50 years. Are you a results oriented individual who is passionate about creating environmental solutions that make a lasting difference in the world? Do you respect diverse perspectives, talents and contributions? Do you value innovation and enjoy designing and using a wide range of problem-solving tools? Do you embrace environmental goals with a sense of optimism while taking into account real-world dynamics? If you have integrity and a strong desire to uphold a commitment to science, rigorous analysis, intellectual honesty and ethical action, then EDF is the place for you.

The Tom Graff Diversity Fellowship Program looks for candidates from diverse backgrounds who are seeking a professional experience in environmental advocacy. The Fellowship is a full-time, one-year position focused on a project integral to EDF’s mission. Proposals should offer prospective Fellows a well-rounded experience, specific deliverables and outcomes, and an opportunity for one or more of the following:

  • Understanding and engaging with the political landscape, particularly how the organization lobbies effectively
  • Developing and promoting key partnerships with a variety of organizations to build momentum for achieving our desired outcomes
  • Understanding how we use media and communications strategies to advance program initiatives
  • Designing and utilizing market-based mechanisms to achieve environmental and economic goals
  • Employing science-based data and analysis to support our program initiatives

Program Overview

EDF’s Working Lands team strives to create resilient agricultural landscapes that benefit people and the planet by improving habitat, reducing water quality impacts and rebalancing water supply management, mitigating climate change, and contributing to rural economies. The Tom Graff Fellow will join EDF’s Working Lands team to partner with diverse farmers and ranchers to restore habitat to save the monarch butterfly, an iconic species that is dangerously close to extinction.


When discussing the monarch butterfly’s decline, we often hear that saving the monarch will require “an all hands-on deck approach.” This phrase is used to emphasize the severity of the monarch’s decline, and to describe the scale of the widespread habitat restoration efforts necessary for monarch populations to recover. The western monarch butterfly population has declined approximately 99.5% from its historic levels; to support its recovery, EDF has set a goal of restoring 30,000 additional acres of breeding and migratory habitat for the monarch butterfly in California over the next decade. To achieve this necessarily ambitious goal, EDF will need to engage new networks of landowners across the Central Valley, including minority farmers that have been historically underserved by many public and private sustainable agriculture programs.


Overall Function

The Tom Graff Fellow will work with EDF’s Working Lands team to develop and implement a strategy for engaging diverse farming and ranching communities in restoring habitat for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators in California’s Central Valley. The Tom Graff fellow will be responsible for implementing EDF’s outreach and support of minority landowners in the Central Valley who are willing to create monarch habitat. The Fellow will identify and engage diverse partners and minority farming communities, and be responsible for unlocking the resources, plant materials, and funding necessary to implement habitat restoration projects on their farms and ranches.


The project has three primary components:

  • Identifying, engaging with, and supporting minority farmers and ranchers to create monarch and pollinator habitat, in partnership with the National Center for Appropriate Technology;
  • Working with partners to provide plant materials for habitat projects to minority landowners free of cost; and
  • Identifying and unlocking funding for conservation on minority-owned farms and ranches.

These three components will allow EDF to engage diverse farmers and ranchers in conservation, and ensure that they have access to the materials and monetary resources necessary for working lands habitat projects.


Key Responsibilities

Tasks will include but are not limited to:

  • Identify and engage diverse partner organizations and diverse farmer/rancher networks in sustainable agriculture projects on their working lands. Serve as relationship manager for selected partner organizations (e.g. National Center for Appropriate Technology) and farmers/ranchers.
  • Develop and implement an outreach strategy to engage diverse farmers and ranchers in habitat restoration throughout the Central Valley.
  • Provide farmers and ranchers with technical and planning support as they implement habitat projects. Manage habitat project plans and track habitat project outcomes.
  • Guide translation of written technical guidance materials for diverse farmer audiences, and identify and develop new outreach materials to better communicate with diverse farming/ranching communities. Materials may include project guidance as well as communication of the co-benefits provided by habitat projects.
  • Work with partner organizations to plan and implement a strategy to provide plant materials for monarch projects (milkweed and other nectar sources) free-of-charge to target farmers/ranchers.
  • Investigate grant opportunities for habitat projects on working lands for socially disadvantaged and historically underserved farmers. Provide outreach about grant opportunities to relevant groups, and support target farmers/ranchers through the grant application process to fund habitat and other sustainable agriculture projects.
  • Present to EDF’s Working Lands team on best practices for engaging minority farming communities in the Central Valley in habitat restoration.
  • Produce notes, reports, and presentations for field visits, events, and meetings.
  • Some travel within California may be required.


  • Bachelor’s degree in social sciences, environmental science, public policy, agricultural science, or other relevant disciplines.
  • Demonstrated interest in sustainable agriculture, environmental justice, habitat restoration, and/or related topics.
  • Outreach experience or experience working with farmers and/or rural communities is strongly preferred.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to interface with a wide variety of stakeholders, especially minority and low-income groups.   Understanding of the intersectionalities that exist within these communities would be strongly beneficial.
  • Fluency in Spanish is preferred. Language skills in another language relevant to Central Valley farming/ranching communities (such as   Tagalog, Cantonese, or Hmong) would also be beneficial.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to work in both a team setting and independently.
  • Ability to multi-task and balance priorities to meet deadlines and reach strategic goals.
  • Demonstrates initiative and problem-solving skills.
  • Highly organized and detail-oriented.
  • Willingness to travel to farms and ranches in the California Central Valley.


San Francisco, CA, or Sacramento, CA. 



This is a 1-year Fellowship.


Application Materials

Interested applicants should attach their cover letter and resume to the EDF application, together with a writing sample.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.