Director of River Cities Program

Reporting to: Executive Director of The Scenic Hudson Land Trust, Inc. and Land Programs

Supervises: River Cities Project Manager, with partial oversight of some other staff

Mission of Position:  The Director of River Cities takes a lead role in advancing our multi-faceted projects in several Hudson River cities. They will develop strategies, initiatives and projects that create or enhance community access to parks, trails, community gardens, and other green spaces, in partnership with residents and other stakeholders. The goal is to create tangible outcomes rooted in environmental justice and equitable planning that meet our organization’s mission and community needs.

Background on River Cities Program: Scenic Hudson collaborates with community members, municipalities, and partner organizations to deepen relationships between residents and nature in
cities. Our practice is rooted in healthy urban ecosystems, equity, fun, and vibrant public spaces that support community well-being in the cities of Newburgh and Poughkeepsie, and Kingston to a more limited extent. These three communities once flourished as centers of industry, commerce, and culture, all set within the natural beauty and bounty of the Hudson River Valley. We work to build on that history, redress historic wrongs, and help these three cities thrive again, for the benefit of all of their residents.

The River Cities Program strives to:

  • Combine our skills and capabilities with community knowledge and expertise to increase access to open space and parks;
  • Build inclusive partnerships that engage local residents, advance community-led initiatives and neighborhood stabilization efforts, and enhance community health and well-being;
  • Empower and educate young people through prioritizing listening to and learning from the community;
  • Support healthy urban ecological systems;
  • Ensure access to healthy food and clean air and water;
  • Organize around the connections between historic and current land-use decisions, the climate crisis, and environmental justice;
  • Identify shared challenges faced by riverfront cities throughout the valley and explore joint opportunities to overcome them.


We are looking for an experienced project director/manager able to think strategically and simultaneously oversee multiple complex and high-profile projects in an urban setting. Ability to work in a fast-paced environment with high degree of autonomy and self-direction, and to coordinate this work with executive leadership, staff, and Board members. Demonstrated experience in advancing environmental justice initiatives is required for this position. The ideal candidate will be a boundary spanner and a bridge builder, capable of creating, nurturing and maintaining connections between Scenic Hudson and a diverse set of stakeholders, applying the latest innovations in inclusive community development, urban planning and environmental justice to our work.

The successful candidate will have experience in equity planning and in implementing environmental justice principles; be a seasoned land use and community planner or project manager with experience in some combination of: comprehensive long-range planning and urban design principles; urban ecology and green infrastructure; community economic development; inclusive community engagement strategies; conflict negotiation and facilitation skills; stakeholder outreach and relationship-building; relations with state and municipal government; technical analysis; strong verbal, written and graphic communication skills; and experience building and managing multiracial
coalitions and stakeholder groups.

Some evening and weekend days are required, as well as travel in your own vehicle to meetings in Hudson Valley cities and elsewhere in the region. Ability to lift 30 pounds for transportation and setup of meetings and to occasionally walk long distances over uneven terrain for community project review. Verbal and written fluency in Spanish is desirable. A Master’s Degree in urban planning, urban design or community organizing is desired, or a minimum of five years of practical or parallel experience.

Principal Responsibilities:

  • Project leadership. Lead all aspects of multiple high-profile community projects. Examples of projects include creating urban gardens and farms, restoring derelict public parks, tree planting and waterway restoration. Coordinate this work with other teams within Scenic Hudson. Chart the course for advancing projects while strategically adapting to changing conditions. Manage project budgets and keep projects on track while meeting community, partner, funder, and internal organizational needs.
  • Coordination. Oversee the work of the River Cities Project Manager and other relevant staff to define and implement work plans for River Cities initiatives. Organize and lead regular meetings with relevant staff to ensure projects are moving forward and outcomes are being met.
  • Creating Actionable Plans. Lead project staff in the completion of actionable, stakeholder-driven plans that maximize the intersection between Scenic Hudson’s mission and community needs.
  • Building strong relationships. Build credibility of Scenic Hudson’s efforts and trust in communities, including developing and maintaining strong, equitable relationships with project partners and new constituencies to support our work.
  • Community Outreach and Coalition-Building. Craft and help implement community engagement strategies with a strong sensitivity to working inclusively and equitably in resource-scarce, high-poverty, highly diverse cities. Participate in, and lead where necessary, steering committees and topic-focused working groups to advance planning work and build coalitions to support implementation.
  • Grant writing, reporting and fundraising. Work with partners and executive management to identify and pursue grant and private funding to support project implementation. Play an active supportive role in grant procurement, communication with agencies, state and federal delegation members, foundations and private donors. This includes the generation of project summaries and graphics as well as preparation for and attendance at meetings with donors and board members.
  • Media Communications: Periodic communication with the media and through various social and online media platforms is required. Work with the communications team and external partners to create compelling narratives and graphics to meet the needs of different media formats and constituents.

Other responsibilities:

  • Coordinate or participate on external committees as needed to advance current and future work priorities.
  • Attend meetings as project needs or commitments dictate.
  • Participate in a collaborative team environment, including attendance and preparation for regular team and working group meetings.
  • Flexibility to integrate requests from other teams within the organization.
  • Other duties as may be assigned

Compensation: Full Time, with competitive salary and benefits. Salary range is $90,000 to $95,000, commensurate with experience.

Background: Scenic Hudson helps citizens and communities preserve land and farms and create parks where people experience the outdoors and enjoy the Hudson River. We also bring together people, businesses and government to protect the river and natural resources that are the engines of the valley’s local economies. Started in 1963 by a handful of citizens who cherished the simple pleasures of the outdoors along the Hudson, Scenic Hudson is credited with launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement. Today, in the face of new challenges and the effects of climate change, we are dedicated to making the Hudson Valley a great place to live, work and play. Our focus is on strengthening and maximizing benefits all can enjoy from the region’s great assets—beautiful open spaces, working farms, and vibrant cities and town centers.

Contact: Cover letter, resume and brief writing sample to: Further information can be found on our website: No phone calls please.

Scenic Hudson is an Equal Opportunity Employer promoting cultural diversity and excellence. We are committed to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion, and strive to serve all of the people of the Hudson Valley by evaluating our projects, strategic initiatives and outcomes through that lens.