Wild Whatcom is a flourishing non-profit organization dedicated to fostering lifelong connections to nature. We provide experiential learning opportunities that inspire participants of all ages to build healthy relationships with nature, community, and self. We serve more than 2,000 individuals each year through our school programs, weekend outings, nature preschool, summer camps, community programs, and projects with many community nonprofits. With a talented staff of 25, we provide more than 50,000 nature hours to individuals in Whatcom County each year with year-round programs.

Wild Whatcom board, staff, and volunteers are united in a vision of organizational development that increases opportunities for diverse populations to (re)connect with nature; allows us to attract, retain, and nurture talented staff from all parts of our community; and deepen our programs and partnerships. We seek a Program Director with excellent program development, staff management, risk management, and facilitation skills as well as a focus on collaboration, equity, and distributed leadership.

The Program Director reports to the Executive Director and holds responsibility for the daily operations of the organization, oversight of all programming, and active involvement on the leadership team. The Program Director also has a network of support and thought partnership with a team of Program Managers, a logistics support role, an Operations Director, and Development and Communications Manager. The Program Director directly supervises four Program Managers, acts as a Program Manager for our pilot Nature Preschool with the support of our Nature Preschool Coordinator, and assists in the supervision of our team of 13-15 field mentors.


Program and Staff Management

  • Guide and oversee Program Managers to ensure outstanding program quality and safety at all levels
  • Actively contribute to a healthy and productive organizational culture; support the Executive Director in planning and implementing an annual staff retreat
  • Oversee and provide support for field staff, coordinators and managers, including conducting annual staff evaluations and occasionally filling staffing gaps in the field as necessary
  • Assess hiring needs and lead the hiring process with support from Executive Director, Program Managers and Operations Director
  • Lead conversations during instances of conflict including, but not limited to, participant concerns during programming (e.g. challenging behaviors), parent communications, and staff performance concerns
  • Plan, co-design, and schedule professional development trainings for staff and lead new staff orientation with the support of the Operations Director and Program Managers
  • Synchronize program schedules across programs to produce a cohesive and sustainable staffing and program delivery schedule
  • Oversee creation of and updating of risk policies and practices and provide guidance for field risk management in conjunction with the Operations Director and Executive Director
  • Support the Executive Director and Program Managers in tracking programmatic expenses in line with an approved budget

Program Development and Growth

  • Oversee, monitor, and enhance program quality, consistency, and efficiency with a thorough understanding and vision across all programs with support from the Director team
  • Participate in research, planning, and development of new programs to maximize mission impact and increase diversity of those served through our programs in conjunction with the Executive Director
  • Create, measure, and monitor program goals in conjunction with the Program Managers and Executive Director
  • Address emerging program issues and quality concerns, develop improvement plans, and implement solutions
  • Provide oversight and guidance for communication with families to assess impact, solicit feedback, and guide improvement
  • Nurture and build relationships with community partners under guidance from Executive Director to fulfill organizational program goals


The ideal candidate will have excellent people and communication skills to develop, build, and maintain strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Proven staff management, risk management, and facilitation skills are essential, as is the ability to build teamwork in a collaborative manner so that staff are supported and empowered to use their collective skills and experiences to advance the mission. Wild Whatcom is also seeking a leader with a background and commitment to equity and who brings energy and a sense of humor.

While no one can be an expert at everything, candidates who meet most of the following qualifications will receive strong consideration:

  • Strong preference for someone who has first-hand experience as an educator with youth, preferably working with youth in an outdoor or experiential educational setting
  • Budgeting experience from drafting budgets to implementation and tracking budgets; at a minimum experience implementing an approved budget
  • Experience in non-profit or business management, preferably in youth, environment, sustainable communities, educational activities, and/or public programming
  • Experience with program development and assessment
  • Understanding of, experience with, and commitment to social and economic equity at an organizational level; ability to lead organization-wide efforts to better reflect the diversity of our community and address systemic inequity.
  • Strong risk management skills, preferably including experience overseeing front- and/or back-country programming
  • Professional work habits: punctual, responsive, organized, ability to manage multiple projects, attention to detail, and the executive function to see projects to completion
  • Experience with staff management, preferably including overseeing other management roles, and experience planning and/or facilitating staff trainings
  • Experience successfully navigating conflict and engaging in delicate conversations with external stakeholders, such as parents, partners, and/or funders
  • Competency with Google Drive and Gmail and Microsoft Office Suite (Excel and Word)
  • Certified or willing to become certified in Wilderness First Responder Training (with financial support from the organization) within the first 6 months of hire

Compensation and Benefits:

This is a permanent, full-time position with a salary range of $50,000-$55,000.

Wild Whatcom is currently working to implement health benefit packages for leadership positions with a tentative start date of September 1, 2023; we are happy to answer any questions related to this during the interview process.

Wild Whatcom also offers a variety of other non traditional benefits to support and appreciate our staff. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • 13 days of paid federal holidays, including New Years, Martin Luther King Jr Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, 4th of July, Labor Day, Indigenous People’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day + the following Friday, and Christmas Day + one day.
  • In addition, you will accrue 2 hrs of paid vacation time off (PTO) for every 40 hours worked (2.6 weeks/year), and 1 hour of paid sick time off for every 40 hours worked (1.3 weeks/year).
  • Up to $100/mo for up to 5 months per fiscal year to offset the cost of mental health-related professional visits if implemented health benefits do not cover this
  • Personal gear stipend to be used how you’d like to support your time spent outdoors ($150 paid in October)
  • Free annual Discover Pass to access all WA state parks for free (for personal or work use)
  • Use of our loaner gear as needed (for work or personal use) such as tents, backpacks, backpacking stoves and more
  • Subsidized or paid professional development training through external workshops and seminars in addition to a $100 annual professional development “bank” available to staff for any external professional training
  • An organization-wide strong commitment to personal and professional goal-setting and support through an annual retreat (each Jan/Feb), annual review process, and culture of ongoing feedback and growth

Working Environment:

We expect that the Program Director will live in or near Western Whatcom County with easy access to the Bellingham office in the Lettered Streets Neighborhood. The position will involve a mix of computer-based work, staff meetings, in-field supervision, in-person stakeholder meetings, and community meetings. We offer a flexible work environment that includes a regular presence in our open floor-plan office and several days working remotely. Wild Whatcom runs year-round programs every day of the week. Therefore, this position may include evening and weekend work as well as on-call responsibilities outside of a Monday-Friday, 9AM-5PM schedule.  We value a healthy work-life balance and work with employees to create schedules that are both flexible and accommodate a reasonable workload.

How To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information for two references to PDjob@wildwhatcom.org with “Your Name, Program Director Application” in the subject line. All materials should be sent as one attachment in PDF (.pdf) format. Direct any questions to the Wild Whatcom Hiring Team at  PDjob@wildwhatcom.org.

*Priority application deadline is June 12. Position to remain open until filled. *

Before actual hire, prospective employees must pass a thorough background check. If any concerns arise, we will review them with the candidate and evaluate potential implications within a broader context and relevance to the position.

About Wild Whatcom

Wild Whatcom fosters lifelong connections to nature. We do this in order to promote the health and well-being of young people in our community and to support our community in raising a generation of environmental stewards who care about each other and the planet.

More and more research points to what we know intuitively—nature promotes healthy bodies and minds. However, across the country, children are increasingly spending time indoors, disconnected from their natural environments and communities. Wild Whatcom aims to provide a positive antidote and fun alternative.

Studies have shown that children who participate in outdoor programs have:

  • Stronger self-esteem and sense of purpose
  • Improved focus and more positive attitudes
  • Increased physical activity and confidence
  • Deeper commitments to environmental stewardship

We are also living through a time where we face daunting ecological and social challenges. Many of us find hope in young people working to make a positive difference in the world. Wild Whatcom aims to support the development of engaged youth who value nature, understand social responsibility, and lead collaboratively—a generation of environmental and social change-makers.