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Catawba Lands Conservancy

Organization Description

The mission of the Catawba Lands Conservancy (CLC), a nonprofit land conservation organization, is to permanently protect land and connect lives to nature in the southern piedmont area of the Carolinas. We focus our efforts on projects that will have a positive impact on clean water, wildlife habitats, local farms and the advancement of the Carolina Thread Trail, a project led by CLC. The Carolina Thread Trail is a network of greenways and conservation corridors that will ultimately link 15 counties in North and South Carolina, enhancing the health, environment, economic vitality and quality of life in our region. It is a collaborative project of unprecedented scale. We work with community leaders, local governments and non-profit organizations to help communities plan and implement their segments of the thread.

Essential Job Functions

A critical function of the Carolina Thread Trail is helping communities garner the financial resources required for building their segments of the thread. As a public/private partnership, project funding includes private donations and public investment through local, state and federal sources. To attract the capital needed from private donors and public funding decision makers, we must effectively demonstrate that trails enhance the economic vitality of communities, while delivering health and environmental benefits, as well. The Davidson fellow, working with the Carolina Thread Trail project director, will be responsible for developing methodologies, gathering data and packaging research in a way that makes a compelling economic case for investment in the thread.

Responsibilities and Tasks

  • Research ways in which other trails systems have quantified economic benefits and evaluate how successful these methods have been in attracting capital to the projects
  • Research public policy initiatives that could provide trail funding
  • Based on this research and input from select business and government leaders, develop a methodology for measuring the economic impact of the Carolina Thread Trail in a credible and compelling way - methodologies could include, but not be limited to, interviews of business owners and managers, trail user surveys and analysis of publicly available information on real estate values
  • Conduct research and interviews; lead survey efforts in partnership with volunteers and partner organizations
  • Create materials for presenting findings in useful ways for differing audiences, e.g., a white paper, powerpoint presentation, video clips, etc.
  • Present findings to the Carolina Thread Trail and Catawba Lands Conservancy boards, as well as other relevant audiences
  • Other research projects as needed to support the work of the Catawba Lands Conservancy

Qualifications of a successful candidate

  • Outstanding oral and written communications skills
  • Strong economic and statistical analysis skills
  • Drive to function independently without close supervision
  • Collaborative style
  • Sound judgment and ability to represent our organization professionally and effectively
  • Ability to execute projects and take ownership for outcomes
  • Attention to detail
  • Strong work ethic
  • Strong and proven computer skills including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook