Mark C. Ackelson Fellowship

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is looking for a dedicated professional to work with us on a temporary basis as the Mark C. Ackelson Fellow. This Fellow will work to inform state public policy and funding decisions that enhance natural resource protection and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is a statewide conservation nonprofit that works with private landowners and public agencies to protect and restore Iowa’s land, water, and wildlife. For over 44 years, INHF has worked with individuals and communities to protect land of special significance and create public parks, trails, and wildlife areas throughout the state.

Fellowship Opportunities: The Fellowship is a learning opportunity to work with some of Iowa’s leading natural resource conservation professionals, including a variety of INHF staff, state departments, coalitions, state legislators and local leaders. The Ackelson Fellow will gain a thorough understanding of the legislative process, natural resource issues and policy, and experience in lobbying and grassroots advocacy.

Responsibilities: The Fellow will work with staff to advocate for conservation and natural resources throughout the Iowa legislative session. The Fellow will report to INHF’s Public Policy Director & Counsel, and work closely with the INHF President, Communications Director and other INHF staff. They will assist in informing legislators about INHF’s work and position on various legislative proposals, researching bills throughout the state legislative session, coordinating joint efforts with coalition partners, and drafting educational and advocacy materials.

Skills Required: The Fellow must have strong networking and communications skills, an interest in Iowa’s natural resources, sustainable agriculture, multi-use trail system, and/or public policy; possess the ability to work independently; act with high integrity and professionalism; be detail oriented; ability to adapt to a rapidly changing environment; be proficient in the use of Microsoft Office program; and be willing to work nights and weekends on occasion. Entry-level applicants are encouraged to apply.

Work Environment: This is a non-exempt, temporary full-time fellowship, approximately 30-40 hours per week, Monday-Friday, with occasional work in the evening and weekends. This is an in-person position based out of INHF’s Des Moines office. The position may include travel within the state and some flexibility for occasional remote work. This job operates in a professional office environment and routinely visits public offices and buildings. The Fellowship will be active between December 2023 and April 2024, with some flexibility in start/end dates. Hourly wage starts at $23/hour based on experience, with reimbursement for travel expenses. Benefits are not included in this temporary position.

To apply: Deadline- December 20, 2023

Please send cover letter, resume, and references to Kari Walker, INHF Human Resources Director, at Questions can be directed to Public Policy Director and Counsel Anna Gray (she/her) at

About the Mark C. Ackelson Fellowship

This fellowship was endowed at the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to honor Mark C. Ackelson, who devoted his career to protecting and restoring Iowa’s land, water and wildlife. Mark served as INHF President for 18 years, and he provided strong leadership roles for Iowa conservation coalitions plus national organizations that promote conservation and trails.

This fellowship is intended to help launch the careers of future conservation leaders. Fellows work alongside INHF’s professional staff and partners on a select project for a limited time. The focus of the Ackelson Fellowship will likely vary from year to year, as urgent or unusual opportunities present themselves.