PR & Communications Associate


Openlands, a leading environmental conservation organization in the metropolitan region, has a full-time PR and communications opportunity to join our team working to protect, restore, and create access to nature for all.

The ideal candidate will be curious and interested in environmental, conservation, and social issues of the day, reads widely, and collaborates effectively and efficiently to often meet time-sensitive deadlines – and is always ready to offer fresh ideas. Traits that we value highly: clear thinking and clear writing, multi-tasking, and collegiality. Among other things, communications team members should understand the latest environmental research and policy issues and translate them for media outreach. We often need to respond quickly to breaking news, so agility is highly valued. The position is hybrid.

Essential Functions:

  • Perform detailed research/analysis on Openlands programs, initiatives, and issues
  • Create and contribute to content and story ideas for press pitches and releases
  • Assist in coordinating press interviews, fielding press outreach to ensure strong press relationships
  • Build and maintain media lists for Openlands as an organization and its various program areas
  • Develop and pitch stories to local and national media
  • Help create messaging campaigns and communications strategies
  • Compile and manage Openlands mentions and media coverage digitally and in print
  • Help manage Openlands press information on the website and with our audiences
  • Contribute to the communications annual content + editorial calendar with press and strategic communications-related deadlines
  • Read and curate daily press clippings, highlighting stories that can be used to communicate Openlands’ message externally
  • With direction from the Director of Communications, write and edit print communications, specifically the Openlander newsletter (biannual) and Annual Reports (annually) in addition to any other strategic materials.
  • Other duties as assigned

Knowledge and Skills:

  • Excellent written, oral communication, and interpersonal skills
  • Strong skills in copyediting
  • Research and competitive analysis skills
  • Experience creating and writing articles and strategic ideas and programs
  • Strong organizational skills, fastidious attention to detail and follow through
  • High level of interest, sophistication, and curiosity in public and social issues
  • Several years of relevant experience or previous internship are highly valued
  • Ability to speak, write, and read Spanish is highly valued


Salary range is $43,000 – $46,000. Benefits include health, life, and disability coverage, a 403(b)-retirement plan, paid holidays, and vacation time.

Vaccination Statement:

To protect our staff and community, Openlands requires all employees to be fully vaccinated upon hire or may request a medical/religious exemption if extended and offer.

To Apply:

This position is open until filled. Interested applicants should send a resume, writing sample (press release or the like appreciated), and cover letter explaining why your skills and experience would complement this position to JobApps@Openlands.org. Please include “PR and Communications Associate” in the subject line. Please note that applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

Work Environment:

This position offers a hybrid work schedule with a combination of remote and work in our downtown Chicago office which is ADA accessible. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, and scanners. The employee is regularly required to talk, hear, see, and communicate effectively via computer. This role requires manual labor- standing, bending, crouching, lifting. Openlands is a smoke- and drug-free environment.

Openlands is an equal opportunity employer and seeks to employ qualified individuals based on individual merit. Openlands does not discriminate against any individual with respect to the terms and conditions of employment based on that individual’s race, sex, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, housing status, or any other non-merit factor protected under state, local or federal laws. Equal Employment Opportunity applies to all personnel actions such as recruiting, hiring, compensation, benefits, promotions, training, transfer, termination, and opportunities for training. Openlands is committed to a fair and equitable workplace where everyone is a respected and valued member of the team.

About Openlands:

Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives. Openlands’ vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities. In sum, Openlands believes that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.