Community Engagement and Education Specialist (Local Only- Chicago Region) (PO-00735542)

Come help connect communities with the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, the only national tallgrass prairie managed by the USDA Forest Service and a hidden gem in the greater Chicago area! Midewin is one of the largest open spaces in the six-county Chicago metropolitan area, approximately 18,250 acres in northeastern Illinois. It was established in 1996 by Congress to: manage the land and water resources to conserve and enhance native populations and habitats of fish, wildlife, and plants; provide opportunities for scientific, environmental, and land use education and research; to allow continued agricultural use under certain conditions; and to provide a variety of recreation opportunities. Midewin operates in a uniquely integrated manner with a wide range of partners.

You will play an important role in increasing awareness about the Midewin and the various benefits it provides to communities near and far. The Midewin offers a unique experience to visitors with its prairie ecosystems, bison herd, and rich cultural history. This position will work to increase awareness of Midewin by connecting with local communities, engaging with current and potential stakeholders, and outreaching to urban populations in the Chicago area. The intent is to not only grow visitation to the Midewin but also expand and strengthen partnerships. 

Duties include:

  • Planning and staffing community engagement events and activities in nearby communities as well as the Chicago area (50%).
  • Supporting the development of a strategy for outreaching to and engaging with new audiences, working with and supporting the needs of the Outreach and Engagement Stakeholder Working Group (30%).
  • Supporting development of outreach and communications materials and other resources (20%).

The intern’s program of work will be directed by the Midwin’s Partnership Coordinator. They will also be working closely with others involved with community engagement, including the Midewin Prairie Program Coordinator, Public Affairs Officer, others on the Public Services team, and the regional Urban Connections Program Manager. 

The intern will work 40 hours per week for a six-month period, though there may be some flexibility around schedule. Work will include some evenings and weekends to support community engagement events. The intern may work remotely from a home office, with regular travel to the Midewin expected, as well as to different communities for engagement activities and events, including those in Chicago. Conditions will include working outside in various weather conditions and long periods of standing during community engagement events. 

This position is ideal for outgoing individuals or those looking to obtain the skills needed for a career in community outreach, education, and engagement. We are looking for a creative, detail-oriented, and self-motivated individual who is passionate about connecting youth and families with nature and their public lands. The ability to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences is critical. Previous experience working with the public, especially youth, is a plus!

Compensation Details:
– $660/week* Living Allowance
– Elgible for the Public Land Corps (PLC) Hiring Authority (640hrs minium hour requirement)
– Eligible for AmeriCorps Education Award of $3,447.50, received upon sucessful completion of position. 

*All allowances are subject to applicable federal, state, and local taxes. 

Please note this position does not offer housing. 

*For SCA's COVID-19 guidance, please refer to  

SCA 1957

Position ID: PO-00735542

Expected Dates: August 7, 2023 - February 4, 2024

30239 S.State Route 53
Wilmington, IL 60481

Training Provided: General Forest Service new employee safety and training will be given. Partnership training and community engagement webinars will be offered.

Educational/Recreational Opportunities: The Midewin and other local parks offer several opportunities for recreating (e.g., hiking, biking, birding, fishing). There are opportunities to learn about the area's rich natural and cultural history, as well as on-going prairie restoration projects.

Handicap Accessible?: Yes

Main Area of Focus: Education and Interpretation

Further Details

AmeriCorps Eligible: Eligible

Driving Logistics: Required

The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is not accessible by public transportation. In addition, there will be a need for the intern to independently travel to community engagement events, and bring event materials to those events.

Housing or Stipend Provided?
D. No housing is available

Indoor/Outdoor: Combination

US Citizenship: Yes

Student Conservation Association