Ecosystem Steward and Education Assistant (PO-00736133)

This position requires that you become enrolled in AmeriCorps.  If you are selected for this program please be sure to accept AmeriCorps during the SCA offer process. No travel allowance will be offered for this position even if it is stated on your confirmation of acceptance.
Due to Covid-19, events and trainings are subject to change in response to an increase in the number of cases in the Hudson Valley region. Such changes include, but are not limited to: trainings being held remotely, requesting symptomatic members to stay home from events, and asking members to test prior to Corps gatherings.

SCA Hudson Valley AmeriCorps partners with State and non-profit agencies to address the conservation needs of the Hudson River Watershed region. Corps members are placed at individual host sites, where service activities range from providing environmental education to underserved youth, to restoring streambanks along the Hudson River, and beyond. Members join together regularly for trainings, service projects, or other events.

This position is located at the Sam's Point Area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Cragsmoor, New York.

Purpose of the Program:
The member will support stewardship and education activities at the Sam’s Point Area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Sam’s Point contains the globally unique high-altitude dwarf pitch pine barrens and a host of scenic and recreational resources that are popular with park patrons. The member will assist the Sam’s Point staff to implement land management activities to include mitigating visitor use impacts, provide invasive species control, continue and create ecological monitoring projects, and assist staff educators and land stewards/rangers with providing education programming.
Community Needs that the Program Serves:

The approximately 310 thousand visitors who visit the entire Minnewaska State Park Preserve annually, represent an ethnically and economically diverse group. Sam’s Point Area typically gets around 80 thousand visitors alone. Striking a balance between recreation and preservation happens best when negative impacts to the Park Preserve are addressed with timely and informed responses. Trail overuse/erosion, introduction and spread of invasive species, deer over browse and other recreational and biological impacts have the potential to significantly alter the landscape and threaten the rich biodiversity found in the Northern Shawangunks.  In order to keep this landscape intact and offer world class recreation experiences to a growing audience, Sam’s Point Preserve needs to identify impacts and prioritize mitigation efforts to ensure that the negative impacts do not cause a degradation of the natural experience, available to park patrons.
Values and Standards of the Program:
SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land. 

AmeriCorps Member Duties and Responsibilities:

60% of the member’s effort will be devoted to working on visitor and ecosystem management, including invasive species management, trail impact mitigation, and assisting other Park Preserve staff in resurveying various ecological monitoring projects such as, bird surveys, revegetation monitoring, snake population monitoring, cliff and talus monitoring, rare plant/animal surveying, and invasive mapping. Volunteer recruitment and coordination will be involved with stewardship tasks.

25% of the member’s effort will be devoted to assisting in the delivery of education programming to school groups and visitors and providing informal interpretation to patrons at the nature/visitor centers as well as at popular trailheads and destinations.

15% of the member’s effort will be expected to be spent in SCA region wide conferences and trainings, leading to a benefit in personal and professional development for the member.
How the AmeriCorps Member’s Role Aligns with the Organization:

As an article 20 Park preserve, Sam’s Point Area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve uses science to guide management decisions. The participation of the member will enable Minnewaska to add 60 percent FTE staff time in stewardship/conservation science, and 25 percent FTE staff time in education during the member’s term. This will have a dramatic force multiplier effect on productivity for the Minnewaska area. Sam’s Point Preserve seeks to improve its ability to mitigate impacts on its property. The member’s effort will ensure that this important effort is accomplished. The member’s efforts will result in the park preserve being able to enhance, and further protect the globally unique ecosystem area of its jurisdiction.  

Performance Goals for the AmeriCorps Member:
            Goal 1:
Enhance and further protect the ecological resources of the park preserve through stewardship efforts such as trail impact mitigation and volunteer workdays. Recruiting and coordinating volunteers to further assist with these efforts

            Goal 2: Continue research, monitoring, and survey projects. This includes following project protocols for accurate data collection, organizing, compiling, and analyzing data, and presenting results. Projects include but are not limited to: snake population monitoring, bird surveys, revegetation monitoring, cliff and talus monitoring, rare plant/animal surveying, and invasive mapping.
             Goal 3:
Assist park staff and the Education and Stewardship Assistant Intern with presenting a variety of education related programs and events including environmental education for school groups, recreation and environmental education programs for the public, and informal interpretation at popular locations throughout the park.

List any specific qualifications for AmeriCorps member (i.e. must be of a certain age):

  • Valid Driver’s License for 3+ years
  • Ability to pass a background check
  • BA/BS in related field preferred
  • Experience in field data collection
  • Experience in trail maintenance and restoration 

Skills/Knowledge/Training Necessary to be a successful AmeriCorps Member in this position:

• Communications skills- both written and verbal
• Field experience in data collection
• Skills developed through experience and or training in performing physical land management activities, trail building/repairing, removal of invasive species, basic carpentry skills
• Ability to use GPS to track activities performed
•Experience navigating and traveling in remote areas
• Volunteer recruitment and coordination
• Experience providing informal interpretation and/or environmental education programming
• Education program development
• Focused self-motivated individual, able to work both independently and as a team member
• Computer skills including Word and Excel


• Ability to interpret the natural and cultural history of the area
• Ability to identify local flora
• Ability to identify local fauna including birds
• Familiarity with Phenology Monitoring, Project FeederWatch, or other Citizen Science projects
• Ability to analyze data and interpret results

The selected member will have an opportunity to learn many of the skills by direct involvement and mentoring with experienced staff. The following training would be useful to obtain, either before, or during the term:

  • First Aid
  • C.P.R.
  • GIS, GPS


Amount of the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award being offered for successful completion of the member’s term of service: $6,495

Amount of living allowance member will receive:

$350/week living allowance

$1,000/month housing allowance upstate

$1,100/month housing allowance in NYC


Healthcare coverage (if applicable): 

Eligible for free health insurance


Childcare coverage (if applicable): 

Eligible for childcare assistance through AmeriCorps


Student loan forbearance and interest payments, (if the member qualifies): Eligible for Federal Student Loan forbearance and interest payment deferment through AmeriCorps for qualifying student loans.

Training Opportunities:

All Hudson Valley Corps members receive Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Environmental Leadership Institute, Hudson River Citizen Science curricula, Trail Skills, Project WILD curricula, and professional development. Optional trainings include Leave No Trace, Mental Health First Aid, and other opportunities that arise.

Position ID: PO-00736133

Expected Dates: January 22, 2024 - November 18, 2024

PO Box 86
Cragsmoor, NY 12420

Handicap Accessible?: No

Main Area of Focus: Education and Interpretation

Further Details

AmeriCorps Eligible: Eligible

Driving Logistics: Required

A personal vehicle is required for travel between housing and the park, to access amenities such as grocery stores, libraries, etc. as well as travel to Hudson Valley Corps trainings and events.

Housing or Stipend Provided?
C.Partner will pay the SCA to provide housing allowance for the member.

It is the member's responsibilty to find suitable housing in the area.

Indoor/Outdoor: Combination

US Citizenship: Yes

Student Conservation Association