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 under served youth, to restoring stream banks along the Hudson River, and beyond. Members join together regularly for trainings, service projects, or other events.
Purpose of the Program:
NYSDEC’s mission is to conserve, improve and protect New York's natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being. The mission of the NYSDEC’s Region 2 Bureau of Environmental Education program is to engage the people of New York City with the area’s local natural resources through programs that raise ecological awareness, promote outdoor recreation, and inspire environmental stewardship.
Community Needs that the Program Serves:
The youth participating in the NYSDEC Region 2’s After-School Conservation Club generally reflect the demographics of the children attending a NYC public school during the 2022-2023 school year. Over 85% of public-school youth belong to a BIPOC racial or ethnic group, with 41% identifying as Hispanic and 23% as black. Citywide, the student population is made up of children who are English language learners (14%); have a disability (20%); or qualify for free or reduced-price lunch or are eligible for city-provided benefits (72%).
Many of these demographic characteristics tend to be predictors of creating barriers or limiting access to nature or outdoor experiences. To counter these headwinds, we use youth’s innate love of nature, whether it’s of ocean giants, roaming herds on the savannah, or minute bugs, to make a connection to the nature that surrounds NYC. For many this nature is unknown, even though it’s in the neighborhoods that weave across the city’s landscape. Participation in our Conservation Club program has helped to connect youth to the nature of NYC. Based on comparison of paired pre- and post-tests of 150 Conservation Club participants from the 2018-2019 school year, 54% listed more wild NYC plants or animals in their post-test when asked to list five plants or animals that live in NYC. Additionally, these same youth reported that for the first time 40% cast a fishing pole, 27% went on a bird walk, and 48% set up a camping tent.
While not measured directly with our audiences, research shows that playing in nature improves mental and physical health and increases emotional well-being. Outside play also helps reduce stress in children, have more active imaginations, strengthen their immune systems, and have more respect for themselves and others.
Values and Standards of the Program: 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:
Members will provide the primary support for the After-School Conservation Club (ASCC) and Summer Outdoor Explorers (SOE) programs (60%). For the ASCC program, members will deliver one-hour lessons to groups of 20 third, fourth, and/or fifth graders during the afternoon at an off-site NYC after-school programs operated by a community-based organization (ex. YMCA or Boys and Girls Club). Members will meet with the same one or two groups on a weekly basis (ex. Mondays at after-school A, Tuesdays at after-school B, etc.) for about 15 weeks in the spring and about 10 weeks in the fall. Members will be given latitude to deliver lessons tailored to the interest of their groups. The SOE program follows the same structure as the ASCC program expect lessons are delivered outdoors at local parks during morning or afternoon sessions over the course of 4-6 weeks. Members will support the regional educators with the delivery of other school and community programs, professional development workshops, and public outreach programs (10%). Members will develop and deliver lessons for the audiences listed above (10%). Members will spend one or two weeks at a DEC sleepaway camp and interact with and educate up to 45 youth, including campers from the DEC’s NYC Camps Diversity Program (5%). Members will complete mandatory SCA and DEC trainings and other professional development (15%).
Please note that an increase in the incidence of COVID cases or other related factors may impact how educational programs are delivered. Thus, the duties and responsibilities of members may change from those listed above. COVID risk is regularly assessed to determine if risk reduction protocols need to be modified. These include wearing masks, social distancing, disinfecting materials, delivering lessons outdoors, and/or delivering lessons remotely.
How the AmeriCorps Member’s Role Aligns with the Organization:
Members will have a direct role in fulfilling the education unit’s mission of connecting the people of New York City to the outdoors. All programs led by members aim to raise ecological awareness, promote outdoor recreation, and/or inspire environmental stewardship.
Performance Goals for the AmeriCorps Member:
Goal 1: Deliver environmental education lessons to audiences that raise ecological awareness, promote outdoor recreation, and/or inspire environmental stewardship. Members will modify procedures from written curricula to meet the needs of each audience as well as implement group management strategies that maximize engagement.
Goal 2: Develop, deliver, and refine new environmental education lessons. Members will minimally develop five lessons that focus on environmental topics of their choosing. Members will demonstrate the ability to develop engaging, age-appropriate lessons and to self-evaluate their instruction to refine their lesson’s procedures and meet its objectives.
Goal 3: Develop and complete at least three professional goals tied to environmental education and/or stewardship. Members will meet with supervisors at least once a month to develop, assess, and guide their progress. Past members’ goals have focused on developing skills (ex. plant and bird identification, classroom management) and knowledge (ex. culturally responsive teaching) as well as gaining specific experience (ex. developing and delivering a professional development workshop for pre-service classroom teachers).
· Valid driver license held for a minimum for 3 years with a clean driving record for operation of a DEC vehicle (beneficial, but not required to apply)
· Ability to pass a federal background check and a motor vehicle background check
- Willing and able to travel via public transportation at least four days per week to off-site locations throughout New York City with a bag of educational supplies.
- Comply with DEC’s COVID policies as well as those from federal, state, and local authorities.
- Completion of fingerprinting, background check, and medical clearance when required by partner organizations. This is separate from the SCA/AmeriCorps background check.
- Enthusiasm for the outdoors and nature
- Ability to work in a team setting
- Ability to work independently on select projects
- Ability to deliver lessons outdoors in various weather conditions
- Fluency in Spanish or Chinese (beneficial, but not required to apply)
- Valid driver license held for a minimum for 3 years with a clean driving record for operation of a DEC vehicle (beneficial, but not required to apply)
- College degree, experience, and/or passion for education, ecology, science, or related ﬁelds
Amount of the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award being offered for successful completion of the member’s term of service: $6,895
Amount of living allowance member will receive:
$350/week living allowance
$1,000/month housing allowance upstate
$1,100/month housing allowance in NYC
Provision of unlimited monthly OMNY for local subway and buses
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.
All Hudson Valley Corps members receive Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Hudson River Citizen Science curricula, Trail Skills, Project WILD curricula, and professional development. Optional trainings include Leave No Trace, American Canoe Association Quick Start Your Canoe, and other opportunities that arise.
Position ID: PO-00736121
Expected Dates: January 22, 2024 - December 16, 2024
c/o Andrew Snyder NYS DEC
47-40 21st Street
Long Island City, NY 11101-5407
Handicap Accessible?: No
Main Area of Focus: Education and Interpretation
AmeriCorps Eligible: Eligible
Driving Logistics: Not needed
Housing or Stipend Provided?
C.Partner will pay the SCA to provide housing allowance for the member.
It will be the member's responsibility to secure their own housing. Housing allowance provided.
US Citizenship: Yes