Conservation Steward

Expected Dates
January 20, 2022 to November 17, 2022
Site
Thousand Islands Regional Parks, NYS OPRHP
Position ID
PO-00732581
Conditions of Employment Required to demonstrate full vaccination status for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) with a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized or FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine; OR Receive from SCA a reasonable accommodation granting an exemption from vaccine requirements based on a medical disability or because of a sincerely held religious belief. Additional information and instructions regarding how to request a reasonable accommodation will be provided at the time of selection.

SCA and New York State Parks seek enthusiastic conservationists to provide critical environmental education and stewardship for State Parks in the Allegany, Finger Lakes, Central, Niagara, and Thousand Islands regions of New York State. Members share housing in groups of 3-5 members per location. Service activities range from providing environmental education and interpretation, to trail restoration, wildlife management, and organizing volunteer events. (**See Covid caveat below for potential exceptions to 2022 events) All 21 Parks Corps members will join together regularly in Central NY for SCA trainings that include Wilderness First Aid Certification, CPR, Leave No Trace Trainer, and other professional development opportunities as they arise. Members serving in a stewardship role will also receive Game of Logging Chainsaw Certification, while members serving in an education role will receive Project Learning Tree and/or Certified Interpretive Guide. The mission of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is to provide safe and enjoyable recreational and interpretive opportunities for all New York State residents and visitors and to be responsible stewards of our valuable natural, historic and cultural resources. NYS Parks Corps members serve under the direction of regional Parks staff to assist in accomplishing this mission.  

** Due to Covid-19, events and trainings are subject to change in response to an increase in the number of cases in the state of NY. Specific duties aligned with this position may also be subject to change. Such changes include, but are not limited to: trainings being eliminated or held remotely, elimination of large-scale gatherings, reduction of education programs, and a transition to teleworking.

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
.

SCA NYS Parks Corps Overview: The SCA New York State Parks Corps covers five regions of New York State: Allegany, Central, Finger Lakes, Niagara, and Thousand Islands. Corps members are placed at one of these host sites and serve at the state parks in their region. Service activities range from providing environmental education and interpretation, to trail restoration and volunteer initiatives. Members join together regularly for trainings, service projects, or other community events.  The mission of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is to provide safe and enjoyable recreational and interpretive opportunities for all New York State residents and visitors and to be responsible stewards of our valuable natural, historic and cultural resources.

Purpose of the Program:  The Thousand Islands is a favorite place of many visitors during warm months, and its State Parks have a need to construct/maintain sustainable trails, contain the spread of invasive species, and complete other conservation projects. Due to the highly seasonal nature of the area, these parks struggle to fit these types of projects into a work schedule already filled with routine park operations. Members of this crew serve to fill that gap and ensure the public lands alone Eastern Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River, and Northern Lake Champlain can continue to be enjoyed for generations.

Community Needs that the Program Serves:  A highly seasonal population means that most park workers are busy with park operations from Memorial Day to Labor Day; and are not employed outside of that window. An SCA crew fills this gap and provides critical environmentally-minded skills toward trails, recreation, plant diversity and other stewardship projects otherwise considered not feasible without their help.

AmeriCorps Member Duties and Responsibilities:

This team of four members live and work together, engaging in service consistent with the mission and guiding principles of NYS OPRHP. The focus areas are trail construction and maintenance, invasive plant species management, habitat restoration, hazard tree mitigation, and outdoor structure building. Examples of work and responsibilities include:
  • Spend 5-day (Monday-Friday) hitches working and camping at various parks throughout the region, returning to shared apartment for days off. Occasional 6-day work week or weekend work required for special events.
    • Shared gear is available such as tents, propane, cookware, soap, trash bags, firewood, ice, cooler, bins.
  • Learn and apply the principles of sustainable trail design, the skills to construct and maintain trails, and the importance of trail development as a resource management tool in sensitive areas.
    • ​​​​​​​i.e. trail bridges, boardwalks, bog bridges, re-routes, new trail creation, stairs, and stone work.
  • Learn and apply chainsaw safety techniques for felling, bucking, and limbing of small-to-large trees.
    • ​​​​​​​i.e. hazard and downed tree removal, rustic timber harvesting, woody invasives cutting.
  • Learn the harmful effects of invasive plant and insect species, proper local identification, and the challenges involved with removing them.
    • ​​​​​​​i.e. swallow-wort, phragmites, buckthorn, honeysuckle, water-milfoil, water chestnut.
  • Learn GIS mapping techniques and collect data for trails and stewardship projects.
    • ​​​​​​​Introduction to data manipulation on ArcMap available if desired.
  • Learn navigation along the St. Lawrence River and safely operate an open bow outboard boat to and from remote island Parks.
    • ​​​​​​​Opportunity to learn safe trailer use on roads and launching/collection of boats.
  • All SCA Parks Corps members are required to attend monthly SCA events and complete SCA/Americorps paperwork and reporting. This will account for roughly 15% of your time.

Performance Goals:
Goal 1: To feel confident leading a group of peers in varying weather conditions, project scopes, staff support, supervision, etc.

Goal 2: To gain arborist and carpentry skills applicable to trails, recreation, and public hazards (within training level provided), through the proper use and maintenance of mid-size chainsaws.
Goal 3: To learn and apply principles and skills of sustainable trail design, construction, and maintenance.
Goal 4: To learn the negative effects of and the management challenges posed by invasive plant and insect species, applying knowledge to hands-on projects.

Candidate Qualifications:

  • Ability to walk several miles a day.
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds at carrying level and low to the ground.
  • Experience camping in a tent for at least two days.
  • Self-motivation to accomplish goals each work day without a supervisor present.
  • Positive attitude towards working in a group setting with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Valid driver’s license for at least 3 years in order to drive state vehicles.
  • Be an out-of-school youth 16 years of age at the commencement of service participating in a program described in §2522.110(b)(3) or (g);
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent; or
  • Not have dropped out of elementary or secondary school to enroll as an AmeriCorps participant and must agree to obtain a high school diploma or its equivalent prior to using the education award; or
  • Obtain a waiver from the Corporation of the requirements in paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (a)(2)(ii) of this section based on an independent evaluation secured by the program demonstrating that the individual is not capable of obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent; or
  • Be enrolled in an institution of higher education on an ability to benefit basis and be considered eligible for funds under section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1091);
  • Be a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States;
  • Satisfy the National Service Criminal History Check eligibility criteria pursuant to 45 CFR 2540.202.

Benefits:

  • All NYS Parks Corps members receive a taxable $200/week living allowance and housing provided 
  • Upon successful completion of the term, members receive a taxable Segal Education Award through AmeriCorps
  • Student loan forbearance and interest repayments for federal student loan through AmeriCorps
  • Eligible for free health insurance
  • Eligible for childcare assistance through AmeriCorps


Trainings to be included by NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation:

  • 4x4 Gator UTV Training
  • NYS Boater’s Safety
  • Professional Development Workshops
  • Conservation Job Site Skills Building
  • IMap Invasives, ArcGIS, and Avenza Maps


*Please ignore fit rating/eligibility notes related to this position. All applications received by the deadline will be reviewed.
 

  • No
Main Area of Focus
Backcountry/Trail work
Education, Training & Skills Expected
Forestry
some coursework or experience
Ecology & Restoration
some coursework or experience
Recreation Management
some coursework or experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience
Chain Saw Skills
some experience
Data Entry
some experience
Hand Tools
competent with supervision
Trail Maintenance
competent with supervision