Ecosystem Steward and Education Assistant

Expected Dates
January 14, 2020 to November 10, 2020
Site
Minnewaska State Park Preserve NYS OPRHP
Position ID
PO-00728876
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 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 Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Minnewaska 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 Minnewaska 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 Minnewaska State Park Preserve, annually, represent an ethnically and economically diverse group. The fees at Minnewaska are 300 percent less for educational programming and 400 percent less for recreation programming compared to the closest environmental education program.
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 recreation and biological impacts have the potential to significantly alter the landscape and threaten the rich bio-diversity found in the Northern Shawangunks.  In order to keep this landscape intact, and also offer world class recreation experiences to a growing audience, Minnewaska 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, mountain spleenwort mapping, and photo point projects. 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 S.C.A. 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, Minnewaska 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. The Minnewaska park 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 invasive species management as well as 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: bird surveys, revegetation monitoring, mountain spleenwort surveys, and photo point projects.
            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):

List any specific qualifications for AmeriCorps member (i.e. must be of a certain age):
  • Valid Driver’s License for three years prior to start date 
  • Ability to pass a background check
  • BA/BS in related field preferred
  • Experience delivering environmental education programs
  • Experience in field data collection
  • Experience in trail maintenance and restoration 


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

Training:
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.
  • Game of Logging 1 or equivalent chainsaw training
  • GIS, GPS


Benefits:
All Hudson Valley Corps members receive a taxable $200/week living allowance
Upon successful completion of the term, members receive a taxable Full-time 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

Training Opportunities:
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.

 

  • No
Main Area of Focus
Education and Interpretation
Education, Training & Skills Expected
Education
some coursework or experience
Forestry
some coursework or experience
Earth Sciences
some coursework or experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience
Field Research
some experience
GPS
some experience
Plant Identification
some experience
Public Speaking
some experience
Trail Maintenance
some experience
Working with Children
competent without supervision