Ecosystem Steward & Education Assistant

Expected Dates
January 22, 2018 to November 16, 2018
Site
Minnewaska State Park Preserve NYS OPRHP
Position ID
PO-00724370
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.
 
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.
 
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, and vernal pool monitoring.
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, 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, vernal pool surveys, Visitor Experience and resource Protection (VERP) surveys.
 
            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
  • Ability to pass a background check
  • BA/BS in related field preferred
  • Experience in field data collection
  • Experience in trail maintenance and restoration 

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 and EITHER housing provided OR a taxable $550/month housing allowance for positions north of NYC metro area OR $750/month housing allowance for positions in NYC metro area.
  • 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

Training Opportunities:
All Hudson Valley Corps members receive Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Hudson River Citizen Science curricula, Trail Skills, Project WET, Project WILD and Project Learning Tree curricula, and professional development. Optional trainings include Leave No Trace, American Canoe Association Level 1, and other opportunities that arise. 

  • No
Main Area of Focus
Natural Resources Mgmt
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