Ecosystem Steward & Educator

Expected Dates
June 15, 2017 to November 15, 2017
Minnewaska State Park Preserve NYS OPRHP
Position ID
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. 
Organization/Agency Mission and/or Goals:  
The mission of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is to provide safe and enjoyable recreational and interpretive opportunities for all New York residents and visitors and to be responsible stewards of our natural, historic and cultural resources          
Program Mission and/or Goals:
The member will support education and stewardship activities at the Minnewaska State Park Preserve. The member will assist staff educators and land stewards/rangers with providing education programming to the general public, and assist the Minnewaska staff to deliver and implement land management activities to include mitigating visitor use impacts, provide invasive species control, deer management, and fire management.
Community Need:
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.
As an article 20 Park preserve, Minnewaska uses science to guide management decisions. The participation of the member will enable Minnewaska to add 20 percent FTE staff time in education, and 60 percent FTE staff time in stewardship/conservation science during the member’s term. This will have a dramatic force multiplier effect on productivity for the Minnewaska area.
Member Position Summary:
60% of the member effort will be devoted to working on visitor and ecosystem management, including invasive species management, prescribed fire, deer management, trail impact mitigation and assisting other Park Preserve staff in resurveying ecological baseline data.
20% 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 on the land and at the nature/visitor centers.
20% 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.
Necessary Training or Training Plan to be implemented prior to Member Placement:
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:
  • S130/190 fire training
  • Game of Logging 1 or equivalent chainsaw  training
  • GIS, GPS

Essential Functions of Position:

  • Ability to interpret and identify keystone flora, fauna, geology, and cultural history of area
  • Ability to lead public and school groups safely, while interpreting above
  • Assist staff in managing impacts on property from invasive species, decreased fire regime, deer herbivory, and human activity
  • Assist staff in gathering data to test efficacy of management.
  • Work with and coordinate volunteer efforts to help manage impacts  
  • Completion of AmeriCorps reporting requirements including bi-weekly timesheets, monthly reports, pre/post tests for any education provided, evaluations at the beginning, mid-point, and end of term. 

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Skills developed through experience and or training in performing physical land management activities, trail building/repairing, removal of invasive species, fire management
  • Field experience in data collection and ability to use GPS/GIS to track activities performed
  • Experience navigating and traveling in remote areas
  • Experience and or training in outdoor, environmental or experiential education
  • Computer skills including word and excel and GIS
  • Communications skills- both written and spoken
  • Focused self-motivated individual, able to work both independently and as a team member
  • Members must be at least 17 years of age at the commencement of service. Members must be a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States; and must Satisfy the National Service Criminal History Check eligibility criteria pursuant to 45 CFR 2540.202.

Required Academic and Experience Qualifications:

  • BA/BS in related field preferred
  • Experience in field data collection
  • Experience in fire, and deer management
  • Experience in trail maintenance and restoration 
  • 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.  
  • Members will receive AmeriCorps orientation that includes training on prohibited and unallowable activities, an orientation that covers risk management, reporting requirements, and a benefits overview, and Wilderness First Aid and CPR training.
  • SCA offers all Hudson Valley Corps members Wilderness First Aid & CPR certification, Hudson River Citizen Science curricula, Trail Skills, Project WET, Project WILD and Project Learning Tree curricula. Optional trainings include Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics, American Canoe Association Level 1 Canoe, Environmental Leadership Institute, and other opportunities which may arise.
  • No
Main Area of Focus
Education and Interpretation
Education, Training & Skills Expected
some coursework or experience
some coursework or experience
Earth Sciences
some coursework or experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience
Field Research
some experience
some experience
Plant Identification
some experience
Public Speaking
some experience
Trail Maintenance
some experience
Working with Children
competent without supervision