Education and Outreach Assistant

Expected Dates
January 17, 2023 to November 14, 2023
Site
The Environmental Coop at the Vassar Barns
Position ID
PO-00734610

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, elimination of large-scale gatherings, and a reduction of education programs.

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 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 mission of The Environmental Cooperative is to expand and coordinate conservation efforts and to strengthen place-based environmental awareness by inspiring engagement, supporting current efforts, and developing new opportunities for conservation education, outreach, and research.


The Environmental Cooperative is an outreach and education initiative through Vassar College focusing on conservation efforts locally.  The Cooperative works towards engaging the local and Vassar campus community in structured conservation programs including volunteer opportunities, environmental education field trips, guided walks, conservation based workshops and other outreach and education events. Our core programs take place on the Vassar Preserve, 525 acres of open space located in the City and Town of Poughkeepsie, NY (part of Vassar College).  We work closely with the City of Poughkeepsie School district to engage elementary students in science literacy and field trips to the Vassar Preserve.  We also collaborate with other local youth organizations to host place-based educational experiences. Our outreach programs are focused on collaboration with other organizations to facilitate and help conservation initiatives focused around urban/suburban ecology such as Pollinator Pathways, The Fall Kill Watershed Coalition, and the Revive College Hill Park Coalition.  

 

Community Needs that the Program Serves:

The Environmental Cooperative works closely with the City of Poughkeepsie, surrounding communities, and Vassar College to address needs regarding environmental education and public engagement around local conservation efforts. Our core program, Exploring Science, works closely with the City of Poughkeepsie School district to ensure that every 2nd grader in the district has the chance to visit the Vassar Preserve. This helps to focus our programming on historically disadvantaged communities.  However, in a time when electronic devices are a preferred source of entertainment for many, we strive to be inclusive of all groups.  Our primary goal is to get people outside enjoying nature in their local community.  

 

Our programs also offer training for future educators.  Vassar College students teach all our education programs through work-study, course work or volunteering.  Additionally, we help to promote land stewardship in our urban and suburban neighborhoods by supporting pollinator gardens, watershed engagement, and invasive species management programs.

 

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:

  1. Assist the Director of the Environmental Cooperative with all aspects of the development and implementation of “Exploring Science”, an environmental education program that includes in-school, after-school and summer programming.
  2. Lead field trips and programs on the Vassar Preserve and at local schools.
  3. Assist with curriculum development.
  4. Mentor and train Vassar College students to teach Exploring Science
  5. Assist with natural areas stewardship on the Vassar College campus and in the local community through outreach and volunteer programming.
  6. Assist with the promotion and implementation of volunteer events on Vassar’s campus and the Preserve.
  7. Coordinate gardening days and events in collaboration with other local community organizations.
  8. Work with local watershed groups to develop and implement education opportunities.
  9. Mentor Vassar College student interns.
  10. Take a leadership role in coordinating Vassar student intern schedules and duties
  11. Assist in training of interns for Exploring Science programs
  12. Present programs and resources sponsored by the Environmental Cooperative and the Vassar Preserve to the community through participation in special events.

 

This is one of two positions available at Vassar College.  While this position focuses on outreach and education, the second position (available through the Vassar Preserve) focuses on land stewardship.  Both positions work collaboratively with each other as needed.  Collaboration with other SCA/Americorps members in the Poughkeepsie area is encouraged.  Individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM are encouraged to apply.

 

How the AmeriCorps Member’s Role Aligns with the Organization:

The Americorp member would report directly to the Director of the Environmental Cooperative director and would be an integral part of programming and activities sponsored by the Cooperative.

Performance Goals for the AmeriCorps Member:

Goal 1: Learn and be able to independently teach two different classroom lessons and all field trip stations for our Exploring Science program to students in grades K-12. Teach summer Exploring Science environmental education program to local youth.  Train and mentor Vassar student interns to learn and teach the Exploring Science curriculum for both school-year and summer programming

 

Goal 2:  Design and implement environmental workshops, volunteer opportunities and programs for Vassar college and the community.  

 

Goal 3: Assist with the maintenance of pollinator gardens and other natural areas on campus and in the local community.  Learn plant ID of local pollinator plant species.  Recruit and coordinate volunteers for local stewardship events.

 

Candidate Qualifications:

  • Valid driver’s license with a clean driving record.
  • Ability to pass a federal background check.

Skills:

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills. 
  • Ability to work independently and with little oversight.
  • Experience working directly with children is highly desirable.
  • A passion for sharing knowledge with children and the general public. 
  • Ability to perform a variety of outdoor functions, from manual labor to leading trail hikes, lessons, and field studies. 
  • Plant/Animal identification skills are highly desirable, as well as a willingness to learn local plant and animal ID.
  • An interest in gardening with native species, invasive species management, and land stewardship.


Knowledge:

  • Course work or experience in environmental interpretation and education is highly desirable. 
  • Knowledge of, or a strong interest to learn about the natural history of northeastern flora and fauna.
  • Experience or strong interest in educating children and young adults necessary.  
  • Knowledge of classroom behavior management techniques, public school state standards, and lesson plan development is helpful.  
  • Fluency in Spanish is desirable.


Training:

  • BA/BS in education, environmental studies, conservation/wildlife studies or related disciplines preferred. 
  • Familiarity with dichotomous keys and plant/animal identification desirable
  • Knowledge of Microsoft and Google suite of applications.
  • Valid driver’s license. 
  • GIS training a plus.

 

Benefits:

Amount of the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award being offered for successful completion of the member’s term of service: $6,495

 

Amount of living allowance member will receive:

$300/week living allowance

$1,000/month housing allowance upstate

$1,100/month housing allowance in NYC

 

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.

  • No
Main Area of Focus
Education and Interpretation
Education, Training & Skills Expected
Biology
degree minor or extensive experience
Communications
some coursework or experience
Ecology & Restoration
some coursework or experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience
Field Research
some experience
GIS
some experience
Public Speaking
competent with supervision
Writing/Publishing
some experience
Trail Maintenance
competent with supervision
Volunteer Coordination
competent with supervision