Educator and Stewardship Assistant

Expected Dates
January 13, 2022 to November 10, 2022
Site
Minnewaska State Park Preserve NYS OPRHP
Position ID
PO-00732392
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. 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.  


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 education and stewardship activities at the Sam’s Point Area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Sam’s Point 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 primarily assist the Interpretive Ranger with developing, presenting, and documenting environmental education programming as well as providing informal interpretation to both school groups and the public. The member will also assist the Minnewaska staff to implement land management activities to include mitigating visitor use impacts, provide invasive species control, and collect data for ecological monitoring projects


Community Needs that the Program Serves:
The approximately 310 thousand visitors who visit the entire Minnewaska State Park Preserve annually, represent an ethnically and economically diverse group. Sam’s Point Area typically gets around 80 thousand visitors alone. 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 biodiversity found in the Northern Shawangunks.  In order to keep this landscape intact and offer world class recreation experiences to a growing audience, Sam’s Point Preserve 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.
 

AmeriCorps Member Duties and Responsibilities:
60% of the member’s effort will be devoted to assisting in the development, delivery, and documentation of environmental and cultural education programming to school groups, other social groups (homeschool, girl scout, etc.), and the public. This includes providing informal interpretation to patrons at the visitor center as well as at popular trailheads and destinations. The member with also be developing and delivering an interpretive talk series given outside the Visitor Center.

25% 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.

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, Sam’s Point Area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve 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. Sam’s Point 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:
Assist park staff with developing, presenting and documenting 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.
 
            Goal 2:
Assist the park staff with researching and developing more accessible ways for visitors to recreate within the Park Preserve. This includes working with visitors with disabilities, language barriers, diverse backgrounds and underserved populations. This includes re-doing the Sam’s Point specific booklets within the Visitor Center so people can learn about the park, adding accessible language to program descriptions, developing accessible programs and continuing the language accessibility project.
 
            Goal 3:
Continue research, monitoring, and survey projects. 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. This includes following project protocols for accurate data collection, organizing, compiling, and analyzing data, and presenting results.
 
List any specific qualifications for AmeriCorps member (i.e. must be of a certain age):

  • Valid Driver’s License for 3 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:

  • Communications skills- both written and verbal
  • Experience providing informal interpretation and/or environmental education programming
  • Education program development
  • Focused self-motivated individual, able to work both independently and as a team member
  • Volunteer recruitment and coordination
  • Computer skills including Word, excel and GIS
  • 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

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

Benefits:
All Hudson Valley Corps members receive a taxable $200/week living allowance
Member will receive a taxable $700/month housing 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