Environmental Educator Assistant

Expected Dates
January 22, 2018 to December 14, 2018
Site
Region 2 Office NYS DEC
Position ID
PO-00724360
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
NYSDEC’s mission is to conserve, improve and protect New York’s natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being. The mission of the NYSDEC’s Region 2 Bureau of Environmental Education program is to engage New York City families, students, and teachers with local natural resources through programs that raise ecological awareness, promote outdoor recreation, and inspire environmental stewardship.

Community Needs that the Program Serves:
Sites participating in the NYSDEC Region 2’s After-School Conservation Club are in historically underserved and overwhelmingly minority areas. The schools in the areas have 62-78% of their students receiving free lunch. The areas are predominantly Hispanic and Latino (44-67%) and African American (18-20%), but overall, minority populations make up 77-94% of the school populations where the ASCC programs operate.
 
According to the Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report 2012, participation in outdoor recreation activities for youth 6-24 years old continue to rise, but at a slower rate over a five-year span (in 2011, 63% of youth 6-12 years old participate compared to 78% of 6-12 year olds in 2006). Latino youth under 18 years old make up 23% of the US population, yet only 5.8% of them participate in outdoor recreation activities. A research marketing study conducted in 2006 by UCLA Anderson School of Management for the Outdoor Industry Foundation found that obesity was a major issue with Hispanic youth. Other research and focus groups conducted with parents at two ASCC sites show that minority views for barriers to outdoor recreation include children’s fears of the outdoors, safety fears by parents, no information on where to go, and no minority role models participating in outdoor recreation.
 
Research shows that playing in nature improves mental and physical health and increases emotional well-being. Outside play also helps reduce stress in children and children have more active imaginations, stronger immune systems, and have more respect for themselves and others.
 
AmeriCorps Member Duties and Responsibilities:
Members will provide the primary support for the After-School Conservation Club (ASCC) and Summer Camp Conservation Club (SCCC) programs (50%). Both programs use a collaborative approach where members and staff of participating sites separately lead environmental education lessons with 3rd-5th graders in NYC after-school and summer camp programs. Support provided by members will include facilitating training sessions on how to lead environmental education lessons for approximately 60 program staff from 20 participating sites and delivering environmental education lessons to at least 300 youth. Outside of these two programs, members will develop and conduct environmental education programs in local schools and organizations and at local community events in order to increase community awareness of and involvement with the environment (15%). Members will facilitate up to 15 professional development trainings for up to 230 formal and informal educators that cover activity guides produced by Projects Learning Tree, WILD, and WET (15%).  Members will interact with and educate up to 45 youth during one or two weeks spent at a DEC sleepaway camp, including 6 campers from the DEC’s NYC Camps Diversity Program (5%). Members will also have the opportunity to attend or participate in professional development and service opportunities in and around New York City, including SCA Corps-wide trainings and service projects (15%).

Performance Goals for the AmeriCorps Member:

Goal 1: Deliver environmental education lessons to audiences that raise ecological awareness, promote outdoor recreation, and/or inspire environmental stewardship. Members will modify procedures from written curricula to meet the needs of each audience as well as implement group management strategies that maximize engagement of all audience members.
 
Goal 2: Develop, deliver, and refine new environmental education lessons for use during the ASCC program. Members will minimally develop two lessons for the ASCC program that focus on an environmental topic of their choosing. Members will demonstrate the ability to develop engaging, age-appropriate lessons and to self-evaluate their instruction in order to refine their lesson’s procedures and meet its objectives.
 
Goal 3: Plan and deliver professional development workshops for classroom teachers, environmental educators, after-school staff, and summer camp staff. After completing Projects Learning Tree, WET, and WILD workshops as participants, members will join DEC Region 2 Educators in the planning and delivery of these workshops. Members will have increasing levels of responsibility as their term progresses from initially modeling lessons from the curricula, then developing agendas, and finally facilitating a workshop from start to finish.
 
Skills/Knowledge/Training Necessary to be a successful AmeriCorps Member in this position:
Skills:
  • Enthusiasm for the outdoors
  • Ability to work in a team setting
  • Ability to work independently on select projects

Knowledge:

  • College degree, experience, and/or passion for education, environmental biology or science, ecology, or related fields
  • Knowledge of urban audiences

Candidate Qualifications:

  • Ability to pass a background check
  • Valid driver license with a clean driving record.
  • Willing and able to drive a DEC vehicle throughout New York City.
  • Willing and able to travel via public transportation throughout New York City.

Benefits:

  • All Hudson Valley Corps members receive a taxable $200/week living allowance and EITHER housing provided OR a taxable housing allowance.
  • 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
Education and Interpretation
Education, Training & Skills Expected
Biology
some coursework or experience
Communications
some coursework or experience
Education
some coursework or experience
Field Research
some experience
GIS
some experience
Working with Children
some experience