Environmental Educator

Expected Dates
June 24, 2019 to November 25, 2019
Thousand Islands Regional Parks, NYS OPRHP
Position ID
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.​

SCA NYS Parks Corps Overview:
The SCA New York State Parks Corps covers five regions of New York State: Allegany, Central, Finger Lakes, Niagara, and Thousand Islands. Corps members are placed at one of these host sites and serve at the state parks in their region. Service activities range from providing environmental education and interpretation, to trail restoration and volunteer initiatives. Members join together regularly for trainings, service projects, or other community events.  The mission of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is to provide safe and enjoyable recreational and interpretive opportunities for all New York State residents and visitors and to be responsible stewards of our valuable natural, historic and cultural resources.

General Position Description:
Are you interested in Ecology or Environmental Education?  Then come join our team of Minna Anthony Common (MAC) Nature Center Environmental Educators.  Explore the ecology of the Thousand Island Region by teaching school programs and leading public programs for a diverse audience.  Working alongside NYS Parks staff, you will design and lead programs for the public in the summer.  Learn about trail maintenance by working on our trail system, or about animal care while taking care of our live animal displays.  
Employment at MAC Nature Center is sure to be a valuable learning experience involving a variety of projects, diverse patrons, and the seasonal changes in our programs.  Anyone interested in working in Parks and Recreation, or Environmental Education, or contemplating graduate work in either Ecology or Environmental Education would benefit from being an SCA MAC Nature Center Environmental Educator.

Position Title: Minna Anthony Common (MAC) Nature Center Environmental Educator

Number of Positions: 3

Location: MAC Nature Center at Wellesley Island State Park, Fineview, NY

Work Schedule: 40 hours per week on average, including some weekends and summer holidays.  Staff schedules vary depending on our needs throughout the year.  You will have some ability to flex your hours, mostly in the winter.  In July and August, you will work evenings on Fridays and Saturdays on a rotating basis to accommodate evening programs.  We are a building based crew so we report to and work out of the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center building.
Compensation: $200 weekly stipend, free shared housing in a cottage at Wellesley Island State Park, health insurance, and access to SNAP benefits
Duration: January 23rd - November 20th 

What Will You Be Doing?
We will encourage you to learn new skills and expand your comfort zone.  

You will work alongside experienced OPRHP Environmental Education staff throughout the year.  From May until August, you will work with OPRHP Seasonal Staff who will be involved with similar programming and maintenance projects.  You will be a vital part of the team who make MAC Nature Center a place people love to return. 
Customer Service
Customer service is fundamental to the mission of OPRHP.  You will be expected to greet and talk with all patrons you encounter, whether they are walking through our doors, passing you on the sidewalk, or hiking by you on a trail.  Welcoming visitors is an essential part of all our jobs.  They are the reason we are here.

Primary Responsibilities
1.    Plan and lead Programs (75-80%)
  • School Programs: You will lead school programs, predominately in May and June.  The average grade level we reach is 2nd grade.    
  • Summer Programs: You will develop 4-5 programs designed around a common theme (i.e. geology, birds, the St. Lawrence River, human interactions and impacts, etc.) that you will lead for the general public in July and August.
  • Roving Programs: You will be scheduled to lead roving programs in 7 different locations in July and August.  You will likely lead 2-3 roving programs per week.

2.    Daily Operations (20-25%)
You will participate in the daily operations of the Nature Center.  This includes daily maintenance tasks, which are shared by all team members.  You, and all team members, will share task like sweeping and mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms, washing and de-cob webbing windows, watering and weeding gardens, and feeding animals. The amount of maintenance you are doing will vary throughout the year, depending on staffing levels and needs.

Seasonal Variability in Job Responsibilities:
This is subject to change.

Just as the seasons vary in nature, so do our responsibilities in operating MAC Nature Center.

The Winter Season: January-Mid-April
The Nature Center is relatively quiet in the winter.  You will lead occasional school field trips and public programs and will work on larger projects relating to your focus areas.  The quiet winter months are the time to develop the 4-5 programs designed around a central theme that you will lead during the summer season.  We also encourage you to travel to other organizations to observe programs and spend time exploring Wellesley Island State Park and surrounding Parks.  

Team Members will be involved with building and grounds maintenance.  They will be responsible for animal care, shoveling our sidewalk, setting snowshoe tracks on our trails, and will help clean our building at least three days per week, depending on staffing levels and need.   

The Spring Season: Mid-April-June
The spring season is much busier than the winter season.  In April, we will conduct an extensive spring school field trip training to prepare you for the spring school field trip season.  You will have much less time to work on long term projects during this season as you will be teaching school programs most days.

Like all MAC staff, you will still be expected to help with daily building maintenance.  This will include sweeping and mopping the floor, cleaning exhibits, cleaning the bathrooms, and washing windows.  You will be asked to help clean up the building after programs.  These jobs will be shared all team members.

The Summer Season: End of June-Labor Day Weekend
The summer season is extremely fast paced.  You will be leading the 4-5 programs you developed in the winter for the camper population at the Nature Center and roving programs throughout Wellesley Island State Park and nearby parks.  Roving programs are designed to help advertise upcoming events.  You will still be expected to help with daily building maintenance.  These jobs will be shared all team members.

The Fall Season: Early September-November
 In September we are primarily preparing for Autumn Festival, our largest program of the year, and cutting designs into the 500 bags we need for our Luminaria Hike.  Both programs are in October.   There will also be time to debrief your year and finish up any remaining parts of the projects you were working on in the winter.  You will still be expected to help with daily building maintenance.  These jobs will be shared all team members.

Focus Areas
You will have a project area to focus on during your term at the Nature Center.  Please be prepared to identify which focus area you are most interested in during your interview.  

Animal Care:
This Member in charge of animal care will be the primary person responsible for feeding and caring for our live animals. This will require cleaning filters and aquariums on a regular basis.  They will also be responsible for helping to care for our caterpillars in the summer and will help the seasonal staff manage the butterfly house. 

The person who takes this focus area will need to enjoy taking care of animals and be comfortable interacting with turtles, fish, frogs, and a spoiled chipmunk.  They will get wet and dirty climbing into aquariums to clean glass and rocks and will use a sump pump to drain 300 gallon aquariums.

Social Media:
The primary responsibility this Member will be to produce our quarterly newsletter, photograph all programs, make daily posts to our Facebook and Instagram pages, and write blog posts for the NYS Parks Nature Blog.  They will also keep a record of the daily activities of all SCA members and Seasonals and write weekly reports to send to our Regional Director.  The secondary responsibility of this member will be to organize and digitalize our very large collection of Kodak slides from our 50-year history.  

The person who takes this focus area will need to like photography, have strong writing and organizational skills, and be a good communicator.  

The primary responsibility of this Member will be to work MAC Nature Center staff to create an updated inventory of our large art collection and historic archives (photographs, documents, etc.).  This process will include photographing all the artwork and scanning paper documents.  The scanned material will then be organized into an archive and the original materials stored.  A digital and hardcopy archive will be created.  The secondary responsibility of this Member will be to work with the Member in charge of social media to organize our slide collection.  

The person who takes this focus area will need to have exceptional attention to detail, strong organizational skills, and an interest in history.

Group Projects
MAC Nature Center staff often work together on larger projects.  
•    Create four activity books that support our Borrow a Backpack Program.  The topics are: Forests, Insects, Ponds, and Birds.

•    Create themed summer programs that focus on highlighted, complex aspects of this park.  Examples could be: birds, geology, the St. Lawrence River (invasives, this history of people on the river, fishing, etc.), human impacts and interactions, etc. These will be the primary programs you lead in the summer.  You will need to create at least 4-5 programs

•    Create roving programs for specific locations in this park and surrounding parks

All MAC Nature Center Environmental Educators will be provided the following trainings to help prepare you to lead programs. 

•    Project Wet, Wild, Aquatic Wild and Learning Tree
•    Growing Up Wild Training 
•    Certified Interpretive Guide Training
•    Leave No Trace Training
•    School Field Trip Training (winter and spring)
•    Introduction to Kayaking (ACA course)
•    Wilderness First Aid

*Please ignore fit rating/eligibiity notes related to this position. All applications received by the deadline will be reviewed.

  • Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Leave No Trace Trainer Course, American Canoe Association QuickStart Your Canoe and professional development.  Environmental Educators receive Project WET, Project Wild, and Project Learning Tree curricula, CIG, and roving
  • There are plenty of local trail systems to hike and lakes to kayak. The St. Lawrence River is a great place to swim in the summer. We are located in a truly beautiful region that offers endless opportunities for outdoor activities.
  • Training Opportunities: All Parks Corps members receive Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Leave No Trace Trainer Course, American Canoe Association QuickStart Your Canoe and professional development.  Environmental Educator members receive Project WET, Project Wild, and Project Learning Tree curricula, Certified Interpretive Guide, roving, and other opportunities that arise.
  • No
Main Area of Focus
Education and Interpretation
Education, Training & Skills Expected
some coursework or experience
Earth Sciences
some coursework or experience
Ecology & Restoration
some coursework or experience
Bird Identification
some experience
some experience
Customer Service
some experience
Social Media
some experience
Plant Identification
some experience
Working with Children
some experience