Environmental Science Educator (Backpacking Instructor)

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Washington, DC
United States

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Job Description:


NatureBridge in the Mid-Atlantic region is currently seeking Environmental Science Educators to lead an intensive summer program based in Shenandoah National Park, VA. Educators teach and facilitate a 13-day program for a diverse group of international high school students, including a 7-day backpacking trip and a sightseeing day in Washington DC. Educators also assist with a variety of duties before students arrive and after they depart, and participate in a 3-day backpacking training trip.  The position runs from July 6th-July 30th 2017. Please note that this is an intensive program including evening work and being on-call overnight, and a Wilderness First Responder certification (or a willingness to obtain before start date) is required. Top candidates will possess a passion for working with high school students and teaching environmental science, experience leading backpacking trips, and be highly skilled in outdoor leadership and risk management.

There is also the possibility of extending employment into the fall season. Fall Educators teach 3-day outdoor school programs in Prince William Forest Park, VA, working primarily with 5th and 7th graders. Please note in your cover letter if you are also interested in fall employment.

To learn more about NatureBridge, please visit our website: https://naturebridge.org/

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. Early applications will receive priority consideration. Please direct questions to Rae Parks, Senior Educator, at midatlanticsearch@naturebridge.org

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Lead participants through multi-day, hands-on, experiential learning experiences in an outdoor setting
  • Using a student-centered approach, facilitate interactive, community-building activities for a diverse participant group.
  • Provide participants with opportunities to engage in the practices of science.
  • Lead by example to demonstrate positive and responsible environmental literacy and behavior.
  • Cultivate an inclusive and culturally relevant learning community among participants.
  • Actively participate in NatureBridge’s efforts to assess and evidence participant learning and program outcomes.
  • Provide comprehensive post-trip program debriefs.
  • Actively participate in staff community by attending meetings and trainings as assigned.
  • Collect and share stories from the field to support NatureBridge's fundraising efforts.
  • Lead a day-long field trip into Washington DC.
  • Chaperone participants in a variety of settings, including a hotel, a campground, and in the backcountry.
  • Assist with various pre- and post-trip duties.
  • Facilitate and manage all aspects of a 7-day backpacking trip.
  • Guide students through individual field science research projects.
  • Facilitate opportunities for participants’ personal and social growth.
  • Manage participants’ physical, social, and emotional safety in an outdoor setting by applying sound judgment, adhering to NatureBridge risk management policies, and administering and documenting first aid as needed.
  • Other duties as assigned or necessitated by circumstances in the field.

Required Experience and Education:

  • Bachelor's degree in science, environmental or multidisciplinary studies, or a related field.
  • Current Wilderness First Responder and CPR certification, or a willingness to obtain at your own expense prior to start date.
  • Relevant formal or informal teaching experience.
  • Experience leading backpacking and/or wilderness trips.
  • Ability to perform physically challenging work in the outdoors and in all weather conditions on uneven terrain.
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within your teaching and community.
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills.
  • A willingness to be coached and openness to feedback.
  • Ability to work flexible hours, and ability to work extended hours in challenging conditions as necessary.

Desirable Qualifications:

  • Working experience with racial and ethnic minority groups, English Language Learners, urban youth, low-income communities, immigrant communities, LGBTQ communities, people with special needs, and other groups that are underrepresented in the field of environmental education.
  • Involvement in community service projects, leadership, social and environmental justice, and activism.
  • Ability to speak and teach in a language other than English relevant to our participants  
  • Working experience with environmental education, science education, or residential outdoor education.
  • Working knowledge of inquiry-based, multi-disciplinary science, and natural history.
  • Advanced degree or teaching credential.

How to Apply:

How to Apply

A complete application consists of:

  • A cover letter describing why you want to work for NatureBridge in Shenandoah National Park.
  • Your current resume.
  • Contact information for three references.

When your application materials are complete, please complete the application form online at: https://naturebridge.org/environmental-science-educator-application-prince-william

For applicants with limited computer access, please mail your complete application to:

Educator Selection Committee


777 6th St NW, Suite 700

Washington, D.C.  20001

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. Please direct questions to Rae Parks, Senior Educator, at midatlanticsearch@naturebridge.org. Thank you for your interest. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Compensation Information:


  • Competitive compensation. Educators are considered exempt and paid on a daily rate basis.
  • Paid training days.
  • Space in a shared house provided from July 5th-July 31st for accommodation during training and storage of personal belongings during program.