Naturalist Apprentice

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Deadline to Apply:

Sunday, February 28, 2021, 4:00pm


Golden Pond, KY
United States

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Job Description:

The Naturalist Apprentice is employed by the U.S. Forest Service. The full-time position, lasts 9 months to 1 year, at the Woodlands Nature Station in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, in Golden Pond, Kentucky. A $250/week allowance (non-taxed) and onsite government housing within LBL is provided. 

Apprenticeship positions are designed for college graduates who desire a well rounded experience with interpretive program planning and delivery, animal husbandry, special events, and facility operations at a nature center. The goals of the apprenticeship program are the following: (1) provide quality training and practical experience for individuals in a wide range of disciplines, (2) introduce apprentices to the operational procedures of a federal agency, and (3) provide experiences in environmental education and interpretation for the diverse customers who use Land Between the Lakes (LBL).

Job duties include:

  • Developing and delivering interpretive natural history programming for the public
  • Providing daily care and husbandry for captive native wildlife
  • Conducting curriculum-based programs on-site and off-site for schools and other groups ages pre-K through adult
  • Leading (and co-leading) outdoor excursions including nature hikes, canoe/kayak trips, and wildlife-viewing van tours
  • Maintaining native plant gardens
  • Staffing a seasonal canoe/kayak rental station by scenic Honker Lake
  • Interacting with visitors on a daily basis through initiating informal contacts
  • Participating in day-to-day facility operations as needed
  • Other trainings that may be provided include: Low Ropes Challenge Course Facilitator training and certification; First Aid and CPR; Defensive Driving; Canoeing; and cross-training at other interpretive facilities, including a living history farm, planetarium/observatory, and environmental education camp. Qualifications:
  • 4-year college degree (B.A. or B.S.)
  • Willingness to work a varied schedule, including weekends, some evenings, and holidays
  • Willingness to work with and handle live animals on a daily basis, including raptors and snakes
  • Enjoyment of working in a highly people-oriented job, especially including interacting with children
  • Participation as a team member with other Nature Station staff, including other naturalists, information clerks, gift shop clerks, and maintenance personnel.
  • Previous experience in environmental education or interpretation, teaching, camp counseling, animal husbandry, or outdoor leadership is a plus
  • Introductory knowledge of the area’s natural history and willingness to learn more
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word and Powerpoint preferred
  • Ability and/or willingness to learn to drive a 10-passenger van

Start Date: Open Until Filled

Description of Site: The Woodlands Nature Station serves as the main interpretive nature center for the U.S. Forest Service’s Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, a 170,000-acre parcel of mainly bottomlands hardwood forest nestled between two large freshwater lakes in western Kentucky and Tennessee The primary goals of LBL are high quality environmental education, recreation, customer service, and multiple use management for sustainability. The interpretive activities and programs at the Nature Station focus on regional natural history, natural resource conservation, and outdoor recreation activities. One of our main attractions is our live native wildlife, which are mainly rescued and permanently non-releasable animals, including a bald eagle, birds of prey, endangered red wolves, small mammals, reptiles, and more. Another highlight is our demonstration backyard habitat area, featuring native gardens and bird feeding stations. We offer a variety of interpretive programs and activities, including roving on-site interpretation, special events, live animal programs, hikes, canoe and kayak trips, puppet shows, wildlifeviewing tours, school programs, and community outreach programs. Over 50,000 people per year visit the Nature Station.

How to Apply: Applications are due by Feb 28, 2021. Please send a cover letter, resume, and a list of 3 references to John Pollpeter at

Equal Employment: Applicants will be considered without regard to religion, sex, National Origin, political affiliation, marital status, or physical handicap.

How to Apply:

Applications are due by Feb 28, 2021. Please send a cover letter, resume, and a list of 3 references to John Pollpeter at

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