NATURALIST / EDUCATOR
Join Blue Ridge Discovery Center as a Naturalist/Educator (N/E) and help connect our regional youth and adults to one of the greatest natural treasures in the east. This is an excellent opportunity to make an impact in our community while building naturalist skills. Working as a Naturalist/Educator will be some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of your life.
This full time/part time, 3-year position at BRDC, is responsible for serving the organization with a personal commitment to inspire curiosity, discovery and stewardship through the wonders of the Blue Ridge. The N/E position requires dedication to experiential learning, natural history/science education, and lifelong learning. The N/E coordinates and teaches natural history/science programming both in the classroom and in the field during our summer camps and school programs. The N/E works with all ages of participants. These include grade school kids, summer camp attendees, researchers and adult participants. The N/E is expected to work in a wide variety of settings, including wilderness areas, public classrooms, meeting halls and summer camp facilities. The N/E works closely with and directly reports to the Program Director.
- Organize and maintain pre-existing curriculum and lesson plan files and materials.
- Participate in ongoing program evaluation, review, and revision.
- Maintain teaching materials for school and summer programs.
- Assist Program Director in creating and implementing school program curriculum as needed that meets BRDC program goals and objectives, Virginia Academic Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards.
- Document activities through writing/drawing/photography
- Ensure that all programming is aligned with the BRDC mission, including program evaluation and assessment
Field and Classroom Responsibilities
- Work as a team member with other instructors and staff in the office, co-teach during the summer, and lead your own group of students during the school year.
- Prepare and teach mostly pre-existing natural science and environmental education lessons, field science programs, and summer camps.
- Lead field experiences throughout the year for all age groups, in all weather conditions.
- Conduct pre-classroom visits prior to students participating in a field program for all age groups.
- Co-lead summer day camps in the field primarily for students in grades 1_ 6 with a few middle and high school programs in all weather conditions.
- Co-lead and teach summer camp programs based out of the backcountry hut for youth ages 11-15.
- Provide occasional overnight supervision of students during summer camp and for school programs in the winter and spring.
- Attend or conduct evening and weekend programs and events.
- Participate in regular program team meetings and all-staff meetings.
- Maintain database of student participation, assessment data, and evaluation.
- Take program photos and collect student work to be used for website updates and development efforts.
- Participate in fundraising events outside of normal work hours
- Participate in community events outside of normal work hours
Operations and Risk Management
- Evaluate environmental conditions and make safety decisions that incorporate BRDC’s emergency protocol and current wilderness emergency medical procedures.
- Maintain a clean workspace and fulfill facility cleaning responsibilities.
- Assist with upkeep and maintenance of vehicles and program resources, including first aid supplies, teaching supplies and equipment, field gear, specimens, and library books.
- Safely transport students in 15-passenger vehicles during summer months.
- Responsible for financially covering and maintaining required medical certifications.
- Bachelor's degree in environmental education, outdoor recreation, biology or similar
- Energetic, outgoing, enthusiastic personality
- Experience in environmental education working closely with youth and/or general public
- Photography and documentation skills
- Excellent verbal and written skills
- Person must be able to meet the physical demands of outdoor activities related to BRDC programming.
- Passion for and eagerness to expand knowledge of natural history
- Willingness to work in inclement weather conditions and wilderness settings
ABOUT BLUE RIDGE DISCOVERY CENTER
Blue Ridge Discovery Center (BRDC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring, discovering and sharing the natural history of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Founded in 2008, BRDC has built a reputation for innovation in designing programs and initiatives that address a wide range of outdoor interests. Attracting all age groups from children to adults, including professional researchers and amateur naturalists, BRDC draws on a rich vein of local knowledge to highlight the enormous variety of flora, fauna, geology, and habitats that make up the globally unique Blue Ridge ecosystem. Emphasizing education and community service while also encouraging higher levels of visitor appreciation for natural attractions within the Blue Ridge region are goals that shape BRDC’s work and its vision.
BRDC’s MISSION is to inspire curiosity, discovery, and stewardship through the wonders of the Blue Ridge.