The Unbe-leaf-able Guide to Sprouting a Career in Environmental Education
Have you ever found yourself whispering sweet nothings to your houseplants, or giving a standing ovation to a particularly stunning sunset? Does the thought of a spreadsheet full of data about carbon footprints make your heart beat faster than a hummingbird's wings? If you've nodded so vigorously that you're now in need of a neck brace, then a career in Environmental Education (EE) might just be your calling. And what better way to leaf through your options than with the North American Association for Environmental Education's eeJOBS platform?
Step 1: Cultivate Your Passion
First, let's talk about your roots. A career in EE isn't just a job; it's a lifestyle. It's about having a passion for the planet that's so infectious, you could make a rock care about recycling. Before you even log into eeJOBS, make sure your green heart is in the right place. Are you ready to be the Lorax for the real world? Excellent, let's proceed!
Step 2: Sow the Seeds of Knowledge
You may not need a PhD in Photosynthesis, but a little bit of schooling goes a long way. Whether it's a formal degree in environmental science, a crash course in conservation, or a workshop on wildlife, get some knowledge to back up your passion. Remember, in the world of EE, ignorance is not bliss—it's compost.
Step 3: Get Your Hands Dirty
Experience is the soil in which you'll plant your career. Volunteer for clean-ups, intern at national parks, or work at a local nature reserve. Not only will you gain practical skills, but you'll also meet fellow colleagues. Who knows, the person helping you untangle a squirrel from a six-pack ring might be your future boss.
Step 4: Navigate the eeJungle (eeJOBS)
Now, let's talk about navigating the wild and wonderful world of eeJOBS. Think of it as a treasure map, where X marks the spot for jobs. Filter your search by location, because let's face it, if your heart soars at sea, you're not going to thrive in the tundra.
Step 5: Tailor Your Camouflage (Resume)
Your resume should be as tailored as a penguin's tuxedo. Highlight your EE experience, but don't forget those odd jobs. That summer you spent as a tour guide in the bat caves? It shows you can handle the dark (and the guano). The stint at the fast-food joint? You're no stranger to high-pressure environments and probably know a thing or two about waste management.
When you get called in for an interview, it's your time to shine like bioluminescent algae. Show your enthusiasm, but keep it professional—resist the urge to hug the interviewer (no matter how much they remind you of your favorite tree). Answer questions with the wisdom of an old-growth forest and the enthusiasm of a puppy in a pile of leaves.
Step 6: Grow Your Network Like Ivy
Networking is key. Attend conferences (like NAAEE2024!), join EE groups, and follow organizations on social media. Be like ivy: show up everywhere and be hard to ignore (but don't be invasive, that's a botanical faux pas).
Step 7: Cultivate Patience
Careers in EE grow at the rate of a majestic oak, not a weed. Be patient. You might start with a job that feels small, but remember, even the mightiest redwood started as a seedling. Adaptability is crucial. You might start out teaching kids how to hug trees without getting sap in their hair, but end up lobbying for policy changes that protect those trees. Be ready to change your stripes—or bark, as the case may be.
Step 8: Harvest the Rewards
Finally, when you land that dream job, take a moment to breathe in the sweet scent of success (which, in your case, might literally be pine needles). Remember why you started this journey and look forward to the difference you'll make.
In conclusion, building a career in Environmental Education is like growing a garden. It requires passion, patience, and a willingness to get a little mud on your boots. Use the eeJOBS platform as your map, your compass, and your field guide. And above all, keep your sense of humor. After all, if you can't laugh at the occasional faceplant into a compost heap, then what's the point?
So, go forth. The planet needs you, the children need you, and let's be honest, the squirrels need someone to untangle them from those six-pack rings. Good luck!
Meet the Writer
Anoka Primrose Abeyrathne co-founded Growin’ Money at 13, planting 60,000 mangroves and educating 20,000 people to conserve Sri Lanka's coastal ecosystems. A catalyst for change, she also spearheaded the nation's most supported petition, advocating the Animal Welfare Bill. She is also a co-moderator for eePRO Group E-STEM Education. Anoka's resilience and compassion drive her to create a sustainable, compassionate world.