Summer Naturalist and Environmental Educator

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Reno, NV
United States

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The Great Basin Institute at Galena is seeking three Summer Naturalists for 12-week AmeriCorps positions beginning on Tuesday, June 1st and extending through Monday August 20th. Summer Naturalists will be responsible for the implementation of the Great Basin Institute at Galena’s Summer Exploration Camps and Community Outreach programs. All 8 weeks of summer day camp will last 5 days (Monday-Friday); camp programming begins at 9 am each day and ends at 5 pm.

Summer Naturalist
Great Basin Institute at the Galena Creek Visitor Center

The Great Basin Institute (GBI) is an interdisciplinary non-profit organization that promotes environmental research, education, and conservation throughout the West.   Founded in 1998 at the University of Nevada, the Institute’s mission is to advance applied research and ecological literacy through community engagement and agency partnerships to support national parks, forests, open spaces and public lands.  The Great Basin Institute enhances community engagement through our Interpretative Association status at the Galena Creek Visitor Center (GCVC), a USDA Forest Service facility jointly managed by Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space. The Galena Creek Visitor Center, located just 30 minutes from the Lake Tahoe Basin and within the Galena Creek Regional Park, is a useful community resource for locals and tourists alike. Straddled between the Great Basin Desert and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, this 400-acre Regional Park is made up of Washoe County and U.S.D.A. Forest Service lands. The park’s unique geographical location provides visitors with a close look into high desert, pine forest, alpine meadow, and freshwater ecosystems and the diverse flora and fauna that reside there.  At the Galena Creek Visitor Center, our team works hard to take advantage of this beautiful natural area by engaging the community in outdoor, environmental education programs designed to enhance ecological literacy, promote environmental stewardship, and inspire the next generation of scientists. Our mission is to increase public understanding, appreciation and wise enjoyment of the many natural, cultural, historical, and recreational resources of the Galena Canyon area and the Mount Rose Scenic Byway.

Position Description:

The Great Basin Institute at Galena is seeking 3 Summer Naturalists for 12-week AmeriCorps positions beginning on Tuesday, June 1st and extending through Monday August 20th. Summer Naturalists will be responsible for the implementation of the Great Basin Institute at Galena’s Summer Exploration Camps and Community Outreach programs. All 8 weeks of summer day camp will last 5 days (Monday-Friday); camp programming begins at 9 am each day and ends at 5 pm. All curriculum is standard-targeted with themed activities which center around the unique natural setting of the Galena Creek Regional Park. Camp themes relate to the natural and cultural-history of the area including topics like animals, plants, ecosystems, geology, survival, conservation, and more. Summer Naturalists will facilitate memorable outdoor programs that safely engage K-12th grade youth in the natural world using hands-on, discovery-based, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education.  Summer Naturalists will assist in implementing Great Basin Institute at Galena Summer Day-Camps, ensuring program success through the facilitation of hands-on games and guided science lessons/crafts, supervision of students, daily hikes in the park, safe exploration and play, and more. Summer Naturalists will also support the fulfilment of our Summer Camp-in-a-Box program – a COVID-19-born virtual education opportunity that provides vulnerable and at-risk youth with the resources needed to safely enjoy summer camp activities from home. Summer Naturalists may be asked to assist with general community outreach at the Galena Creek Visitor Center including hosting the Center’s front desk, facilitating toddler and homeschool programs, leading guided nature hikes in the park, assisting with special events, and more.

Compensation and Benefits:

  • This is an AmeriCorps position contingent upon grant funding
  • Hired individuals will receive a stipend of $225 per week (before taxes) for 12 weeks
  • Upon successful completion of this 450-hour AmeriCorps service term, members shall receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award in the amount of $1,678.57 that can be applied towards qualifying student loans, tuition for Title IV accredited colleges, and other educational expenses; loan forbearance may be possible during AmeriCorps individual’s term
  • Health, dental and vision insurance premiums will be available to hired individuals and completely paid for GBI at no cost to you; insurance will be available starting on your first day of service
  • Shared, on-site housing available to hired individuals for the duration of your term, at no charge to you; includes free parking, Wi-Fi, and utilities
  • Free trainings include, but are not limited to: First aid and CPR certification & mandated reporter training

Position Timeline:

This is a 12-week position which begins on Tuesday, June 1st and extends through Friday, August 20th
Monday-Friday, ~40-hours/week



  • Deliver effective environmental science education curriculum in the field every day for youth between the ages of 8 and 17- prepare to teach 15-20 lessons per week; on occasion, deliver virtual youth programs
  • Assist in the delivery and enhancement of program curriculum at Galena including all 8 weeks of Summer Exploration Day Camp and community-outreach programs
  • Ensure the safety of Galena Creek Visitor Center program participants by enforcing and following all GBI COVID-19 safety policies and procedures, and general program/park rules
  • Prepare for teaching and educational program facilitation in order to deliver clear, well-organized activities that are professional, thematic, engaging, cohesive, and appropriate for the activity and audience
  • Recognize and assist in responding effectively during emergencies
  • Communicate effectively and develop relationships with program participants, students, teachers, parents, guardians, partners, supervisors, and co-workers)
  • Assist with the implementation of Camp-in-a-Box programming including packaging, delivery, participant-communication, and digital resource management
  • Assist (as needed) with community outreach programs at the visitor center including Toddler Time, Homeschool, guided hikes, and miscellaneous/special events
  • Work closely and collaboratively within a team to ensure effective communication, clear logistical operations, and a kind and considerate work environment
  • Support the transportation of low-income scholarship recipients to and from camp (this may require the training and driving of an 11-passenger van)
  • Occasionally assist with working the visitor center front desk to answer visitor questions and provide resources
  • Assist in the daily upkeep of the visitor center and program supplies including sweeping, mopping, disinfecting surfaces, cleaning restrooms, etc.
  • Provide impeccable customer service to all program participants and Visitor Center guests, effectively responding to visitor and participant questions and concerns



  • Complete or partial-completion of a higher education degree in environmental science, natural resources, K-12 education, community outreach, recreation, or other related field
  • 2 years of experience working with children (formal or informal)
  • OR combination of relevant education and experience
  • Solid foundational knowledge of environmental science topics (plants, animals, geology, ecosystems, etc.) and interest in learning about Sierra Nevada and Great Basin Ecosystems
  • Exceptional communication, interpersonal, and public speaking skills
  • Previous work experience at a day or residential camp is highly desirable
  • Campfire skills (song leading, playing of musical instrument, storytelling, games, riddles, etc.)
  • Enthusiastic, patient, and adaptable disposition
  • Passionate about field of environmental education and human dimensions;
  • Ability to work outdoors on a daily basis, in all types of weather;
  • Ability to hike between 2 and 5 miles daily and lift up to 25 pounds;
  • Applicants fluent in both Spanish and English are highly encouraged to apply

Meet AmeriCorps eligibility requirements:

  • U.S. citizenship or legal resident alien status
  • Must be at least 17 years of age
  • Received a high school diploma or GED (or be willing to achieve this before using education award)
  • Eligible to receive and AmeriCorps Education Award (limit of four in a lifetime or equivalent of 2 full-time awards)
  • Pass state and federal criminal background checks

How to Apply:

Qualified and interested applicants should use the following link to apply:

The Great Basin Institute conforms to all the laws, statutes, and regulations concerning equal employment opportunities and affirmative action. We strongly encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply to all of our job openings. We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, age, disability status, Genetic Information & Testing, Family & Medical Leave, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We prohibit Retaliation against individuals who bring forth any complaint, orally or in writing, to the employer or the government, or against any individuals who assist or participate in the investigation of any complaint or otherwise oppose discrimination.