U.S. nationals: Estuary Research Reserve Educator
January 26, 2021 to November 23, 2021
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
This position requires that you become enrolled in AmeriCorps. If you are selected for this program please be sure to accept AmeriCorps during the SCA offer process. No travel allowance will be offered for this position even if it is stated on your confirmation of acceptance.
Due to Covid-19, events and trainings are subject to change in response to an increase in the number of cases in the Hudson Valley region. Specific duties aligned with this position may also be subject to change. Such changes include, but are not limited to: trainings being eliminated or held remotely, elimination of large-scale gatherings, reduction of education programs, and a transition to teleworking.
SCA Hudson Valley AmeriCorps partners with State and non-profit agencies to address the conservation needs of the Hudson River Watershed region. Corps members are placed at individual host sites, where service activities range from providing environmental education to underserved youth, to restoring streambanks along the Hudson River, and beyond. Members join together regularly for trainings, service projects, or other events.
Purpose of the Program:
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was created on July 1, 1970 to combine in a single agency all state programs designed to protect and enhance the environment.
Mission: “To conserve, improve and protect New York’s natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being.”
DEC’s goal is to achieve this mission through the simultaneous pursuit of environmental quality, public health, economic prosperity and social well-being, including environmental justice and the empowerment of individuals to participate in environmental decisions that affect their lives.
AGENCY MISSION AND GOALS OF THE NYSDEC BUREAU OF MARINE RESOURCES:
Mission: Manage and maintain the state’s living marine, estuarine and anadromous resources, and to protect and enhance the habitat upon which these resources depend, in order to assure that diverse and self-sustaining populations of these resources are available for future generations.
- Protect, enhance and restore New York’s marine resources and the ecosystems that support them.
- Help provide New York residents and visitors with the knowledge to appreciate marine resources and their habitats.
- Provide a wide array of opportunities to enjoy marine resources.
- Minimize marine resource related negative impacts on natural resources; and human health, safety and land use.
- Foster and maintain an organization that effectively achieves our mission
PROGRAM MISSION AND GOALS OF THE HUDSON RIVER RESEARCH RESERVE AND NYSDEC ESTAURY PROGRAM
Mission: Improve the health and vitality of the Hudson River Estuary by protecting estuarine habitats through integrated education, training, stewardship, restoration, and monitoring and research programs. This program is operated as a partnership between New York State and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Increase scientific understanding of Hudson River estuarine habitats.
- Increase estuarine literacy to promote active stewardship and environmentally sustainable behaviors and decisions.
- Increase informed decision-making to protect and enhance Hudson River habitats.
- Enhance stewardship of the land and water ecosystems within the Reserve.
- Enhance Reserve operational capacity and facilities to support all previous programmatic goals.
Community Needs that the Program Serves:
In-house evaluation of attendees at some Hudson River Research Reserve educational programs indicates general lack of prior knowledge of Hudson River Estuary tidal marsh functions and understanding of services they provide to local communities. A preliminary look at the results of a pilot evaluation of school groups attending Hudson River Research Reserve education programs also indicates lack of prior knowledge of the function and services of the Hudson River Estuary.
As development pressures and the impacts of climate change increase in the Hudson Valley, environmental and climate literacy and environmental stewardship will become increasingly important to protect the integrity of the Hudson River Estuary and these habitats. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), of which the Hudson River Research Reserve is a member, has identified community education (specifically related to understanding, mitigating and adapting to climate change) and K-12 (kindergarten through high school) education as program areas of National Focus. The National Focus of the Student Conservation Association on environmental education for those under 25 and environmental stewardship is closely aligned with NERRS.
AmeriCorps Member Duties and Responsibilities:
SCA member needed to assist with place-based estuary education for school groups, community groups and the general public. These include virtual programs, online content creation, and small-group in-person canoe trips, field-based school programs and public events. Duties: Participate in online teaching of environmental science and live animal programs (Zoom, Youtube, Facebook Live platforms) (25 - 50% based on COVID restrictions); Assist with in-person Hudson Estuary education programs and canoe programs at Norrie Point Environmental Center (25 - 50% based on COVID restrictions); Develop education content and curriculum for in-person and virtual learning programs (10%); Assist with Reserve stewardship and research projects as needed, including the community-science eel project, microplastics monitoring, SAV habitat mapping (20%); Attend (virtually or in-person) training and development functions as available (5%); Participate in all SCA Corps-wide trainings and service projects, as well as project evaluation and reporting (15%).
All SCA Hudson Valley Corps members are required to attend SCA monthly events and completed SCA/AmeriCorps paperwork and reporting. This will account for roughly 15% of your time.
How the AmeriCorps Member’s Role Aligns with the Organization:
The Estuary Educator serves as a primary link between the Hudson River Research Reserve and neighboring communities with regular family programs at local libraries. In the short term, these repeated exposures build up familiarity and trust. In addition, this member’s supporting role in the Reserve’s school programs, canoe trips and public events is crucial to their success, leading to the mid-term goal of increased estuary literacy.
- Valid driver’s license of at least 3 years with a clean driving record.
- Ability to pass a federal background check.
- Skills: Presentation and graphic design skills are desirable. While a ﬂeet car is available for field work and other work-related duties, this position does require personal commuting to DEC facilities in both New Paltz, NY and Staatsburg, NY. A valid driver’s license is required. Candidates should be able to handle outdoor physical work in a range of working environments. Proficiency with online learning platforms such as Zoom, Google Classroom, Facebook Live are desirable.
- Knowledge: Familiarity and interest with the Hudson River Valley, Creative and scientific writing skills, comfortable speaking with large groups of people, fish and macro invertebrate identification skills, knowledge of common invasive species in the Hudson Valley, approachable and helpful attitude to the general public, excellent written and verbal communications skills.
- Training: BA/BS, with course work in education, natural resources, or environmental studies preferred; experience teaching in classroom and outdoor settings; excellent written and verbal communications skills; valid driver’s license. At a minimum, members must be high school graduates, GED recipients, or working toward attaining a high school diploma or GED during their term of service.
- All Hudson Valley Corps members receive a taxable $200/week living allowance
- This position will receive a taxable $600/month housing allowance
- Upon successful completion of the term, members receive a taxable Full-time Segal Education Award through AmeriCorps.
- Student loan forbearance and interest repayments for federal student loan through AmeriCorps.
- Eligible for free health insurance
- Eligible for childcare assistance through AmeriCorps
All Hudson Valley Corps members receive Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Hudson River Citizen Science curricula, Trail Skills, Project WILD curricula, and professional development. Optional trainings include Leave No Trace, American Canoe Association Quick Start Your Canoe, and other opportunities that arise.