Natural Resources Educator

University of Wisconsin-Extension

Madison, WI, US

As an academic staff member of the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension, employed with the UW Environmental Resources Center, the Outreach Specialist/Natural Resource Educator (NRE) is an educational leader in teaching, accessing and applying natural resource-based research findings to the fields of leadership and organizational development, community development, and local education in order to meet identified educational needs and interests of citizens, civic groups, businesses and local governments.  The Outreach Specialist takes a scholarly approach in strengthening the capacity of individuals, organizations, communities and local government to address natural resources issues through educational programming that builds understanding and leads to improved decision-making and leadership skills. The Outreach Specialist helps citizens, agencies, and local governments identify, develop and implement outreach and education needs and programs, including programs that integrate evidence-based information and UW colleagues with complementary content expertise.

This position will initially focus on supporting ongoing water quality improvement efforts primarily in the Rock River watershed. The Outreach Specialist will be responsible for working with partners in the watershed to create and implement an information and outreach strategy to share information, research results and lessons learned from within and beyond the watershed in similar efforts.  Further, the Outreach Specialist will identify, assist and support farmer-led initiatives focused on soil health, water quality and related subjects, including organizational and content support. Specifically, this includes the development of educational material highlighting research findings, creating and editing video content, and managing social media distribution networks. Involvement in the planning and implementation (teaching) of outreach events such as field days, workshops, and demonstration projects will also be required. The Outreach Specialist will work with partners in identifying and implementing outreach teaching needs and opportunities surrounding the Rock River Recovery effort through its Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).


  • Make individual arrangements for transportation adequate to meet position responsibilities and essential job functions
  • Assume weekly travel throughout the watershed and occasional travel within the state
  • Occasionally work evenings and weekends, as needed, to meet local needs


  • Bachelor’s degree in a field that relates to the responsibilities of this position, including, but not limited to natural resource management, agriculture or water resource management
  • Ability to communicate ideas effectively verbally, in writing, and through educational technology
  • Experience planning, implementing, and/or evaluating community-based, non-formal educational programs related to natural resources
  • Experience working in collaborative environment or using group facilitation skills
  • Experience establishing and maintaining professional work relationships and networks
  • Knowledge and skills to effectively interact with people from different cultural backgrounds, including those associated with race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, socioeconomic status, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and other aspects of human diversity


  • Master’s degree in a field that relates to the responsibilities of this position such as water resources, environmental policy, environmental studies, agriculture, soil science, or communications.
  • Demonstrated skills in interpreting, utilizing and applying evidence-based information and research findings
  • Ability to plan collaboratively and execute independently
  • Demonstrated ability to initiate, form and effectively maintain working relationships with persons or associations from cultures other than one’s own
  • Excellent skills in advising and helping others improve their team building, problem solving and interpersonal communication skills
  • Knowledge of complex political environments in which Cooperative Extension works, particularly at state and local levels, and successful experience in these environments 
  • Experience coordinating multi-organizational workgroups, project teams, or partnerships focused on natural resources and environmental management
  • Experience in the development and use of web-based communications tools, including social media
  • Knowledge of adult learning principles
  • Strong interpersonal and problem-solving skills in a team setting; ability to effectively analyze and manage conflicts

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Knowledge of watersheds such as the Rock River watershed and of the steps necessary to reduce nonpoint source water quality pollution
  • Knowledge of the economic, environmental and social settings in which modern agriculture exists
  • Strong organizational and leadership skills

All applicants wishing consideration must apply online and attach all required application documents/materials at the time of application.  Applications will be accepted until April 1, 2018.

Required application materials:

  1. A cover letter that summarizes how your qualifications meet the expectations of this position
  2. A current resume
  3. Contact information for three professional work references
  4. College transcripts.  Unofficial copies of transcript(s) are acceptable when applying for this position. Official transcripts are required upon hire.

For questions regarding the position, please contact John Exo at [email protected] at (608) 355-3554.  For technical questions or assistance, please contact UW Service Center at (888) 298-4159.  For all other questions please contact [email protected].

UW-Cooperative Extension is the educational resource that helps the Wisconsin Idea become reality. Valuing leadership, relationship-building, and inclusion; UW-Cooperative Extension teaches, learns, leads, and serves the people of Wisconsin by connecting them with the University of Wisconsin research and resources. Located in all 72 counties of Wisconsin, UW-Cooperative Extension engages with communities to influence their lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

As an affirmative action employer, UW-Extension provides equal opportunity in programs and employment and is strongly committed to maintaining an organizational climate that supports and respects differences and equality of opportunity. UW-Extension does not discriminate on the basis of age; race; creed; color; disability; sex/gender; sexual orientation; national origin; ancestry; religion; marital status; identity as a veteran, disabled veteran, Vietnam veteran or any other military service; arrest record or non-program related conviction record. We promote excellence through diversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply.