Other Outdoor Field Mentor
Wild Whatcom is a flourishing non-profit organization dedicated to connecting youth to nature and developing positive character traits through outdoor exploration and discovery. We provide experiential learning opportunities that inspire participants to explore, connect, and serve, while building healthy relationships with nature, community, and self. Visit our website to learn more about our programs: www.wildwhatcom.org
Wild Whatcom seeks a motivated and highly-skilled educator to co-lead nature explorations, outdoor skills sessions, service projects, summer camps, and wilderness trips for a variety of Wild Whatcom programs.
Position Description and Logistics
Compensation begins at $15 per hour or more based upon experience. This position will be part-time (15-35 hours), year-round (with seasonal variability mid-December through mid-January. See below for more details).
Start date: Preference will be given to candidates applying before October 31st as anticipated start date is as soon as possible.
School Year (August -June)
15-20+ hours of field work during the week and weekend (Neighborhood Nature, Explorers Club, Nature Lab) with additional 1-5 hours of computer-based or meeting work. Seasonal variability: bulk of work in fall through mid-December and starting mid-January through June. See below for program descriptions.
5-6 weeks, spread out over June-August, working as a Field Mentor for our summer camps or backpack trips. Each week includes up to 40 hours of work, mostly occurring on weekdays, including preparation and field time. Main program: Summer Adventures (See below). Backpack trips subject to change due to COVID-19
Co-lead a variety of outings with child-led, inquiry-based, experiential, and playful approaches.
Awaken a sense of wonder teaching natural history and outdoor skills while exploring local areas.
Facilitate collaborative leadership and decision-making to augment developing life skills.
Practice effective risk management at all times, creating a safe learning experience for all.
Maintain clear, responsive, honest, and respectful communications with participants, staff, guardians, community partners.
Especially during COVID-19 pandemic, and also in “normal” times, this position requires computer-based work including email communication and coordination on a regular basis.
Serve as a mentor to participants appropriate to their needs as individuals and as a group.
Work closely with other members of the field staff team to plan, prepare, and lead outings.
Participate in all required training with enthusiasm and engagement.
Assist with gear maintenance, storage, and coordination.
Assist with program logistics.
Support and contribute to documentation/record-keeping.
Humor, adaptability, and inspiration for facilitating meaningful connections to nature and community.
Strong work ethic and professional work habits (punctual, responsive, organized, detailed).
Environmental, outdoor, or youth education experience.
Experience working with children.
Demonstrated ability to monitor variable conditions constantly to ensure group safety while also remaining attentive and focused on learning goals and the unique needs of each participant.
Ability to prioritize effectively and handle multiple projects and deadlines simultaneously.
Flexibility and vision to engage with a growing organization.
Basic knowledge of ecology and outdoor skills.
Personal or professional experience traveling and living in wilderness environments.
Valid driver’s license and excellent driving record (background check is required).
Ability to carry 40+ lbs in a variety of weather and terrain.
Current First Aid/CPR certification or willingness to obtain; Wilderness First Aid or Responder certification or willingness to obtain (financial assistance provided).
Tetanus booster within the past 5 years or willingness to obtain.
Additional Information: Possible Program Areas of Work
Explorers Club: The Explorers Club (EC) cultivates naturalist knowledge, sense of adventure, earth skills, and a community stewardship ethic for youth grades 2-8. With the natural world as a starting point, you will help develop and lead innovative experiential learning opportunities that inspire participants to explore, connect, and serve, while building healthy relationships with nature, community and self. (Mentors will lead outings for 3-5 EC groups Thursdays through Sundays).
Summer Adventures: Our summer programs are big adventure days immersed in exploring the Northwest’s mossy forests, wild rivers, mountain meadows, tumbling waterfalls, and pebbled beaches. We are looking for candidates available for intermittent summer work for our camp and backpacking programs for youth in grades 1-12. Summer hours are episodic, with some full-time weeks and some weeks entirely off. (Program takes place late June through mid-August).
EdVentures: Wild Whatcom provides nature outings for classrooms at various elementary public schools. These 2-4 hour outings provide an opportunity for kids to connect to nature while experiencing hands-on environmental education. Mentors will co-lead a group of students through the inquiry process while modeling effective outdoor education strategies for teachers to inspire them to take their classes outside! (Program takes place on weekdays).
SEED: (Student Experiential Education and Discovery) In this program, mentors facilitate nature outings for students in the Life Skills program within Bellingham Public Schools (students with moderate to severe developmental disabilities). This fun and inspirational program allows Wild Whatcom staff to partner with Life Skills teachers to provide an opportunity for students to have access to the outdoors and to connect to nature. Program takes place on weekdays.
Neighborhood Nature: Guide after-school outings during the academic year. Program typically takes place weekdays between 1:00 and 5:00PM for eight (8) weeks each in fall and spring and six (6) weeks in winter.
Nature Lab: Our new weekday program for kids in grades K-5, Nature Lab follows an inquiry-based learning model and is aligned with typical classroom learning standards. Participants will come together Monday through Thursday for four (4) weeks to explore a different Bellingham park each week while asking questions and thinking deeply about our place and presence in the natural world. (Created due to COVID-19 school closures).
Special Projects in addition to Field Work: The position may include a variety of special project work in addition to field mentoring, especially for weeks when there is less field work scheduled. These projects vary in size, skills needed, and schedule. Potential projects include: Curricula Development, Gear Management, Office Coordination, Logistics Coordination, etc.
How to ApplyPlease submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information for two references to email@example.com with your name and “Wild Whatcom Mentor Application” in the subject line. All materials should be sent as attachments in PDF (.pdf) format. Please direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Before actual hire, prospective employees must pass a thorough background check. If any concerns arise, we will review them with the candidate and evaluate potential implications within a broader context and relevance to the position. Wild Whatcom is actively committed to social equity and justice and encourages candidates of all racial and gender identities, cultural and economic backgrounds, and of any sexual orientation to apply. Wild Whatcom is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, or marital status in employment or the provision of services.
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