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10 Dec 2019

Environment Outdoor Science Instructor

Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center – Posted by Megan Selvig Lyons, Oregon, United States

Job Description

Position: Outdoor Science Instructor
Location: Opal Creek Wilderness Area, Oregon
Work year: Seasonal: March 16 to November 20
Responsible to: Program Manager; Program Director
Compensation: $80/day, plus housing, utilities, and partial board

Who We Are
The Opal Creek watershed is 35,000 acres of protected rainforest, part of the last remaining low-elevation old-growth forest left in the Pacific Northwest. Soaring trees dripping with moss, crystal-clear streams, and a diversity of old-growth-dependent species make Opal Creek a unique gem in Oregon’s crown. At its center is the historic off-grid mining town of Jawbone Flats, our base of operations since the Opal Creek Wilderness was created in 1996.

At Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, all of our work is based around one simple idea: people will protect what they care about, and they will care about what they know. Through our outdoor school, summer camps, and workshop programs, we bring kids and adults face-to-face with the outdoor places that make Oregon great—pristine mountain streams, uncut vistas, and old-growth forests.

Who You Are
• You love teaching, but with the outdoors as your classroom. You are enticed by Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center’s mission and the prospect of connecting our students, cabin renters, and workshop participants to this beautiful place.
• You are excited to spend your summer navigating the peaks and valleys of Oregon’s wilderness areas with youth.
• A remote residential living and working environment intrigues you. You look forward to disconnecting from distraction and forming strong bonds with staff, guests, and the wilderness in your backyard.
• You are always learning. You are curious and unafraid to ask questions.
• You embrace a challenge; you are open to and excited by the unpredictability that comes with working in a 1929 mining town in the woods.
• You thrive in a collaborative environment. You value working on teams with diverse perspectives and identities.
• You have your own unique interests. Perhaps you play a musical instrument or practice bird calls. You would enjoy solo time in your cabin and social staff barbecues.

Role Impact and Responsibility
As an Outdoor Science Instructor you work with all of our diverse programs. Our teaching philosophy is inquiry based and hands-on, and you teach science by doing science. At a 1:15 Instructor-to-student ratio, you allow students to drive their own learning. You also provide excellent customer service to all guests who stay in Jawbone Flats, playing a vital part in making them feel welcome. This is a residential position and you will live at Jawbone Flats in private cabin-style housing provided by the organization. Responsibilities of the position are listed under each of our four program areas:
Outdoor School (40%)
• Teach to a variety of age groups and backgrounds, including public and private elementary, middle, and high school classes, and university programs
• Prepare lesson plans based on Opal Creek curriculum; topics include old growth forest ecology, stream ecology, geology, and cultural history
• Photograph students and lessons for Opal Creek social media
• Collect and process program participant contact information

Backpacking Expeditions (25%)
• Lead backpacking expeditions with students 10-18 years old in the Opal Creek, Bull of the Woods, and Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Areas
• Teach observational science and outdoor skills, including Leave No Trace principles, on trail
• Photograph students in the backcountry for Opal Creek social media
• Prepare food and gear for a week-long expedition
• Organize and clean gear for the following expedition

Cabin Rentals (25%)
• Provide friendly, attentive, and professional customer service
• Teach guided hikes and science spotlights upon request
• Clean cabins to rental standards
• Drive gear shuttles; load and unload cabin rental gear
• Sell merchandise to participants and the general public
• Engage with the general public as they pass through Jawbone Flats

Workshops (10%)
• Lead internal workshops
• Assist outside workshop instructors in all programming needs
• Host workshop participants, ensuring their stay is comfortable

We have a small staff and everyone is required to help in all aspects of running a remote residential facility with a diversity of programs. You may be asked to assist the kitchen and facility departments at times.

Requirements of Position
• Past teaching experience, formal or informal
• Backpacking experience
• Bachelor’s Degree in a natural science or education discipline, or equivalent experience
• Demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion through past job experience, personal activism, or other pertinent experience
• Able to lead youth on hikes up to 10 miles
• A willingness to be coached and open to feedback
• Able to lift heavy objects, up to 40 pounds when necessary
• Able to pass a background check
• Able to drive company vehicles
• Current driver’s license and able to qualify for coverage under our insurance
• Wilderness First Responder certification (by time of employment)

• $80/day, with 10-12 days worked in a bi-monthly pay period
• Independent, cabin-style housing with off-grid solar electricity
• Meals from the Jawbone Kitchen

How to Apply

Please send a resume and cover letter to Megan Selvig, Program Director, at, and be sure to address any pertinent experience relevant to this position, including professional and personal experience. Deadline is January 3rd. There are two rounds of interviews for this position. We will offer the position by end of January, with Instructors starting mid-March. The work year is March to November. Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Job Categories: Seasonal. Job Types: Environment. Job Tags: backpacking, conservation, full-time, manager, naturalist, Oregon, outdoor education, Residential, Science, teacher, trip leader, and wilderness.

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