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21 Dec 2023

Other Outdoor Naturalist Tour Guide

Evergreen Escapes – Posted by jazmin@evergreenescapes.com Seattle, Washington, United States

Job Description

What is it like to be a Guide?

It sounds like the best job in the world, right? Spending your days outdoors, hiking through stunning scenery, meeting interesting people from around the globe. We have the best guides in the business, and we try to make it all look effortless and fun.

So, is it really the best job in the world? I think so – but it is not for everyone. Like any job, it comes with its own set of stresses and joys. This might give you some insight as to whether these are the right stresses and joys for you.

The days at Evergreen Escapes are long but rewarding. We are typically “on” for 12, 14 hours a day. There are breaks in the action, but guides must calmly work hard all day with an audience, problem-solve on the fly, and have enough energy to keep the group engaged throughout the day. The pace of the day can seem like a magic trick to the guests. As the guide you must keep everyone on schedule and herd your group throughout the day without making it feel rushed or too structured.

It follows that you probably won’t get in a good workout every day. Some groups walk much slower than others but occasionally you’ll get an active group who wants to get in as many miles as possible. You are part of the group, yet apart from the group. It’s their vacation, not yours. This means you can’t always say what you think or can’t always kick back with everyone else because you have tasks to do.

But you will meet some great, fun-loving people who are having an absolute blast. They might surprise you – and themselves – by cutting loose, finishing a climb or putting in a higher number of miles than they expected. Their triumphant smiles are priceless. You will find something to celebrate in each guest. Sometimes this takes no effort, sometimes a ton. And sometimes you will discover a kindred spirit who you will stay in touch with forever.

Sometimes on the second day of back-to-back tours when I feel a little tired, I just think to myself, here we are on a gorgeous day, in the Pacific Northwest, having a great adventure – and this is my office, this is my work – to connect people to nature, to snap photos, and make memories.
At Evergreen, storytelling is the method with which we connect our guests to our region. The story begins with the Escape Artist: How did you end up as a guide for Evergreen Escapes? What makes you passionate about your role with Evergreen Escapes? What is the story of our region? However, the whole adventure is part of the Cascadian story and each component of your tour or program connects to this narrative.

Thanks for checking us out. I hope to continue the conversation and learn what kind of adventures you’re looking for!

Naturalist Tour Guide Job Description

Although it is preferred, you do not need to have all of these skills or qualifications in order to apply. If there are any missing, we expect that you will be eager to bridge the gap if you are hired.

Position

Naturalist Tour Guide
Based in in Seattle, WA
Leading small, luxury nature adventures and urban tours in the Pacific Northwest region.

General Info

The Evergreen Escapes guides lead small group, public and private, nature day tours that depart from Seattle, WA. Evergreen Escapes seeks guides for the 2024 peak season with the possibility of long-term positions for the right candidate(s). We operate tours year-round; tour volume is highest May through October, during which time we need Full Time Hourly, Part Time Hourly, and Flex Hourly guides to join our existing veteran staff.

Skills and Qualifications
Required
1. An innate love of the outdoors and sharing experiences with fellow travelers
2. Exemplary customer service with guests, fellow guides, and other tour partners (you must be able to maintain a positive, customer first attitude for up to 14 hours a day, even if challenges arise)
3. Be able to prioritize guest safety and comfort in a variety of different climates and scenarios
4. Resident of greater Seattle or willingness to relocate (a must).
5. Experience in environmental, outdoor, and/or adventure education (semi-confident naturalists required).
6. Demonstrated knowledge of and passion for ecology, natural history, and environmental systems
7. Responsible, independent, creative-thinking, self-starting, charismatic individual.
8. Clean driving record and ability to pass a DOT medical exam.
9. Comfortable driving 15-passenger vans in all conditions (city streets under heavy traffic through winter mountain roads requiring chains to be installed/removed).
10. Within first two weeks of hire, must have completed CPR and 1st Aid (WFR is preferred), DOT medical examiner’s certificate (minor physical), In-House Driver training, and WA Food Handlers permit
11. Ability to lift 40 lbs/18 kg.
12. Pass a Washington State Patrol background check.

Desired – Not Required
4-year degree or higher
1. Experience in Leadership development, team building, and/or group facilitation
2. Minimum 1 year or experience as an educator and/or interpretive guide
3. Knowledge of naturalist specialties which may include anthropology, birding, botany, geology, glaciology, or volcanology.
4. Pertinent adventure certifications, including: WFR, Leave No Trace, and/or avalanche Level 1.
5. Multilingual.
6. Innate desire to be a more kind, more curious, and more-frequently outdoors human being.

Duties & Responsibilities
Pre-Tour
• Pre-tour research is required to prepare you for the day. This may include checking weather conditions, traffic alerts and possible road closures, checking your manifest and familiarizing yourself with guest’s names and any relevant information. With this information you’ll come up with your itinerary for the day.

Tour
• Begin the day at our office in Sodo, Seattle (The Adventure Hub or Hub). Pick up the vehicle and equipment from the Hub. Load the vehicle with the supplies for the day. This may include drink cooler, food cooler, lunch kit, breakfast kit, extra clothing, sunscreen, snowshoes, trekking poles, maps, guidebooks, etc.
• Pick up all guests from their downtown hotels at a predetermine location and time.
• Safely drive your guests in all weather conditions in a 12 or 15 passenger van.
• Deliver the best tour itinerary possible for your guests while providing interpretation and sharing your knowledge of the flora, fauna, environmental systems, and history along the way.
• Serve coffee/tea, snacks, beverages, and lunch throughout the day.
• Provide value add opportunities for your guests including scenic viewpoints, stops of interest, interpretive storytelling and more.
• Return guests to their hotel and drive back to the Hub.
Post Tour
• Fill up the vehicle with gas and return to the Hub.
• Unload the van, removing all tour supplies, trash and personal items.
• Rinse and load all dirty dishes in the dishwasher, put away leftover food, place tour linens in the laundry, and return any equipment to its storage location.
• Complete administrative DOT paperwork for your tour and then clock out for the day.
Expectations throughout the day
• Promote safety through all aspects of the tour (driving, hiking, snowshoeing, etc.)
• Facilitate a worry-free experience for guests
• Provide 5-star guest service for individuals from various backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures
• Prepare and deliver quality interpretive information throughout the tour experience
• Maintain high energy levels throughout a 12–14-hour work day
• Respond to and anticipates guests’ needs and strive to exceed expectations
• Complete tour administration tasks in a timely manner
This position is flexible and requires a unique knowledge of the National Parks and Outdoor areas you are working in. No two days are going to be the same due to the dynamic nature of the working locations, weather, and the diverse needs of your guests. You must feel comfortable and confident working independently in a changing environment and handling guest needs professionally and appropriately throughout a long workday.

The Details
Let’s be honest – guiding is not a way to get rich quick. But it is a great way to get paid for doing something you love.
Your first season is a chance for us to evaluate you – and for you to evaluate us. There’s no better way to decide if a job is right for you than to dive in and try it. New hires are offered a job offer for the season and those that are a good fit for the position and company culture will receive an invitation to return in the following years.
Compensation + Expenses
This position offers an hourly rate with opportunities for advancement and raises as a first-year guide. Guides can expect to make approximately $2000 – $3500/month with tips during busy season, depending on time commitment. All guides are paid hourly – this is just an average based on a 13-hour workday.
Higher starting rates apply to those with appropriate certifications and experience. We also offer bonuses for customer reviews or for leading VIP, corporate group and private trips. Guides may also receive customer gratuities, corporate gratuities, and potential reimbursements for training completed while on staff (i.e. WFR recertification, etc.).
Employees are provided with an evaluation and pay increase based on the guide pay schedule metrics following the end of their first season, typically in October and annually thereafter.
To cover tour expenses, guides are provided with a Company Credit Card at the beginning of each day to pay for park entry fees, ferry fees and gas.
Schedule
We offer three types of employment options depending on both company and applicant needs:
Full Time: Full time guides work 5-6 tours (65-85 hours) per pay period.

Part Time: Part time guides work 2-4 tours (25-50 hours) per pay period. This schedule works well for applicants with other commitments such as jobs or school.
Flex Time: Flex time guides work 1-3 tours (12-40 hours) per month (2 pay periods). **We will only consider applicants with very strong guiding experience for flex positions.
Our veteran guides (1+ years with the company) are offered priority for scheduling preferences. All guides are expected to be available on weekends, summer season holidays, and occasional “all hands on deck” days.

Seasonality
We are a highly seasonal company and run the bulk of our annual business between May – October. Guides can expect to receive full time work between June – September and part time work in May and October as we ramp up and wind down from the peak season. For this reason, we expect guides to be committed for the entire busy season and to not request extended time off (more than 5 consecutive days) between May – October.

Hiring & Training

After reviewing applications, a member of our staff will contact you to set up an initial phone screening interview. Qualified candidates will then be invited to a full video interview with two of our team members.

The final step of our interview process is to shadow one of our guides on a full tour day as a guest (you are not expected or encouraged to work/guide during this day). This is the best method for ensuring that this position is a good match for your skills and abilities and is required before receiving a formal offer letter. (Exceptions have been made in the past in the case that you are from out of state and unable to shadow a tour before the beginning of the season, however we do believe it is in your best interest to make this happen if possible).

Newly hired guides are expected to attend at least one of the training sessions listed below and typically shadow 3-4 more tours before leading their own tour.

• April 29th – May 2nd
• May 14th – 16th
• June 17th – 19th

For the 2024 Season, we will be hiring two waves of guides. The first group will have a start date of April 29th and the second group will have a start date of June 16th. You can expect to be in training for the first 2-3 weeks before leading your first tour. The more available you are to schedule your shadow tours, the quicker you will progress through training.

On your first working tour, you will be paired with a senior guide who will give you feedback on how you’re doing and help find areas for improvement. You will not be asked to guide solo until Evergreen Escapes, and you are comfortable doing so.

A few more good things to know:
1. Car: We highly recommend that people have their own motor vehicle. Due to the early mornings and late returns, we think it works best for applicants to have a car once they become employees.
2. A basic background check & driving record check will be performed.
3. Age: In order for us to insure our drivers, you must be at least 21 years old.
4. Experience working with children and families in an outdoor environment a plus.

Thank you for your interest.
We look forward to meeting you!

How to Apply

How to Apply: Please review the requirements and expectations above. Reflect on the job description and address why you think this job is a good fit for you. When you are ready to apply, please send your resume, cover letter and your answers to the following questions to kenzi@evergreenescapes.com Application Questions – 1. Are you looking for full, part or flex time work? 2. Do you have any extended periods of time off needed during the 2024 season? 3. Are you currently based in the Seattle area? 4. What does it mean to be a Naturalist Guide to you? We are accepting the first round of applications for the Naturalist Guide position now – January. Qualified applicants will be contacted by our team to set up an initial screening interview in early February. Depending on the company needs, we will host a second and third round of applications throughout the late winter/early spring, so if you are interested in this position, please still send your application materials to our team.

Job Categories: Seasonal. Job Types: Other Outdoor. Job Tags: full-time and part time.

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