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Environmental Education Member – USFWS Region 6 Great Plains Nature Center

American Conservation Experience in partnership with US Fish & Wildlife Service

Wichita, Kansas

Job Type AmeriCorps
Salary Details $650/week

Environmental Education Member – USFWS Region 6 Great Plains Nature Center

Summary
American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is seeking ONE Environmental Education Member to advance the Region 6 National Wildlife Refuge System Urban Wildlife Conservation Program efforts of developing a more connected conservation community. The overall project will help establish community connections and allow increased outdoor recreation opportunities while providing communities with culturally relevant programs. The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program focuses on engaging diverse communities in nature-based experiences in cities across the country.

This project is based out of the Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita, KS. The selected individual will work directly with FWS and other education staff at the Great Plains Nature Center (GPNC) to collaborate on program creation and special events. The individual will work with local school personnel, local educational organizations, and community partners to implement programming on and off-site in the greater Wichita area. The intern will have hands-on experience working with ambassador animals on programs. Additionally, the intern will help welcome guests at the visitor center and enhance the visitor experience at the Great Plains Nature Center.

For more information about ACE, please visit: www.usaconservation.org.

Start Date: May/June 2024
Estimated End Date: May/June 2025
*a 52-week minimum commitment is required**

Location Details/Description: Great Plains Nature Center (GPNC) – Wichita, Kansas

The GPNC is a cooperative project between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks, City of Wichita, and the Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center nonprofit organization. These Partners share a common goal of providing opportunities for the public to investigate, understand and develop an appreciation for wildlife and the environment, while promoting sound stewardship of natural resources.

The GPNC serves an estimated 223,000 individuals annually through trail visitations, educational programs, and special events. The GPNC consists of Chisholm Creek Park and the visitor center. Chisholm Creek Park is 282 acres of wetlands, ponds, restored grasslands and woodlands and contains 2.5 miles of paved trails. The trails are used regularly for wildlife photography, trail walks/runs, birding and fishing. The visitor center consists of an educational exhibit hall, lobby with live animals, auditorium, and gift shop. Both trails and visitor center are used for on-site programming as well as community visitation. 

For more information about the  Great Plains Nature Center, please visit https://gpnc.org/

Position Overview: 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. This position will help FWS realize its mission at the GPNC.. 

The Environmental Education member will assist with and provide environmental education programs, implement interpretive nature programs, and assist public use events associated with the GPNC and the FWS.

The member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff in the following tasks:

  • Develop and conduct research for educational programs and products including a program outline and resource materials, utilizing  interpretive techniques for educating about Great Plains wildlife conservation. 
  • Present interpretive nature programs individually and collaboratively with staff  for urban and rural audiences of widely varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds. They will present interpretive nature programs for adult and youth groups, assisting with special nature related workshops, clinics, classes/ special events and assisting with revisions of activities and programs. 
  • Collaborate closely with State, City and non-profit partners at the GPNC for educational initiatives and projects.
  • Communicate effectively with school personnel and other representatives to coordinate scheduling and logistics of programming.
  • Advance the Region 6 National Wildlife Refuge System Urban Wildlife Conservation Program efforts of developing a more connected conservation community. The overall project will help establish community connections and allow increased outdoor recreation opportunities while providing communities with culturally relevant programs. 
  • Implement 3 – 5 new initiatives discussed in their plan.  

Additionally, the selected candidate will help clean and maintain displays, live animals, buildings and offices, assisting with the development of new programs and activities, providing information on natural areas, wildlife, and nature to visitors and the public (including telephone and email requests), and assisting with building duties on weekdays and weekends as assigned.This individual placement is meant to facilitate professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with professionals. This could include gaining experience in different conservation fields and shadowing different work groups including Federal, State, City and non-profit entities who partner with GPNC.

Schedule: Duties will typically  be carried out between 8am and 5pm  Central Time, Monday - Friday.  Bi-weekly totals should not exceed 80 hours. A flexible work schedule may be required, which could involve work performed outside of normal work hours including on evenings and weekends. Time off may be granted and requests should be directed to ACE and the FWS for approval.

Position Benefits

Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute ~40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $650/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.

AmeriCorps Education Award Program: This position may be eligible for an 1700-hour AmeriCorps Education Award while serving under the EAP 2023/24 grant year program, valued up to $6,895 upon successful completion of a complete service term and 1700 hrs. 

Loan Forbearance: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for federal loan forbearance. Additional enrollment steps are required.  

Qualifying Child Care Coverage: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for qualifying child care coverage. Additional enrollment steps are required.  

Public Land Corps Hiring Authority: Members serving under this agreement may be eligible for a federal hiring authority upon completion of their term of service and 640 hours of service. If the duration of a PLC-eligible term is not long enough for Members to accrue 640 hours of service (~16 weeks), the total hours served at the completion of the term may be eligible to be combined with hours accrued from another PLC-eligible term to meet the 640 hours requirement. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship. Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility, or view general information online: https://www.usaconservation.org/epic/#eligibility-requirements.

Housing: Housing is the responsibility of the member and not provided by ACE or FWS. A weekly housing allowance of $150/week will be provided to the member for the duration of the term (maximum of 52 weeks) to help offset the cost of housing.

Gear Reimbursement:  ACE members will have up to $200 to spend on eligible gear purchases. Eligible gear for this position must be approved by ACE staff prior to purchase. 

Provided Training/Orientation: ACE members will receive position specific training and an orientation outlining ACE policies and procedures, clear guidance on prohibited activities, and networks for support. Specific training may include onsite animal handling training and interpretation instruction.

Scholarship Funding Opportunity:  The selected candidate(s) for this position will be eligible to apply for ACE’s Access and Inclusion Scholarship. This is a $500 grant which is intended to make participation in ACE positions more accessible to individuals who are underrepresented in the conservation field. Scholarship recipients will be able to allocate this funding to financial need(s) of their choosing. A limited number of scholarships are available. 

Qualifications 

Required:

  • Members must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, as required by U.S. government contracts
  • Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner. 
  • Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
  • A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
  • Willing to undergo and must pass the required three-part criminal history check. 
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • ACE Members will need to complete bi-weekly timesheets, beginning of term feedback forms, end of term evaluations and for longer terms, a mid-term evaluation. 
  • Member may not participate in any prohibited activities as listed in the Member Service Agreement or as defined by AmeriCorps. 
  • To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website: https://www.usaconservation.org/epic/#eligibility-requirements

Preferred:

  • Competitive applicants for this position will hold and/or have relevant experience in subject areas such as environmental education, education, wildlife biology, environmental science, natural resources, parks and recreation, ecology or other related disciplines appropriate to the position or equivalent job experience in the realm of outreach, interpretation or education.
  • Experience with teaching formal and informal educational programming.

Physical Demands, Work Environment and Working Conditions:

  • Physical Demands: This position requires physical exertion such as hiking long distances over hot, wet and rough terrain; bending, crouching, stooping, lifting or reaching, talking and hearing. Manual dexterity required for use of various tools, computer keyboard/mouse and other office equipment and may involve fine and precise procedures, delicate adjustments or exact measurements. 
  • Vision Requirements: Requires close, distance, peripheral and depth perception vision as well as the ability to focus.
  • Weight Lifted or Force Exerted: Frequently moves up to 20 lbs., ability to move up to 40 lbs.
  • Environmental: Indoor and outdoor conditions. Work environment conditions can change frequently; working under adverse weather conditions and in various climates. 
  • Noise Environment: Moderate noise such as in a business office with equipment and light traffic.. 
  • Travel: This position may require domestic travel to nearby Refuges/sites (<2-hour drive).

Environmental Conditions/Hazards: 

The ACE member may encounter environmental conditions/hazards including extreme heat or cold, rocky terrain, wetland conditions, biting insects, high humidity, and potentially dangerous wildlife. The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members or resources. 

Vehicle and Equipment Use/Safety:  If a vehicle is required for the accomplishment of the duties, one will be provided by the FWS or ACE.  Any tools required for the accomplishment of the duties will be provided by the FWS. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), provided by the FWS, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it. Strict adherence to FWS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required. 

HOW TO APPLY

To Apply: Please submit your resume, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/. Early consideration will be given as resumes are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC USFWS Program Manager, Nich Jackosky, at njackosky@usaconservation.org.

EEO: Employment with ACE is based upon ability, qualifications, attitude, and job-related factors. Every qualified employee or applicant has the same opportunity for recruitment, hire, training, transfer, promotion, compensation, demotion, termination, benefits, employee activities, and general treatment without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, gender, national origin, pregnancy, ancestry, citizenship status, genetic information (including of a family member), veteran or military status, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, medical condition, marital or parental status, political affiliation, ethnicity, hair texture or style, arrest record, caste, hereditary status, endogamy, or any other classification protected by applicable local, state, or federal law.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Environmental Education
Tags Conservation Corps , Naturalist , Nature Center