Outdoor Educator

The Highlands Biological Foundation

Highlands, North Carolina

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $520/week
Required Experience 0 - 1 years

The Highlands Biological Foundation is recruiting Outdoor Educators to support our summer programming at the Highlands Nature Center. Tucked into a temperate rainforest at the southern edge of the Appalachians, the Highlands Nature Center is part of the Highlands Biological Station, a multi-campus center of Western Carolina University. During the summer it reaches more than 10,000 residents and visitors from across the country. In addition to natural history exhibits, staff offer free daily and weekly programs for the public, weeklong summer camps, and special events. Programs take place in the Highlands Nature Center and adjoining 11-acre Botanical Garden.

This position is essential to the success of the Highlands Nature Center. Outdoor Educators are responsible leading summer camps, which encompass a variety of exploratory, placed-based learning from children ages 4-12. Staff will also serve as program support for events conducted by the Highlands Biological Foundation, including evening lectures and programming. They work both independently and as a team under the Camp Director.

$520/week ($13/hr) and on-site housing. Outdoor Educators will share living quarters and rooms in our campus dorms. They will also receive First Aid and CPR certifications.

Opportunities to develop on-site curriculum and contribute to on-going programs are available.

Hours: Outdoor Educators work an average of 40 hours a week. Days may begin as early as 8:00 AM or end as late as 10:30 PM. No overtime is available. Some evenings are required. Willingness to work a flexible schedule is a must. Position dates are May 15 – Aug 12; however, flexibility with dates is possible.


Primary responsibilities include:

  • Preparing and leading week-long day camps for youth ages 4 to 12
  • Developing and presenting environmental educational programs for diverse audiences (e.g. garden tours, “neighborhood naturalists”)
  • Answering questions about local natural areas and recreational opportunities
  • Assisting with special events and evening programs for the general public

Other duties include:

  • Driving state vehicles
  • Opening, staffing, and closing the Nature Center in case of emergency
  • Setting up and operating A/V systems

Education and Experience:
Preference will be given to candidates with a degree (or enrolled in a degree program) in biology, zoology, botany, environmental science, science education, outdoor recreation, or other related fields.

Ideal candidates should have experience in at least one of the following areas: supervising children; visitor’s center, camp, or similar setting; or handling and caring for animals.

Knowledge and Skills:
Proficiency in dealing with the public is a must. Knowledge of the flora and fauna of the southern Appalachians is very desirable. Familiarity with a variety of environmental education programs such as Project WILD is desirable.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands:
Outdoor Educators will spend extended periods of time outdoors in all weather and hike up to three miles on uneven terrain. They may be occasionally asked to assist Station or Foundation employees in the office, maintenance shop, Nature Center, or Botanical Garden. These jobs may include heavy lifting (≤ 50 lbs).

Other Qualifications:
Applicants must be U.S. citizens and possess a valid driver’s license. They must also successfully pass a background check.


Apply with a cover letter, resume, and list of 3 professional references with phone numbers and emails via Western Carolina University at https://jobs.wcu.edu/postings/22880. Applications must be received by March 6th, 2023. For questions, contact Holly Theobald at holly@highlandsbiological.org

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

Category Environmental Education, Outdoor Recreation
Tags Nature Center