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Science/Nature Program Instructor

Kestrel Educational Adventures

Beverly, Massachusetts

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details Per diem. $20-$23 per hour
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

Science/Nature Program Instructor: Flexible start date in March 2023. Runs through June with option to extend through the summer. 20-30 hours per week.

NOTE: Please apply only if you live within 40 minutes drive of Beverly, Massachusetts, or have definite plans to re-locate here by March, 2023. Housing here is expensive and unfortunately the per diem job will not, on its own, support a move to the area.

The Science/Nature Program Instructor will design and lead science adventures for kids in K-12th grade at outdoor sites throughout the North Shore. Classes are largely outdoors, with some indoor project components.

We teach natural science and adventure education through direct, student centered investigations in the natural world, and creative projects. Our approach is to use connection to small local wild places and to plants and animals as touch points for understanding science, building community, and nurturing emotional health. All our programs are focused on original observations, thoughtful understanding, and students’ ideas. We are silly and playful and also very serious about learning and teaching. Our instructors are skilled naturalists who understand and are unendingly curious about the natural world, and about our students and their ideas. We use a constructivist, inquiry based learning model and child-led learning. We do not use "turnkey" activities with pre planned outcomes, or lecture type teaching. We allow the natural world itself to inspire care and passion for conservation, rather than teaching values explicitly. Our programs are fun, exporatory, messy, muddy, sandly, wild, and different every day.

Some programs may be one hour and occur only once, while others will involve working with groups regularly throughout the semester. All programs are custom tailored to the audience.

In addition to planning and preparing and delivering programming, the instructor, as a core member of a very small team, will also be responsible for other roles within the organization as needed. 

Kestrel takes covid prevention protocols seriously. All instructors must be fully vaccinated against covid, and high quality masks are (still!) required when indoors in some situations (and are provided).

Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with other education staff to custom -build experiential science and nature programs for schools and other groups
  • Facilitate outdoor and indoor in person ecology programs for students in preschool through high school, to be custom designed for each group
  • Cultivate students’ science process skills and ecological literacy; mentoring them to ask and answer questions, and to use direct observation, analytical thinking, and collaborative design to do so
  • Facilitate the development of outdoor skills such as fire crafting, compass navigation, and shelter building, using our ForestBook Skills Tracker.
  • Maintain excellent group management and build a strong learning culture that values ideas, creativity, real science, and inclusion
  • Care for student physical and emotional safety in outdoor settings
  • Commit to working against racism, homophobia, and other forms of systemic injustice through culturally responsive teaching and group management practices
  • Travel to sites throughout the North Shore to instruct programs, in your own vehicle or in our equipment van
  • Pack up supplies from our storage area, and thoroughly clean, disinfect, and organize them when finished using them
  • Participate fully in preparation and thorough debrief of each day of classes
  • Other tasks relevant to the operation of  programming, possibly to include organization and care of equipment, ordering and purchase of materials, basic care of grounds and building, assistance with enrollment, registration, and outreach, care of small animals, upkeep of website, and maintenance of social media presence. (Most of these tasks are shared among our small staff, as we have only program staff and no executive or maintenance staff).

Qualifications

  • Undergraduate or advanced degree in education or environmental field, or equivalent experience
  • CPR/First Aid current certification required, lifeguarding certificate preferred but not required
  • Strong knowledge of New England Natural History, or the natural history of a similar region. We strongly prefer a candidate who has an area of expertise or at least basic comfort with natural history. (Ability to recognize and identify at least some categories of local organisms)
  • 1 or more years experience teaching children in classroom and/or field settings, or experience as a field naturalist or field biologist along with a natural affinity for education and a high comfort level instructing groups of young children
  • Experience teaching in - depth, cumulative science skills and natural history, ideally using essential questions and adapting lessons to students’ ideas, interests, skills, and spontaneous events in nature.
  • Willingness to relinquish some predictability and control in favor of authentic student voice and genuine inquiry
  • Trust in children’s ability to construct learning and meaning for themselves with guidance, and ability to provide flexible enough learning experiences to allow them to do so
  • Comfort handling small, harmless wildlife, including insects, amphibians, and reptiles.
  • A supportive and non-punitive approach to group and behavior management.
  • Willingness to work towards systemic equality
  • Ability to provide structure and boundaries to students to support positive behaviors
  • Ability to carry up to 30 pounds, and to walk uphill on or off trails up to 2 miles a day, in all weather (though we rarely walk more than a mile on any school program)
  • Strong concern for the natural environment and an interest in working towards its protection by educating young people
  • An appreciation of all living things and the natural environment, and a hardy willingness to properly prepare for and enjoy outdoor explorations in any weather
  • Your own reliable vehicle with ample empty space for transporting teaching equipment, and a clean driver's license. (We pay for your mileage and hours to and from job sites, starting from the office). There also may be an option to drive our 10 passenger van to sites instead of your car.
  • Ready willingness to accept both positive and constructive feedback, and to be part of a culture that values supportive feedback and constant professional growth for all
  • Ability to teach and make decisions as part of a collaborative team
  • Enthusiasm for the process of teaching and willingness to be a reflective educator, constantly fine tuning your skills and lesson plans

About Kestrel:

Kestrel Educational Adventures is a very small 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based out of Beverly, Massachusetts. We have been in existence for 20 years and have been working with some of our partner groups nearly that long. We offer place-based natural science adventures for schools, family groups, and the general public. Our participants learn through direct experiences in the local natural world, guided by qualified instructors with flexible plans. We believe in building a better and more sustainable world through excellent, student – centered natural science education. Our program instructors guide children in developing their abilities to make and share original discoveries and understand complex natural systems, or sometimes just to find nature connection nearby. We believe that everyone should develop their own values through experience, and that this is the most powerful route to sustainability and conservation action. We teach everyone that they should wander, explore, touch, imagine, and live in the natural world. Because of our small size, we do not have any staff housing facilities. We do have a great place to work and lots of opportunities to learn. Our total staff numbers vary seasonally between 1 and 4.

HOW TO APPLY

To Apply: Email a resume and cover letter, detailing why you are interested in Kestrel specifically, and how your skills and experience meet the qualifications of the position. Please be specific about your interest in Kestrel's approach to teaching. If you are applying from more than 30 minutes drive away from Beverly, MA, please comment on your plans for re-location and whether you've already looked into opportunities for housing or have somewhere to stay in the area.

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

Category Environmental Education, Outdoor Recreation
Tags Naturalist