Senior Environmental Educator - Williamsburg

James River Association (JRA)

Williamsburg, Virginia

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $40,000 - $45,000
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

The James River Association (JRA) is seeking a Senior Environmental Educator to be based in its headquarters office at Neck of Land in Williamsburg, Virginia.

James River Association:

Founded in 1976, the James River Association (JRA) is the oldest and largest river conservation group in Virginia, and the only organization solely dedicated to protecting and restoring America’s Founding River, the James River.  JRA has offices in Richmond, Lynchburg and Williamsburg, as well as a James River Ecology School on Presquile National Wildlife Refuge.  JRA works through its five core program areas - Watershed Restoration, Education, Outreach, River Advocacy, and our Riverkeeper program to pursue its mission.  

JRA Education Program:

JRA’s education team consists of 8 full-time staff, and 9 part time staff responsible for program coordination and on-the-ground implementation of JRA’s education programs. JRA runs educational programs from three main offices; Williamsburg, Richmond, and Lynchburg.  JRA’s education programs shape the next generation of stewards of the James River through meaningful river-based learning experiences that inspire confidence, ecological understanding, nature appreciation, and conservation action.  These programs annually serve approximately 11,000 youth in 1st – 12th grade classrooms and extra-curriculum youth groups with day-long and multi-day educational experiences through:

    • NOAA BWET Grant – In May of 2021 JRA received a NOAA BWET grant to work with 3 different school districts within the James River Watershed. The three school districts are Surry, Amherst, and Hopewell. JRA will conduct MWEE investigations with all three school districts. 
    • James River Leadership Expedition: A 9-month leadership program that is composed of 4 educational sessions. Session one is a 5 day down-river environmental learning adventure for rising 9th thru 11th grade students in the James River. Sessions 2, 3 and 4 are focused on students creating capstone projects that focus on community outreach. 
    • James River Explorations:  A one day on-the-water program based on canoes/kayaks or JRA’s education boat. Work with many local school systems; Hampton, Newport News, York, Williamsburg, New Kent, Surry.
    • General Education:   Youth programs and activities at JRA events, classroom presentations, and other specialized service projects. 

Position Summary:

JRA is seeking an experienced educator who is an enthusiastic leader with managerial experience and excellent communications skills to help manage JRA’s existing education programs.  The Senior Environmental Educator position will ensure success and high standards of excellence for all JRA environmental education programming through the oversight and managerial support of JRA education programs and staff. The Senior Environmental Educator will report to JRA’s Lower James Education Manager. 


  • Working with JRA staff and partners to develop and sustain new and existing education initiatives to further JRA’s mission and vision for a healthy James River.
  • Overseeing kayak and canoe paddle education programs. Programs are focused on 6th-12th grade
  • Facilitating a supportive, positive, team environment that prioritizes an inclusive community needs-based approach to program development, planning, and analysis.
  • Mentoring and supporting education staff in program development, coordination, and implementation.
  • Grant proposal writing and quarterly reporting to secure necessary financial support for education program implementation.
  • Booking, scheduling, and coordinating education programs with teachers and JRA education program staff, boat captains and crew.
  • Lead 85% -90% of the field-based educational programming including weekend, and extended field programs that can last up to 5-days in length.
  • Maintaining strong communication with partners including boat captains and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff.
  • Building and sustaining strong relationships with school administrative staff, teachers, youth groups and organizational partners to strengthen programming outcomes and ensure high retention of participation in JRA education programs.
  • Leading outreach to schools and youth groups to recruit teacher and student participation in JRA education programs.
  • Overseeing seasonal and annual maintenance and upkeep for the Lower James River Ecology School facilities and education vessel.
  • Engaging with national, state, and regional environmental education networks to strengthen overall impact, effectiveness, and support for environmental education efforts in the James River watershed.
  • Assisting with organization-wide initiatives including grass-roots campaigns, large-scale restoration projects, and special fundraising and community awareness events.


Professional and other Qualifications:

  • Must have a deep commitment to environmental and conservation issues, especially as related to the James River.
  • Must have at least 4 years of experience in the field of environmental, outdoor, and/or experiential education, and a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in environmental science, science education, or a related field.  Strong working knowledge of best practices in providing environmental education experience for secondary school-aged youth is required.
  • Must have thorough knowledge of watershed systems and water quality issues.  James River specific knowledge highly preferred.
  • Must have experience managing education programs. 
  • Must have strong written and oral communication skills and be able to effectively convey JRA’s mission and vision with diverse audiences of youth, educators, donors, partners, and the general public.
  • Must have the ability to build and sustain strong relationships with program partners and volunteers.
  • Must be able to manage multiple projects concurrently, including schedules, budgets and reports.
  • Must be able to take initiative and work independently in a deadline-driven environment, with attention to detail. 
  • Must be willing to travel throughout the James River watershed to implement projects as well as flexibility to work weekends as programming requires.
  • Must be able to lift 45 pounds in order to move equipment (canoes, kayaks, etc.).
  • Must have a valid Driver’s License.
  • Experience leading camping and canoeing trips with children and/or adults is a plus.
  • Experience with lesson plans that are in accordance with Virginia Standards of Learning is a plus.


JRA offers a dynamic and flexible work environment.  This is a full-time, exempt position. A generous and comprehensive benefits package is provided, including 4 weeks of PTO, 11 paid holidays, 4% 401(k) match, fully paid employee only health and dental coverage, Life and LTD insurance. Salary will be commensurate with experience; expected salary range $40-$45k.  JRA is an equal opportunity employer.


To apply for this position, please submit your resume and cover letter with salary history by email to or by mail to:

Katie Ferrell/Nat Draper

James River Association

211 Rocketts Way, Suite 200

Richmond, VA 23231

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