Natural Science Educator

Natural Science Educator Position Available

Job Title: Natural Science Educator

Supervisor:Education Manager

Classification:  Part-time, non-exempt

Hours: Part-time (up to 20 hours per week)

Saturday and Sunday 8:30am-5:30pm and some weekday 9am-4pm

Pay: Pay is commensurate with experience

To Apply: Please submit cover letter and resume to meagan@westcave.org

Application Deadline: Rolling

A lifetime enjoying and protecting nature!

The mission of Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center isto inspire people to develop a lifelong practice of protecting and enjoying nature.We connect children and their families to nature by providing experiences and programs that foster the discovery, exploration, and conservation of the natural world.

Our 76-acre preserve is one of the most diverse properties in the Texas Hill Country. Located in Southwest Travis County, we are at the center of one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. Protecting this beautiful land, which is home hundreds of plant species, dozens of mammals and to the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler and Bee Creek Cave Harvestman, attracting birders and nature lovers from all over the world, has become more important than ever.

While many places offer opportunities for self-led nature activities, Westcave has dedicated staff who provides weekday environmental education programs and tours to more than 3,500 children annually. Students learn complex and essential scientific concepts in the best classroom of all: our 76-acre preserve and our nationally renowned Warren Skaaren Environmental Learning Center. An additional 6,000 visitors participate in weekend guided hikes down to the canyon or other specialty programs.

Our mission is a complete approach to advocacy and demonstrates our commitment to natural science education and conservation for today and the future. Additional information on Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center is available at www.westcave.org.

Job Summary

The Natural Science Educator performs a wide variety of jobs at Westcave that support our education work. This includes guided public hikes, specialty programs, field trips for students, and other experiences during the week and on weekends. Education staff also support training volunteers, new staff members, and help the conservation team with maintenance mowing around parking lot and building areas. This position is perfect for a curious and active person looking to further their experience in interpretation and informal education of the natural world.

As a Natural Science Educator, you will lead visitors during the weekends and some weekdays on a 1.5 hour educational guided hike into the Preserve’s magnificent waterfall, grotto and cave. This is considered a “moderate to strenuous” hike, primarily because of the 126 uneven steps that lead in and out of the canyon. Public guided tours are currently offered Friday-Sunday and other times during the week. Natural Science Educators typically lead up to two tours during public operations each day and provide information on the Preserve’s natural history, geology and biology. Extensive training will be provided for all new hires. When not leading tours, Natural Science Educators support the welcome desk, sell Westcave merchandise, promote Westcave membership registration, interact with a diverse group of volunteers and education staff, clean and maintain Westcave’s public restrooms and Environmental Learning Center, as well as other assigned tasks to support the operations of the Preserve.

As the Natural Science Educator, the employee may also assist during the week with Westcave Preserve field trip programs. Westcave’s field trips take a group of students on a guided hike through the Preserve down to the Canyon, leading discussions related to a set of established natural science education programs. Students will range in age from preschool – high school, but primarily elementary. Additional programs and specialty hikes may be provided for camp, scout, and adult groups primarily in the summer and occasional weekdays.

Westcave Preserve is located approximately 45 minutes from downtown Austin in southwest Travis County.

Position Responsibilities/Duties

Generally:

  • Be able to work independently and collaboratively as part of a team.
  • Support the Westcave Culture of collaboration, respect, hard work, and transparency.
  • Articulate and effectively communicate Westcave’s mission and values to others.
  • Preform occasional repair and maintenance work for facilities and groups as needed
  • Help collect and possibly create media for Westcave’s social media and marketing initiatives.
  • Assist with all other assigned tasks to support the operation of the preserve.

 Natural Science Educator:

  • Support Westcave operations during field trips and public guided hikes.
  • Support set up and shutdown of the Preserve programs and operations
  • Lead public guided hikes during the weekends and some weekdays, providing information on the Preserve’s natural history, geology and biology.
  • Lead field trips through Westcave Preserve and provide age-appropriate education on the Preserve’s natural history, geology, and biology.
  • Lead adult or youth tours that support the group’s goals.
  • Welcome visitors and check guests into our reservation system.
  • Process monetary transactions for merchandise, donations, and tour sales, and reconcile income.
  • Provide assistance with curriculum development when needed.
  • Assist with special events and weekend programing when needed.
  • Assist with other duties including housekeeping of visitor center, grounds, and restrooms daily.
  • Create a fun, educational environment for all guests.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in natural science, environmental science, education, outdoor recreation, or the equivalent of related work experience preferred.
  • Reliable transportation
  • Natural history knowledge preferred
  • Experience working with groups of children, adults, and families.
  • Interest in conservation, environmental research, health, and wellness.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Commitment to Westcave’s mission and goals.
  • Can work independently and collaboratively with others as a team.
  • Skill in operating computer software programs.
  • Passion for inspiring a love of nature in others.
  • Physically able to lead multiple hikes into/out of the Preserve’s canyon in a single day and to assist with land and facility maintenance projects.
  • Physically able to handle inclement weather and lift up to 30 pounds.
  • Flexible schedule with the ability to work weekends and occasional evenings
  • Eager participation as a team member who readily helps others as needed.
  • Bilingual in Spanish preferred, Spanish speakers are highly encouraged to apply
  • Criminal background check required
  • CPR and First Aid Certification preferred (available as part of training)