Association for Environmental & Outdoor education

Nature Instructor - Riekes Center Nature Department

  • 4 Aug 2020 3:25 PM
    Message # 9144558

    Location: Various Locations (Woodside, Cupertino, Santa Cruz, Monterey)

    The Riekes Center nature department has been bringing youth and adults outside to experience and learn about natural history, bushcraft and survival skills, wildlife tracking, bird language, edible and medicinal plants, awareness skills, scout games, community and stewardship,
    backpacking, and knowledge of place for over two decades. We are committed to helping students achieve their goals in nature, and to providing the highest quality of nature instruction.

    We are currently hiring for part-time and full-time instructor positions for the 2020-2021 program year.

    As a Riekes Nature instructor you will work with co-instructors to safely lead activities, lessons, skills projects, on and off-trail wanders, immersive experiences (such as getting fully camouflaged with mud, or dunking in the creek), harvesting of natural materials, the safe use of
    knives and other tools, safe fire building, group songs, and group games.
    You will also help facilitate two annual camp-outs. Role-modeling passion and excitement about the natural world, and learning how to ignite engagement and curiosity in students is a large part of the job.

    Riekes Nature Instructors are expected to uphold the Riekes Center’s Core Values at all times when teaching. The core values are Self Supervision, Honest Communication, and Sensitivity
    Towards Others. We are committed to creating an atmosphere of inclusion and learning for both students and staff.

    Qualifications and Expectations for a Riekes Nature Instructor:

    ● Uphold the Riekes Center’s core values, mission, and policies
    ● Creativity and passion for mentoring youth in a natural flow learning environment with open and flexible structure
    ● Current CPR certification (or able to acquire before working)
    ● Able to travel to various program locations using own vehicle
    ● Minimum age of 18
    ● Able to pass a background check
    ● Able to work at least 2 program days per week, in addition to yearly staff training
    ● Must demonstrate good judgment and risk assessment
    ● Strong ability to work as a contributing member of a team
    ● Willing to participate in a healthy feedback culture
    ● Willing to develop/complete at least two areas of Nature Study expertise from the Riekes Advanced Nature Study curriculum
    ● Be a professional adult: operate with responsibility, integrity, and humility
    ● Care about equity and diversity and creating a welcoming and inclusive space for all

    Preference will be given to applicants who have one or more of the following. This list should not discourage anyone from applying. The most important qualities we are seeking are passion, responsibility, and an earnest willingness to grow and learn:

    ● Knowledge of California hazards, mammals, tracking, edible/medicinal plants, navigation with and without map/compass, natural history, field ecology, trees, bushcraft and survival skills, birds/birdsong/bird language, backpacking skills, and rural skills.
    ● Experience as a naturalist instructor working with youth ages 4-17 in the outdoors
    ● Experience with the 8-Shields Model and Coyote Mentoring method
    ● Has completed a level of the Kamana Naturalist Training Program
    ● Holds a CyberTracker International wildlife tracking certificate
    ● Is confident leading off-trail adventures and being hands-on with nature
    ● Has experience leading overnight camping or backpacking trips
    ● Has pursued developing an area of expertise or craftsmanship
    ● Plays a musical instrument or sings and is confident in and willing to lead youth in song
    ● Has a passion for storytelling, engaging youth in improve, and leading large group games
    ● Applicants who can commit to 3 or more days of work per week
    ● Applicants who are Wilderness First Responder certified
    ● Applicants who have a class-B drivers license
    ● Applicants who can commit to a season of summer work


    ● The Riekes Center for Human Enhancement, Menlo Park, CA
    ● Huddart County Park, Woodside, CA
    ● Stevens Creek County Park, Cupertino, CA
    ● Indian Village, Monterey, CA
    ● The Nest, Felton, CA
    ● Various Locations for Single Day Programs

    Work Hours

    ● All program days run from 8:30am-3:30pm
    ● Required Staff Training Overnight Week–August 24th-28th
    ● Attend at least two staff training days during the program year (There is one staff training day per month)
    ● Attend at least one Bay Area Tracking Club day (Second sunday of each month, Paid as a staff training day)

    Staff Training

    As a Riekes instructor you will be immersed in an incredibly rich learning environment. You will learn from students, fellow staff, field guides, experiences, events, and, of course, nature.

    Each month of the school year, staff are given the opportunity to attend a paid staff training day. We believe that the quality of our programs is greatly increased when we invest in our staff. The focus of our training days ranges from skills practice (such as the ins and outs of fire-by-friction or advanced knife skills), knowledge development (such as learning the fundamentals of wildlife tracking or learning about the edible and medicinal plants of the area), and experiential learning
    (such as participating in a blindfolded drum-stalk, or an epic off-trail wander).

    In addition to the monthly training, staff are encouraged to pursue other lines of self-development. This includes things like attending the Bay Area Tracking Club, reading certain books that are relevant to our programs, working through the Kamana Naturalist Training
    Program, attending a CyberTracker International tracking evaluation, completing areas of study from the Riekes Advanced Nature Study Curriculum, and participating in other Riekes programs.

    About the Riekes Center

    The Riekes Center exists for the enhancement of the individual student. Our mission is to provide each student with the best possible opportunity to define and accomplish individual goals, build character and learn transferable life skills through Arts, Fitness and Nature, in an
    environment of non judgement and mutual respect. We provide these opportunities regardless of the student's ability to pay, or to perform. Each person's uniqueness and potential is celebrated.

    The Riekes Center thrives on providing transformational outcomes for our students. At the Riekes center, all students, all goals, and all interests are equally important. It's a place where real world diversity thrives and empathy is encouraged. The Core Values of Self Supervision,
    Honest Communication and Sensitivity to Others are the Center's operational and social standards.

    How to Apply

    Please send your cover letter, resume, and a few paragraphs telling us about yourself to: and

    Please also indicate:

    ● Whether you are seeking part-time or full-time work
    ● The program locations you live closest to

    We are committed to responding to every applicant in a timely manner. We will respond within 5 business days to inform you of whether we would like to schedule an initial interview.

    Compensation Information:

    Compensation and Benefits

    ● Pay scale is between $20-$25 per hour, based on experience, qualifications, and commitment to the program.
    ● Full benefits for full-time employees (30+ hours per week)
    ● Gas mileage compensation provided for full-time employees whose travel distance is greater than 20 miles (one-way)
    ● Paid training and access to many opportunities for additional development within any Riekes Center department (Riekes Nature, Creative Arts, Athletic Fitness, and Community Service)
    ● Be a part of an amazing team of passionate people doing important work!


Mailing Address: 2066 N. Capitol Ave., Suite 3028, San Jose, CA 95132

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