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Naturalist Intern (2020-2021 school year)


Tuesday, February 11, 2020


Foothill Horizons Outdoor School

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Sonora, CA


Are you searching for a position that helps you learn how to teach? Our internship program is an ideal, supportive training ground for those who want to become outstanding outdoor educators!

Our interns create rich and rewarding experiences for our visiting sixth grade students, teachers, and counselors. Interns will lead groups of students as they hike the trails, explore, and gain a greater to the natural world. Interns teach hands-on science curriculum in a fun, engaging way. Certain weeks, instead of teaching on the trail, interns serve as the recreation leader. During these weeks, they lead team building activities and campfire programs, teach dance, and supervise free play time.

Naturalist Interns are integral members of our community of dedicated and passionate naturalists and are valued as innovative, knowledgeable staff members. Interns who complete our program are self-reflective teachers, effective environmental educators, knowledgeable about natural history, and are able to write a lesson plan. Interns receive extensive training at the beginning of the academic year that continues throughout the internship.

Naturalist Interns, once comfortable, also play a large role in our high school counselor program; by providing suggestions and advice to our counselors on how our counselors can best assist Naturalists while out on the trail, and by providing guidance for how the counselors can best handle student behavior in the dorms. Interns will write formal evaluations for their counselors at the end of each week. Through this process, interns gain valuable experience in learning how to assess the performance of others and put observations in writing – a helpful skill to have, should your career path lead you in the direction of coaching others.

Program Description
The Stanislaus County Office of Education operates Foothill Horizons Outdoor School for the upper elementary students of Stanislaus County. Throughout the school year, classes of students accompanied by their classroom teachers, spend between three and five days in residence at our facility. During their stay, the students participate in a variety of activities designed to increase their knowledge of, and sensitivity to, the natural world. The students take part in outdoor science classes, field trips, and evening activities that include campfire programs, night hikes, and dancing.

Site Description
Foothill Horizons is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains surrounded by 143 acres of oak woodlands. The site offers varied terrain through beautiful forests of large ponderosa pines and oaks. With our students, we enjoy exploring the meadows, granite outcroppings, and our year-round creek. The outdoor education center is located five miles east of the historic town of Sonora, California, at an elevation of 2,500 feet. The Stanislaus National Forest - with its wilderness areas, granite peaks, mountain lakes, rivers, and ski areas is just a short drive up the hill. Year-round climbing is available at nearby Table Mountain, and Yosemite National Park is about two hours away.

Our Staff
Foothill Horizons has a staff culture that is built upon support, kindness, and growth. Our six permanent naturalists have over 70 years of accumulated experience teaching and working as professional environmental educators and share the responsibilities of formally and informally mentoring the interns. To complete and enhance our teaching staff, we hire 6 interns for the fall. Interns must live on site in shared housing.

• A strong desire to become an outstanding outdoor educator and the desire for feedback and growth in this area
• Experience teaching or working with children in either a formal or informal capacity
• Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience (2 years working with children in paid positions)
• We prefer that applicants have some college level course work in natural sciences, education, interpretation or outdoor recreation
• Must have a valid standard driver’s license in order to drive students in school vehicles
• First Aid and CPR certifications required, must pass physical, TB Test, and pre-hire drug test
• Ability to hike up to 5 miles a day in all weather conditions
• Ability and willingness to live on site for the duration of the internship
• A love of the outdoors, and a desire to inspire children to connect with nature, each other, and themselves
• We are searching for self-motivated, flexible, hardworking, passionate people who work both well on their own and as part of a team

Internship Commitment
• Start Date: ~August 6, 2020 – exact date to be decided
• End Date: ~June 2, 2021 – exact date to be decided

Application/Hiring Process
1. Complete the online application available on our website.
2. Email your resume and cover letter to:
3. You will be contacted by Diann if you qualify for an interview.

Deadline to apply: Midnight on March 29, 2020

Compensation Information:

Compensation Information:
• $96/day (based on an 8-hour day)
• Private bedroom in shared housing for duration of internship
• Option to eat the food that is prepared for students during the week,
and basic staples provided for weekends
• $300 health stipend
• Two paid professional development days to visit other programs
• Financial assistance towards tuition fees for an AEOE Conference

More Info