Program Overview: Led by the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE), the Environmental Education Corps (eeCorps) AmeriCorps Program places AmeriCorps members at organizations throughout Colorado to focus on increasing environmental literacy for PreK-12 students and implementing the goals outlined in the Colorado Environmental Education Plan. eeCorps works directly with teachers, schools, and environmental education providers to support them in expanding reach and increasing impact of EE programming, while providing access to equitable learning experiences for all PreK-12 students. eeCorps members provide direct service to improve outcomes in Environmental Stewardship and Education. AmeriCorps provides opportunities to improve lives and foster civic engagement all across the country.
Service Site Overview: The members will serve with the Nature Connection (NC), in Delta County whose mission is to eliminate the barriers to getting outside by providing fun, active, and educational outdoor experiences for youth and families in our community. The Nature Connection is a Delta County School District initiative, offering school-year and summer programs and events, youth pathways into outdoor careers, and place developments to get kids and their families outside in the community. Some of the specific programs offered include cross country skiing for students on the Grand Mesa National Forest and mountain bike instruction for youth across the Western Slope.
Service Position Summary: The Nature Connection runs two multi-month programs during the school year. The first is the Learn to Bike Program for K-3rd graders that occurs in the fall and springtime, which focuses on building confidence and cycling skills for kids at an early age. During winter, our Skis for Kids Program introduces cross country skiing and winter ecology to 1,000 4th-6th grade students on the Western Slope each year. The member will help run both programs, but will take a lead role in one of the two and assist the other. The member will also help facilitate Nature Connection’s ‘Gear to Go’ - a program aimed to empower local teachers with the opportunity to take their students outside by providing gear lending, outdoor skills facilitation, and logistical support for local teachers and community members. In the summer, the member will support our youth camps with environmental and outdoor education support based on their skill sets and interests.
Essential Functions (Primary Responsibilities): The eeCorps members will engage with the Nature Connection to develop, implement, and enhance programs, projects, and activities that will create progress towards eeCorps and the Nature Connection’s goals. These duties include:
● Bike Program: Continue developing the curriculum for and implementation of the “Learn to Bike” program for K-3rd graders in partnership with school district teachers and NC staff.
● Ski Program: Deliver classroom programs and winter field-based activities including cross country skiing and winter ecology topics to 4th-6th graders and other age groups on the Grand Mesa.
● Facilitate in-class activities and field-based programs on camping/outdoor gear use, group dynamics in outdoor situations, trip planning, and logistics support as needed.
● Provide environmental education for NC field trips, school year programs, community days and summer camps.
● Collaborate with NC staff to develop outdoor and environmental education activities for youth and family programs that meet the needs of participants from a diverse student population.
● Provide direct service to preK-12 students, teachers, and families in Delta County and Olathe
● Potential to assist staff in developing the curriculum for and implementation of the climbing program for 7th and 8th graders in partnership with school district teachers.
● Provide direct program support during NC summer camps and overnight backpacking trips
● Track progress and collect evaluation data for the program’s performance measures
● Attend all eeCorps/AmeriCorps trainings, meetings, and orientations
● Complete all eeCorps National Days of Service projects as required
● Complete and submit all necessary eeCorps paperwork and reports by predetermined deadlines
● Some local and out of town travel required across Delta County; occasional statewide travel possible
Marginal Functions (Secondary Responsibilities):
● Continue the implementation of an outdoor gear lending program for local teachers and community groups
● Provide logistical support for teacher trainings including planning, set-up, take down, and field-based professional development activities
● Maintain, repair, and organize outdoor gear including cross country skis, bikes, paddling equipment, and camping gear used in teacher lending, school programs, and community events
● Transport gear to programs using NC provided vehicles which include 10-15 ft. trailers and SUVs (current driver’s license and clean driving record is mandatory)
● Attend NC-supported field trips and special events
● Provide direct supervision and skills instruction for youth during outdoor programming
● Attend NC-sponsored community lending events and provide gear check out, basic outdoor skills instruction, and set-up/take down
● Assist in service-learning projects with teachers and students including trail construction and outdoor classroom maintenance
Physical, Emotional, and Intellectual Demands:
● Extended time outdoors in various weather conditions in all four seasons
● Strenuous physical activity including cross-country skiing at 10,000 feet, hiking and biking with students; at times will carry backpack with up to 30 lbs of supplies (like a rescue sled and first aid kit) transported short distances; wilderness backpacking may also be an opportunity to carry a weighted backpack with your needs and group equipment like medical supplies
● (Bike Program): Experience with safe bicycle use on/off trail
● (Ski Program): Experience cross country skiing or other winter travel
● Ability to learn and perform basic bicycle and/or cross country ski maintenance
● Ability to swim and experience supervising participants in water activities
● Experience backpacking and wilderness camping preferred with the ability to safely supervise participants in remote wilderness settings without reliable cell phone coverage
● Willingness to self-reflect, change and adapt strategies in order to best support diverse populations of school age children
Term of Service: Each position is a full-time national and community service position requiring a minimum of 1,700 hours during the year (approximately 40 hours/week) beginning November 1, 2022 and ending October 15, 2023. Flexible hours are required, including occasional evening and weekend commitments. Members may be required to serve on Days of Service that take place on certain national holidays throughout the year.
Training and Support Provided: eeCorps members receive significant training and experience in community engagement, project implementation, leadership, diverse populations, and more. Up to 20% of total hours served may be spent in applicable, approved training and professional development. Members will be supervised and supported by Anna Robinson, Program Coordinator at the Nature Connection as well as by Erin Dreps, eeCorps Program Coordinator. The 2022-23 cohort of eeCorps members serving throughout the region will act as additional resources and support for each other.
Location and Service Conditions: This position is based at the Nature Connection headquarters at 397 Miners Way, Hotchkiss, CO 81419, and will involve service at other locations (indoor and/or outdoor) around Olathe, CO and Delta County.
● A living allowance of $16,502 distributed biweekly over the term dates. Taxes are deducted and the living allowance is distributed by direct deposit to the member’s bank account.
● Housing may be available through a partnership with the local Forest Service Paonia Ranger District.
● Health insurance
● Child care assistance, if eligible
● An education award of $6,495 upon successful completion of term of service.
● It is possible to defer student loans while serving as an AmeriCorps member.
● Mileage reimbursement for travel to required trainings
● Non-tangible benefits include extensive training, valuable experience, networking, and the opportunity to serve the local community in a crucial area of need.
● Ability to participate in regional EE leadership councils; option to obtain CAEE’s nationally-recognized Professional Environmental Educator Certification.
● A personal computer to use in completing service-related tasks during the term of service
● Current CPR-first aid certification; Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder preferred (can assist with recertification costs)
● Ability to drive a vehicle off-road, in snow/inclement weather
● Experience driving a loaded utility trailer preferred
● 2 or more years’ experience working with youth in an educational setting
● Willingness to expand knowledge and expertise in outdoor recreation and program management
● Ethic of national and community service and a strong desire to create positive change
● Ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing; computer literate
● High School Diploma or GED required, college graduate preferred
● Ability to pass the National Service Criminal History Check (required)
● Reliable transportation, proof of auto insurance, and ability to pass motor-vehicle background check
● U.S. Citizenship or lawful permanent resident status required
● Residents of rural communities in Colorado are encouraged to apply
Diversity and Equal Opportunity: The Nature Connection believes that all people in our community, regardless of race, background, socio-economic status, and family circumstances should be provided with opportunities to experience our local outdoor opportunities and develop a connection to the natural world.
DCSD Anti-Discrimination Statement: The Delta County School District does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, age, marital status, sexual orientation (which includes transgender), genetic information, conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, disability or need for special education services in admissions, access to, treatment, or employment in educational programs or activities which it operates.
The Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) recognizes the value of diversity and inclusiveness to advance environmental education. CAEE defines diversity in its broadest sense and welcomes everyone to the field of environmental education and the Alliance, including but not limited to people of all races, ethnicities, genders, gender expressions, sexual orientations, abilities, ages, national origins, socioeconomic status, religious affiliations, languages, and heritages.
To Apply: If you are interested in applying to this position, please send your resume and a short cover letter outlining your interest in the program and commitment to national service to Erin Dreps, eeCorps Program Coordinator, at email@example.com. Please include “AmeriCorps NC [Bike/Ski Program] Application” in the subject line. Please also attach a list of three (3) references, and a diversity and inclusion statement that is no longer than one page in length.