Hudson Valley Conservation Corps- Community Science Educator

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This position requires that you become enrolled in AmeriCorps. If you are selected for this program please be sure to accept AmeriCorps during the SCA offer process. No travel allowance will be offered for this position even if it is stated on your confirmation of acceptance.

Due to Covid-19, events and trainings are subject to change in response to an increase in the number of cases in the Hudson Valley region. Such changes include, but are not limited to: trainings being held remotely, requesting symptomatic members to stay home from events, and asking members to test prior to Corps gatherings.

SCA Hudson Valley AmeriCorps partners with State and non-profit agencies to address the conservation needs of the Hudson River Watershed region. Corps members are placed at individual host sites, where service activities range from providing environmental education to underserved youth, to restoring streambanks along the Hudson River, and beyond. Members join together regularly for trainings, service projects, or other events.

Purpose of the Program:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was created on July 1, 1970 to combine in a single agency all state programs designed to protect and enhance the environment.

Mission: To conserve, improve and protect New York's natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being.

DEC's goal is to achieve this mission through the simultaneous pursuit of environmental quality, public health, economic prosperity and social well-being, including environmental justice and the empowerment of individuals to participate in environmental decisions that affect their lives.

PROGRAM MISSION AND GOALS OF THE NYSDEC HUDSON RIVER RESEARCH RESERVE AND HUDSON RIVER ESTUARY PROGRAM

Mission: Improve the health and vitality of the Hudson River Estuary by protecting estuarine habitats through integrated education, training, stewardship, restoration, and monitoring and research programs. This program is operated as a partnership between New York State and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Goals:

  • Increase scientific understanding of Hudson River estuarine habitats.
  • Increase estuarine literacy to promote active stewardship and environmentally sustainable behaviors and decisions.
  • Increase informed decision-making to protect and enhance Hudson River habitats.
  • Enhance stewardship of the land and water ecosystems within the Reserve.
  • Enhance Reserve operational capacity and facilities to support all previous programmatic goals.

Community Needs that the Program Serves:

In-house evaluation of attendees at some Hudson River Research Reserve educational programs indicates general lack of prior knowledge of Hudson River Estuary tidal marsh functions and understanding of services they provide to local communities. A preliminary look at the results of a pilot evaluation of school groups attending Hudson River Research Reserve education programs also indicates lack of prior knowledge of the function and services of the Hudson River Estuary.

As development pressures and the impacts of climate change increase in the Hudson Valley, environmental and climate literacy and environmental stewardship will become increasingly important to protect the integrity of the Hudson River Estuary and these habitats. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), of which the Hudson River Research Reserve is a member, has identified community education and K-12 (kindergarten through high school) education as program areas of National Focus. The National Focus of the Student Conservation Association on environmental education for those under 25 and environmental stewardship is closely aligned with NERRS.

Values and Standards of the Program:

SCA's mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.

AmeriCorps Member Duties and Responsibilities:

This position will be located primarily at the Norrie Point Environmental Center in Staatsburg, NY. The major activity of this member will be split between (a) supporting community-science field programs in local fisheries research and estuary monitoring and (b) providing direct programming about the Hudson River Estuary, its natural resources, and the importance of community involvement and stewardship to schools, service organizations, and the general public. A common thread through all these duties is the importance of communication and education about the river's natural resources. Emphasis of duties will vary seasonally. Areas of responsibility include:

  • assist in coordination and implementation of community-science research on American eel migration. Assist in backpack electrofishing surveys, work on catching eels for acoustic tagging in partnership with DEC Fisheries researchers, coordinate volunteer eel ladder sampling, coordinate volunteer silver eel fyke net monitoring. Work on data input and database organization. Requires field work under variable conditions and the ability to be both an educator as well as a researcher https://hrnerr.org/eel-monitoring/ (30%);
  • assist in coordination and implementation of “A Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor”, an annual estuary-wide monitoring event for over 3,000 participants at 80+ sites. Tasks include implementing teacher-training programs, virtual pre and post programs for classes, coordinating assistance at sampling sites, and managing data results (15%);
  • design and staff displays for riverfront festivals and other public gatherings (5%)
  • participate in all SCA Corps wide trainings and service projects, as well as project evaluation and reporting (15%)
  • assist in leading education programs either at Norrie Point or at local schools (20%)
  • maintain education displays (fish tank, turtle tank, etc..) at Norrie Point Environmental Center as well as organizing, cleaning, and stowing equipment when not in use (15%)

How the AmeriCorps Member's Role Aligns with the Organization:

The estuary education and community science and stewardship opportunities delivered by this position's member directly support the outreach goals of the NYSDEC Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve and Hudson River Estuary Program

Performance Goals for the AmeriCorps Member:

Goal 1: Coordinate community science eel sampling involving hundreds of volunteers at 10 sampling sites through on-site volunteer trainings, online materials, and electronic communication.

Goal 2: Provide education programs for 1,000 students on the Hudson River estuary and the life in the Hudson (virtual or in-person).

Goal 3: Work as a part of a team to implement A Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor, which has thousands of participants every year.

Candidate Qualifications:

Valid driver's license with a clean driving record.

Ability to pass a federal background check

While a fleet car is available for field work and other work-related duties, this position does require personal commuting to DEC facilities in both New Paltz, NY and Staatsburg, NY. A valid driver's license is required.

Skills:

Knowledge: Familiarity with and interest in the Hudson River Valley, creative and scientific writing skills, comfortable speaking with large groups of people, fish and macro invertebrate identification skills, knowledge of common invasive species in the Hudson Valley, approachable and helpful attitude to the general public, excellent written and verbal communications skills, attention to detail.

Training: BA/BS, with course work in education, natural resources, or environmental studies preferred but not required; experience teaching in classroom and outdoor settings; excellent written and verbal communications skills; valid driver's license.

Benefits

Amount of the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award being offered for successful completion of the member's term of service: $6,895

Amount of living allowance member will receive:

$350/week living allowance

$1,000/month housing allowance upstate

$1,100/month housing allowance in NYC

Healthcare coverage (if applicable): Eligible for free health insurance

Childcare coverage (if applicable): Eligible for childcare assistance through AmeriCorps

Student loan forbearance and interest payments, (if the member qualifies): Eligible for Federal Student Loan forbearance and interest payment deferment through AmeriCorps for qualifying student loans.

Training Opportunities:

All Hudson Valley Corps members receive Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Environmental Leadership Institute, Hudson River Citizen Science curricula, Trail Skills, Project WILD curricula, and professional development. Optional trainings include Leave No Trace, Mental Health First Aid, and other opportunities that arise.