HOURS: 40 hours per week LOCATION: Portland, OR
STATUS: Non-Exempt SUPERVISOR: Outdoor Programs Manager
SALARY RANGE: $21 – $24 hourly START DATE: March – April 2023
Friends of the Columbia Gorge (Friends) was founded in 1980 and has over 6,500 members in Oregon, Washington, and beyond dedicated to preserving, protecting, and stewarding the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. With offices in Portland and Hood River, Oregon, and Washougal, Washington, the organization uses an array of tools (advocacy, litigation, land acquisition, and public education) to ensure the Columbia Gorge remains a wondrous and vibrant place. In 2005, Friends launched the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust, a 509(a)(3) support organization to acquire spectacular landscapes within the Columbia Gorge.
SUMMARY OF POSITION
Building a large and diverse cross section of public support across the Pacific Northwest is critical to sustaining Friends’ efforts to preserve the Columbia Gorge for future generations. Friends’ Public Engagement team works to develop innovative and creative strategies to effectively educate and engage the public in efforts to protect, preserve, and steward the Columbia Gorge. Friends’ youth education programs and community education efforts are vital tools in building a strong and diverse coalition of enthusiastic Gorge stewards.
The youth and community education specialist will work with Friends’ outdoor programs manager as well as communications & engagement director—in collaboration with colleagues across Friends’ teams—to redesign and oversee Friends’ outdoor youth education programs and develop and implement community education events for all ages. The youth and community education specialist will play a leading role in developing educational tools focused on teaching nature- and science-based curricula to expand the reach and impact of Friends’ youth education program.
This role is best suited for an individual who has experience educating and engaging the public (youth in particular) in environmental or outdoor education in informal settings (e.g., outdoors, on a trail, community centers, and webinars). This person must have experience and a passion for working with communities of all ages and backgrounds and connecting them to the outdoors through education, sparking an interest that could last a lifetime. Experience and a high level of comfort with being on camera for educational videos (e.g., social media, interviews, webinars) is also required. Knowledge of environmental science, ecology, or natural history is a must, and familiarity with the ecology of the Pacific Northwest is preferred.
Outdoor Youth Education
● Redesign and oversee Friends’ outdoor youth education programs.
● Develop and maintain environmental education curricula and materials relevant to the Columbia Gorge.
● Coordinate and lead youth programs/field trips in spring, summer, and fall.
● Develop and lead hands-on conservation education programs in both outdoor and classroom settings.
● Serve as primary liaison and strengthen relationships and partnerships with school officials, volunteers, and other education partners to create a culture of collaboration.
● Recruit, train, and retain outdoor youth education program volunteers.
● Help develop effective systems and maintain metrics to analyze and evaluate the impact, reach, and effectiveness of Friends outdoor youth education initiatives.
● Create opportunities to educate the public about Friends’ work and the Columbia Gorge.
● Work across Friends departments (Conservation, Land Trust, Legal, and Philanthropy) to amplify other organizational work and provide ongoing education through public forums, webinars, and community activities to increase public support for the Gorge.
● Design and implement creative strategies to engage, educate, empower, and elevate the voices of communities of color, regional tribal partners, LGBTQ+ community, and other historically marginalized groups around the Pacific Northwest on key Gorge conservation challenges and issues.
● Help cultivate strong, enduring community partnership opportunities to support Gorge conservation and stewardship initiatives.
● Develop and coordinate Friends’ youth and community education communications initiatives, as needed.
● Help create engaging print and digital storytelling content (e.g. magazine articles, web features/blogs, social media posts, etc.) around Friends’ youth and community education efforts.
● Serve as the on-camera talent for video production efforts, including for social media POV/vlog-style videos, interviews, and webinars.
● Work with communications & engagement director to identify opportunities to advance Friends’ education efforts through creative (written and visual) storytelling utilizing print, web, and social communication channels.
● Help support outdoor youth education-related communications and fundraising efforts.
● 4+ years of demonstrated experience in environmental education, environmental science, ecology, conservation, outdoor recreation, interpretation, or related field.
● Experience working with and educating school children from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds in grades K-12.
● Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent experience) in environmental education, environmental science, or other relevant field.
● Experience networking and engaging with diverse community groups, schools, and organizations to inspire and educate people about the natural world through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.
● Ability to create engaging, age-appropriate lesson plans and activities.
● Ability to be organized and a logistical planner with high attention to detail when coordinating with schools and teachers on youth programs.
● Strong written and oral communication skills, and ability to confidently and engagingly deliver programs and presentations in a public-speaking setting.
● On-camera educational storytelling experience.
● Demonstrated leadership skills, including the ability to collaborate with partners, manage teams, and oversee projects ethically and in a timely manner.
● Ability to analyze metrics to inform budgeting and programming decisions.
● Conduct assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of educational programs.
● Able to work, or be on call, some non-standard hours, including evenings and weekends during peak program season (spring-fall).
● Must be able to work outdoors in varied type of weather conditions and uneven terrain where lifting, bending, and kneeling may be required.
● Valid, insurable driver’s license. Able to travel locally around Portland and the Columbia Gorge frequently.
● Creativity, enthusiasm, high energy, motivation, and professionalism will be needed for this position.
● Multilingual (Spanish preferred) and previous experience working with communities of color, immigrant populations, LBGTQ+ communities, disability communities, and youth organizations.
● Demonstrated cultural competency. Personal experience or strong familiarity with the historical context of underserved/underresourced communities. An understanding of the Pacific Northwest’s history of discriminatory practices is highly desired.
● Teaching certificate from state board, or equivalent preferred, but not required.
● Experience working in youth camps or classrooms, or as an interpretive ranger.
● Experience with grants and meeting grant deliverables with reporting.
● Project Wet, Project Wild, or NAI certified, (or willing to obtain).
● Certification in first aid, CPR, and/or wilderness first aid (or willing to obtain).
● Experience with Adobe Creative Cloud, Salesforce, Zoom, and MailChimp or other targeted email system software.
● Commitment to the protection, preservation, and stewardship of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
COMPENSATION & BENEFITS
Salary range is $21 – $24 hourly, commensurate with experience and education. Excellent benefits include generous vacation time and holidays, generous health insurance for employee and dependents along with an employer-matched retirement plan.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION, AND JUSTICE WORK AND ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
The Columbia Gorge has been home to Indigenous peoples since time immemorial, stewarding the land and waters of this region long before European colonization and the western idea of environmentalism. Friends of the Columbia Gorge is dedicated to ensuring the Columbia Gorge remains a place of wonder for generations to come. Whether it is the land, water, wildlife, people, Tribes, or communities, each is dependent upon the others for the Gorge to truly thrive. This is not possible without representing and engaging tribal as well as other diverse communities and individuals who share a connection to this special place.
Friends is deeply committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within our culture, practices, and policies. We support all who are connected to the Columbia Gorge including Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, as well as people of all genders, classes, and people with disabilities.
Read our full DEIJ statement on our website.
Friends is an equal opportunity employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, age, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other protected status in accordance with local, state and federal law.
This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoffs, recalls, leaves of absence, compensation and training.
This position requires sitting or standing at a desk, using a computer, talking on the phone, driving, hiking, and participating in outdoor activities. The ability to lift up to 30 pounds, various outdoor environmental conditions, and to respond appropriately to situations requiring first aid.
Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions.
Please send cover letter, resume, writing sample of less than 1,000 words, and example of educational curriculum that you’ve used to email@example.com with “Youth & Community Education Specialist” as the subject line no later than February 27, 2023. Please combine all application materials into one PDF. In the body of the email, please identify where you found the job posting. Early applications will be considered on a rolling basis.