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Canyonlands Field Institute

  • 1320 US-191, Moab, UT
  • https://cfimoab.org/

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First Year Naturalist Educator


WHY WORK FOR CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE? Canyonlands Field Institute (CFI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in Moab, Utah. For over 38 years we have been rooted in our mission to provide quality outdoor education on the Colorado Plateau, to inspire care of wild places, and renew the human spirit. We believe in nurturing students of all ages and backgrounds, connection to self, community, and natural spaces. Through meaningful outdoor educational programming, CFI seeks to build immersive learning experiences by combining place-based science, an environment unplugged from technology, play, exploration, artistic expression, and Social Emotional Learning curriculum. By joining our educational community, you can help us grow the next generation of caring leaders and environmental stewards, who can affect positive change in our world while simultaneously building a robust set of technical and soft skills in some of the most beautiful places on the planet. INCLUSION, DIVERSITY, EQUITY & ACCESSIBILITY (IDEA): CFI holds diversity and inclusion as core values, and believes that healthy, vibrant human and natural communities are interconnected. We are currently part of the first cohort in the 2-year workshop training series, Working Towards Racial Equity, led by UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science and Justice Outside, which supports environmental and outdoor science organizations to build capacity to foster equitable, inclusive, and culturally relevant work and field environments. As CFI strives for transparency and accountability, we signed the In Solidarity Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge, to solidify our public commitment to being part of the solution in moving the outdoor education sector toward being a natural space of belonging for all.


min experience

salary range

$600 - $1.9k / month

Additional Job Details

International Applicants Allowed?
Work Visa Sponsoring Available

Job Overview

The First Year Naturalist Educator training program is a paid professional development program for outdoor educators beginning their career of connecting people to, and fostering care for, the natural environment. The position focuses on facilitating land-based programming for school and youth groups at our Professor Valley Field Camp and multi-day river trips on the Green, Colorado, and San Juan Rivers.

Special Benefits

During the first month of training, First Year Naturalist Educators will receive $300/2-week pay period. After training through the end of the contract season pay will increase to $960/2-week pay period.

● Free shared co-ed housing is provided, which is on site of Canyonlands Field Institute’s office
● Two pre-scheduled paid weeks off in June and August are provided to Program staff; there will usually be two days off/week; May and September are exceptionally busy; schedules will vary due to assigned river launch dates and bookings by groups
● PRO-I swiftwater rescue course through Swiftwater Safety Institute and up to 3-year certification upon passing course exams
● Wilderness first responder training and certification upon passing provided through Desert Mountain Medicine and up to 2-year certification upon passing course exams
● Meals during all overnight programming and day programming where meals are included for clients
● Mentorship and professional development in technical boating, guiding, teaching, and facilitation
● Use of all CFI equipment needed to perform job duties, please inquire if gear or equipment is a barrier to applying for this position

Minimum Requirements

ROLE SCOPE RESPONSIBILITIES include but are not limited to:
Teaching and Guiding – 60% of the time
● Deliver research-supported curriculum to groups of up to fifteen 1st-12th grade students or adults as needed
● Facilitate team building, leadership, and Social Emotional Learning activities
● Captain paddle rafts of up to 10 participants and row gear boats through up to class IV whitewater rapids
● Lead participants in set-up of river camps
● Cook and serve meals for up to 60 participants
● Follow Risk Management policies in all activities

Support Staff Duties – 20% of the time
● Support programs by: Rigging, De-rigging, and Scouting.
● Operate a motor vehicle (van or truck) with a trailer to transport program participants and gear, or to conduct other work activities
● Maintain organization and cleanliness of all CFI equipment, including teaching materials, gear & vehicles
● Maintain high standards of health and safety in all aspects of the position
● Assist with documenting program engagement (taking photos & videos), developing outreach materials, potential grant writing and other office needs

Lesson Planning & Curriculum Development – 10% of the time
● Work closely with the program managers to develop lesson plans and program materials

Canyonlands Field Institute Team Engagement – 10% of the time
● Attend weekly Operation meetings
● Participate in 1 on 1 meetings with Program Manager/Mentor regularly
● Support the advancement of the vision and mission of Canyonlands Field Institute by engaging in strategy, planning, goal setting, and leadership conversations

There are many skills and qualifications that guides come to CFI with and/or spend their season developing. Below are some of the critical competencies that we look for when hiring. We do not expect individual candidates to have experience in all of these realms and encourage those with just some to apply. We recognize that lived experiences can often supplement formal work experiences and we value these as an employer. We also recognize certifications as a barrier to many guiding positions and will provide the right applicant with these certifications if need be.

Teaching & Facilitation—We seek experience or a willingness to learn to facilitate inquiry-based and student-centered curriculum, as well as place-based learning. Formal or informal teaching experience, particularly with youth is desired.
Experience with youth—We seek experience working with, cultivating relationships, or supporting youth. A willingness to show empathy, respect, patience, care, and social relatability to diverse populations of youth is required.
Boating/Technical Guiding—A willingness to develop technical river running skills, learn river-based systems, and complete a swiftwater rescue course compensated by CFI is required. Prior guiding experience is a plus but not a requirement.
Group management—Experience organizing, intentionally listening to, and communicating with diverse groups of people and a willingness to step into large group management is desired.
Risk management—Experience managing personal and group risk, particularly in a remote wilderness context is desired, as well as a willingness to develop a comprehensive risk management lens and practice.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility— We welcome applicants with lived experiences as members of marginalized communities from the outdoor industry, public lands and society at large. A critical understanding of how power, privilege, identity, and oppression inform ones ability to move through the world, and the ability to engage in dialogue around these topics in a meaningful way are valued highly.
Teamwork—Experience collaborating with a small team of people. The ability to give and receive feedback and navigate interpersonal relationships as well as conflict management as a means of achieving a shared goal.
Self-management—Techniques for taking care of one’s physical and mental needs in a dynamic work environment, and self-advocate for support in doing so. A positive growth mindset and proactive decision making abilities.

● Insurance requires staff be a minimum of 21 years of age
● CFI requires everyone who comes in contact with youth to take a comprehensive background check
● Current driver’s license and a participation in Driver Training at start of season
● Maintains a clean driving record, passes and keeps current a DOT physical exam at own expense
● Complete Utah Food Handlers certification upon hire
● Complete and pass Wilderness First Responder course at start of season paid for by CFI or hold a current WFR and CPR cert
● Available to work a flexible schedule, including days, nights, and weekends for up to 10 consecutive days
● Proof of Covid-19 vaccine; reasonable accommodations for candidates who cannot be vaccinated due to valid medical or religious reasons will be considered

Send a resume and optional cover letter to Education Director, Alex de Moor at [email protected] with the subject line “First Year Naturalist Educator Application.” Priority will be given to applications received before November 15th, 2022. Please be prepared to offer references should you move forward to the next round. Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis. We hope to have these positions filled by the end of January, but can be flexible for the right candidate.

We strive to host inclusive and accessible opportunities that enable all individuals to engage fully. If you require any accommodations in the application or interview process, please contact the Education Director.

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