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Ecology Project International

  • 315 South 4th Street East, Missoula, MT
  • ecologyproject.org

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Yellowstone Field Instructor


min experience

salary range

$96 - $106 / day

Additional Job Details

International Applicants Allowed?
Work Visa Sponsoring Available

Job Overview

Description: Field instructors in the Ecology Project International (EPI) Yellowstone Program teach five- to nine-day field ecology courses for middle and high school students in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Our programs introduce students to real-world scientific study, engage them in conservation service projects, and raise their cultural and ecological awareness.

During Yellowstone winter and summer courses, students work with research partners (e.g., National Park Service) to collect data for wildlife research projects. Participants in our summer program also engage in a hands-on conservation service project with partners like B Bar Ranch or National Parks Conservation Association. Additionally, there is time dedicated to observing wildlife and experiencing Yellowstone’s unique geology, playing in the snow (winter), and whitewater rafting (summer). Field instructors guide student exploration via relevant ecology and scientific process lessons while engaging them in the practice of Leave No Trace and taking advantage of teachable moments.

An ideal candidate will demonstrate experience and aptitude in environmental education, field research, outdoor leadership, and/or the ecology, geography and cultures of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Instructors work as a team with support from program staff to plan, lead, and teach EPI’s curriculum. Instructors coordinate logistics and opportunities with partners, vendors, group chaperones, and participants to craft an inspirational and educational experience. They are responsible for establishing and maintaining a safe physical and emotional learning environment.

As a member of a three-person field team, instructors deliver ecology and science curriculum to middle and high school students, lead students in leadership activities/games, respond to medical and behavioral incidents, transport participants, maintain EPI field equipment, and support assistant instructors in their development as environmental educators.

Because of the diversity of Yellowstone participants and EPI staff, field instructors should have the skills to address implicit bias and be culturally responsive in interactions with students and co-workers. Instructors are also encouraged to identify ways in which we can enhance inclusivity in planning and implementing our program.

This position also works to identify new and creative ways to cultivate an environment true to our core values: making a positive difference in the world; bringing integrity, honesty, and excellence to all aspects of our work; appreciating the outdoors for education, inspiration and enjoyment; and having fun and thinking BIG!

COVID-19 Statement:  EPI has prepared COVID-19 policies and practices that follow health department and CDC guidelines to reduce the risks of exposure and transmission of the virus during course activities.  We can’t eliminate this risk and it is possible that instructors will be exposed to the virus from participants, partners, vendors, or the general public while performing course duties.  Health insurance is not provided by EPI as part of the compensation for this position.  Instructors are asked to role model, lead, and enforce our field COVID-19 policies during a course and make appropriate decisions before, during, and after a course to reduce their exposure to the virus.  Failure to comply with expectations may result in lost employment opportunities.


  • Provide and lead a positive experience for EPI participants in the field.
  • Plan and deliver quality experiential environmental education lessons to diverse program participants.
  • Create and foster an inclusive group culture and positive learning environment among participants and co-workers.
  • Oversee and/or lead research activities in accordance with research protocols.
  • Lead conservation service projects in accordance with risk management protocols.
  • Effectively collaborate and communicate with teachers, chaperones, participants, partners, co- instructor(s), and EPI staff.
  • Give and receive quality feedback with co-workers and supervisor, and integrate feedback into work.
  • Mentor assistant instructors and support their ability to complete their designated course responsibilities including curriculum delivery and meal preparation. As assistant instructors take on more teaching responsibility, instructors will lead more meal preparation.
  • Effectively manage logistics before, during, and after each course.
  • Conduct all courses with rigorous attention to risk management.
  • Respond to medical emergencies and provide appropriate first aid following EPI’s medical protocols and according to your level of training.
  • Understand, model, monitor, and enforce EPI policies and protocols.
  • Participate in all EPI staff development sessions throughout the season, including staff training, staff meetings, staff retreats, and feedback/evaluation forms.
  • Promptly and accurately complete paperwork associated with each course.
  • Drive EPI vehicles and tow a trailer to transport participating students and gear.
  • Keep course gear organized, clean, and in good working order.
  • Maintain effective self-care during extended trips and throughout the length of the season.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Special Benefits


  • $96, $101, or $106 per day starting wage, determined by evaluation of prior experience. Thereafter, daily pay increases according to a 7-tiered pay scale based on field days worked.
  • Instructors chosen as course leaders will make an additional $10 a day.
  • Optional shared housing in Missoula, MT for $200 per month throughout the program season from 12/16/2021-8/31/2022.
  • Room and board while on-course.
  • Access to discounts with popular outdoor gear retailers.

Minimum Requirements



  • Bachelor's degree in biology, ecology, environmental education, or related field; or equivalent experience.
  • Experience delivering science and ecology-based curriculum.
  • Outdoor leadership experience working with young adults in remote areas.
  • Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and demonstrated ability to work with youth across a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences—including Indigenous youth, low-income youth, and rural and reservation populations
  • Field research experience.
  • Experience and prior success working well on a small team in a dynamic and changing work environment.
  • Desire to mentor assistant instructors in areas like experiential education and group management techniques.
  • Experience camping; ability to teach LNT camping skills.
  • Current Wilderness First Responder and CPR certifications.
  • Valid driver’s license with an insurable driving record.
  • Experience driving participants in programmatic vehicles in variable road conditions.
  • Minimum 21 years of age.
  • Must be physically fit and capable of participating in intense physical labor including, but not limited to: ability to lift 50 pounds, spend 8-10 hours a day in all weather conditions (e.g., sun, heat, wind, cold, snow, etc.) and hike up to 5 miles a day with a day pack and equipment, ability to conduct repetitive hand and arm motions, and able to maneuver in tight spaces including bending and kneeling.
  • Legally able to work in the US.
  • English fluency.



  • 2-3 years of prior experience instructing middle to high school students in a formal or informal setting.
  • Wildlife biology research experience, especially with species of the Rocky Mountains.
  • Knowledge and familiarity with the Rocky Mountains, especially the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
  • Experience working in field settings with teenage populations experiencing mental and emotional health challenges (i.e., wilderness therapy)
  • Experience with winter activities such as snowshoeing.
  • Leave No Trace trainer or master educator certification.
  • Curriculum development experience.

Schedule and Location: The Yellowstone wildlife ecology program runs from late December 2021 through August 2022. There will be a short break in late April to early May as the program switches between winter and summer activities. Instructors will work approximately 85 - 105 field days over the course of year, not including two mandatory, unpaid pre-employment training sessions (room & board provided) to be held in late December and early May.

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