Job Title: Watershed Education and Science Program Lead
Supervisor: Director of Programs
Location: Woodstock, Virginia (Shenandoah Valley)
FT/PT: FT Permanent (40-hrs./wk.; 2080-hrs./ann.)
Compensation: $38,500 to $44,000 Total Starting Compensation, Including Benefits
Start Date: Immediate
General Organization & Position Information:
Set in the beautiful and serene Shenandoah Valley, Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River (FNFSR) is seeking an inspired environmental educator with a solid background in science (ecology or watershed emphasis or experience preferred) as our Watershed Education and Science Program Lead (E/S Program Lead).
As a watershed conservation organization, FNFSR’s mission is to keep the North Fork of the Shenandoah River clean, healthy, and beautiful through advocacy, community action, education, and science. Through much of our nearly 34-years, educational programming has been a key component of our work, while our Science Programs have, at times, rivaled that. Serving them both, the Program Lead will maintain, update, and help to creatively advance FNFSR’s Education and Science Programs.
Through its 100-plus miles, the North Fork drains portions of five counties in northwestern Virginia, and part of one county in West Virginia. It is a notable tributary river within the larger Chesapeake Bay watershed. FNFSR prides itself on providing creative, engaging, and innovative experiences around our community, fostering relationships with, and understanding of, our river and our watershed. Our work aims to expand our community’s awareness of itself as an interconnected watershed-wide community with a responsibility for protecting the health of its waterways. As such, the entire Friends staff, including the E/S Program Lead, routinely watches for new and creative project opportunities to engage and educate the community around water quality issues. Friends has maintained long-standing relationships and collaborations with several key state agencies, local and regional conservation nonprofits, municipalities, and several area school systems. Our E/S Program Lead will work closely with the community, and with these partners to advance our mission through Education and Science Programs.
FNFSR serves also as Friends of Seven Bends State Park (FSBSP), the community support organization for one of the newest parks in Virginia’s award-winning state park system. The park borders the Town of Woodstock. Among the roles of FSBSP is to help inspire and add to programming at the park, and the E/S Program Lead may aid in this service.
The E/S Program Lead works closely with the Director of Programs and other FNFSR staff to plan, coordinate, and implement FNFSR’s Watershed Education and Science Programs. Friends is a team-centered organization. So, while the E/S Program Lead will be effective in conducting much of their work independently, they will also have the reciprocal support of the rest of the FNFSR staff, and will at times, serve in a supervisory capacity. The E/S Program Lead will also work with the Director of Programs – and to some degree with the full staff – to maintain a level of integration between Education, Science, and Volunteer Programs.
The weekly work schedule for this position will be based largely on maintaining effective coordination of FNFSR’s Watershed Education programs. Occasional weekend work will be required and is an important part of our outreach and engagement of the community. As a modest-sized nonprofit, there are several efforts throughout the year that require our full team’s involvement, such as with our largest annual fundraiser and several smaller events.
Much of the range of responsibilities and opportunities of the E/S Program Lead are captured in, but not limited to, those listed below, and will be carried out under the guidance of the Director of Programs and the Executive Director.
- Works with fellow staff, and with Public Schools and other education collaborators to continue, refresh, and where helpful (especially with COVID-related adjustments) restructure on-going Watershed Education programs.
- Develops new environmental education lessons and programs attuned to watershed conservation, Chesapeake Bay ecology and conservation, water quality, and closely related topics connected to Virginia State SOLs for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) subjects.
- Administers Education Program lessons and may recruit and maintain a team of volunteer and/or contract educators to assist with delivery of lessons.
- Coordinates at least one community Lecture Series each year, typically consisting of several guest lecturers, each delivering a unique talk on relevant watershed, watershed-related, or other engaging conservation topics.
- May deliver community-based talks about the watershed, watershed science, community engagements, and more.
- Plans, implements, manages, and coordinates our river summer camps – two, one-week-long, environmental education day camps each year.
- Builds and maintains relations with area educators and education administrators.
- Develops and/or maintains Watershed Science projects, including Community Science Projects. May oversee interns or other support to ensure successful and beneficial projects.
- May help seek grant-based funding for FNFSR Education and Science Programs and general support through grant research and proposal writing or writing assistance. May assist with grant reports and administration.
- Coordinates or facilitates a modest variety of community workshops, and both indoor and outdoor classes, in a variety of settings, including at Seven Bends State Park.
- Coordinates or supports occasional weekend programs or tablings at local festivals or events. These typically focus on public engagement in a lesson or activity, and provide opportunities for member and volunteer recruitments.
- Serves as essential “eyes and ears”, for FNFSR, to help identify and inform potential programming responses in regard to watershed news and scientific activities and concerns in the region.
- Regularly attends staff meetings, providing updates to the Director of Programs and staff on Education and Science Program schedules, as well as on needs for assistance and new program or project opportunities.
- Assists with maintaining effective Social Media outreach. This may come in the form of providing content related to programs, or generating original content for special awareness, such as for Earth Day, National Rivers Day, etc. Social Media outreach is handled as a coordinated team effort among staff.
- Periodically leads public event activities (e.g., Family Fun Days), assists other staff with event preparations (such as our largest annual fundraiser), and assists with other minor fundraising efforts (such as mailings).
Compensation & Cost of Living
The Watershed Education and Science Program Lead position is a Full-Time position at 40-hour per week (2080-hrs/yr.). It is a year-round position set in a dynamic work environment. Total compensation package will be $38,500 to $44,000 annually, based on the candidate’s experience and skills. Benefits include paid leave (vacation), holidays, dental and vision plans, and a potential for health insurance benefits.
Woodstock is the seat of Shenandoah County, Virginia, and is set just a mile from the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and Seven Bends State Park, all of which is situated between the Allegheny Mountains and Massanutten Mountain. Just a few minutes drive from the border of a million-acre National Forest, and a 35-minute drive from Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive, the area is an outdoor recreationist’s treasure, and the cost of living in Shenandoah County is notably lower than the national average (https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/county/virginia/shenandoah). Just 75-miles from Washington, D. C., some of the best urban experiences in the country are easily accessible too.
Requirements of the Position
- Passion for education and learning; desire to make a positive impact on the environment and the community through education and science, and by providing experiences that build connections with the watershed and the community.
- Excellent skills in collaboration and communication (both written and verbal). A desire for, and comfort in, working with others.
- A creative streak for lesson planning and scientific pursuits, and an aptitude for taking a programmatic approach to managing projects.
- Strong organizational skills.
- Comfort in working in both hands-on and online formats for project development, coordination, planning, and delivery.
- Familiarity with rural/agricultural communities is helpful, and familiarity or experiences with natural resources concerns/practices/management is desirable.
- Familiarity and comfort in working with or within Public School systems, or similar, is highly desirable.
- Three to four years, or more experience working in environmental educational programs is preferred. Familiarity or experience with non-profits is helpful.
- Comfort in positive engagement with school-aged children and a diverse community of people of all ages is important.
- A genuine interest in watersheds, science, water quality and in keeping up to date on the latest news and scientific developments in these arenas.
- Successful experience with developing, overseeing, and/or running scientific projects in a community, academic, or professional setting, is desirable.
Visit the following for more information on our organization, our work, and life in the Shenandoah Valley:
Send a cover letter, resumé, and three references to email@example.com. Accepting applications through February 14, 2022. First interviews to begin as early as the week of February 14, 2022.
Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, Inc. considers all candidates equally without regard to age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or other non-merit factors.