Student Conservation Association Environmental Educator in West Hempstead, New York

SCA Hudson Valley AmeriCorps partners with state and non-profit agencies to address the conservation needs of Long Island and the Hudson River Watershed region. Corps members are placed at individual host sites along a 200 mile corridor from the lower Adirondacks to New York City, joining together regularly for trainings, service projects, and regional events.

Organization/Agency Mission and/or Goals: The Mission of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) is to provide safe and enjoyable recreational and interpretative opportunities for all New York State residents and visitors and to be responsible stewards of our natural, cultural, and historic resources.

Program Mission and/or Goals: Hempstead Lake State Park encompasses several habitats and offers many opportunities to help students immerse themselves in the natural world. Currently environmental education programs on the varied flora, fauna and ecosystems found within the park are offered, to a limited degree, to park patrons, school groups and special interest groups, such as boy and girl scouts. The park is located in an area with high population density and in close proximity of schools, and it is believed the scope of the programming could be greatly expanded through the addition of staff and joining with partners.

Member Impact: The environmental educator will develop a broad range of programs, serving our diverse audience. We aim to foster new connections with nature as well as deepen those connections for those who already enjoy the outdoors. Given the range of our audience throughout the seasons, educators can learn effective programming techniques for people from age 3 to 99, with subjects ranging from local ecology, to environmental history, to playful treasure hunts in the woods. The new team member would increase our current education in the park tenfold, since we currently do not have a full time educator working out of Hempstead Lake State Park.

Essential Functions of Position:

  • Schedule, develop and teach environmental education to diverse audiences

  • Lead outdoor recreation programs for diverse audiences

  • Staff the Nature Center from May through November

  • Research, write, promote and deliver education programs

  • Communicate with park patrons and park partners, such as the NCPD Explorer Program and school groups.

  • Outreach to potential clients including school groups, clubs and others

  • Trail maintenance and improvement

  • Attend professional development and trainings as time permits

  • Organize and facilitate large events

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: Strong baseline knowledge of natural history. Experience with community programming or youth development. Basic knowledge/experience hiking on trails. Basic topographic and trail map knowledge.

Skills: Computer fluency. Artistic skills, such as graphic design or other visual art is a plus. Strong social skills including: 1) Friendly and patient demeanor. 2) Good communication skills, including being comfortable speaking to groups of up to 50. 3) Able to work easily in close quarters with others, sharing space and tools. 4) Additionally, the member must have a genuine desire to teach people, particularly children, about nature, cultural history and more. 5)Speaks multiple languages a plus.

Required Academic and Experience Qualifications: BA/BS or equivalent in biology, environmental science, education or related field. Desired: a background in education is helpful; familiarity with NYS learning standards beneficial, but the most important characteristics to possess are an enthusiastic, open-minded, honest and hard-working attitude. Personal transportation is necessary.

  • Location Description

Hempstead Lake State Park is located in a densely populated area. The park is just 16 miles from NYC and serves as a meeting place for many large community groups from Brooklyn, Queens, and Nassau County. Hempstead Lake is also in close proximity to many low to moderate income communities. The park provides a unique opportunity for many residents and students to experience nature, right in their own backyard. The Hempstead School District, which is adjacent to the park, has an enrollment consisting of 61% Hispanic and 30% Black students.

Currently Hempstead Lake State Park has approximately 300,000 visitors annually. The visitor groups are extremely diverse, mostly being large group and family outings from Brooklyn and Queens. There are many opportunities for education when these groups are at the park.

Hempstead Lake is the largest fresh water body in Nassau County, 140 acres. Hempstead Lake State Park is approximately 800 acres and is an “important bird area”. In addition to Hempstead Lake, there are 5 ponds. These ponds are South Pond, McDonald Pond, Schodack Pond, Northeast Pond, and Northwest Pond. Hempstead Lake State Park serves as a local base for many fishermen.

There are approximately 10 miles of Bridle trails at Hempstead Lake State Park. The New York Equestrian Center has a permit to use these trails and runs various programs throughout the year.

  • Training Provided

Members will receive AmeriCorps orientation that includes training on prohibited and unallowable activities, an orientation that covers risk management, reporting requirements, and a benefits overview, and Wilderness First Aid and CPR training.

  • Professional Development Opportunities

SCA offers all Hudson Valley Corps members Wilderness First Aid & CPR certification, Hudson River Citizen Science curricula, Trail Skills, Project WET, Project WILD and Project Learning Tree curricula. Optional trainings include Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics, American Canoe Association Level 1 Canoe and other opportunities which may arise.

The new team member will work with the Long Island Region’s environmental education team to learn existing programming offered at Hempstead Lake State Park and other parks in the region.

  • Handicap Accessible?


Education, Training & Skills Expected

Biology some coursework or experience Education some coursework or experience Ecology & Restoration some coursework or experience Community Engagement some experience Public Speaking some experience Writing/Publishing some experience Working with Children some experience

Expected Dates: January 19, 2017 to November 15, 2017

Site: Hempstead Lake State Park

Position ID: PO-00711741

Main Area of Focus: Education and Interpretation

AmeriCorps Eligible: Eligible

Driving Logistics: Valid Drivers License Needed Personal Vehicle Required

Housing or Stipend Provided?: Yes

Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor

US Citizenship: Required