Greetings.

I am hoping to start a discussion about career resources related to children and nature. I am in the process of making a career shift. It's not easy, as no time is a "good time" to make a transition to a new career, but in recent years it has been especially hard. I, and anyone else in a similar position, also face challenges due mostly to the fact that we've been out of school for a while and networks are in need of refreshing. 

Volunteering works for the short-term but many organizations who accept volunteers do so because they often cannot afford to employ. Not to disparage non-profits, because everyone is impacted— but even considerable commitment does not guarantee a "foot in the door." It's a frustrating emotional battle between urges to contribute to a meaningful cause and the necessity of paying bills.

Perhaps we can compile links to organizations which perhaps specialize in outdoor education or provide resources for schools...or anything else related. Names of organizations, which maybe don't have an online presence. Tips for how to find places and who to contact.

Any and all feedback would be appreciated, even (and especially) if you've been going through something similar and want to share notes: I search government jobs regularly (calopps.org/), have become a member with the National Association of Interpreters (http://www.interpnet.com/) I have also looked at opportunityknocks.org, and  idealist.org

Many thanks! 

Victoria

http://victoriafortune.weebly.com/

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Hi Victoria. I saw your post from a while back asking about a career change and wanted to ask you how that turned out for you. I am trying to make my way as a freelancer educator but is not easy (especially with the big economic crisis that’s been going around) and  would appreciate someone else’s opinion.

Best regards, 

Catarina

Hi Victoria and Catarina,

 

I would love to participate in this discussion.  I am a nonprofit professional with Development Director experience at an environmental-park advocacy organization and experience in other roles with various nonprofits over the years.  Like you, I am also now interested in narrowing my focus and concentrating my work in a career specific  to children and nature.  As a mother of three, I am committed to making a difference in this area for the remainder of my career.   I'm currently in an MPA program with courses tailored to nonprofit management and environmental studies.

 

I have a list of several organizations that I check  individually for opportunities and also a few job boards that I check regularly.  My lists are tailored to the specific career opportunities I am seeking  in fund raising, grant writing, board relations, and nonprofit management.  Can you share a little more about the work areas you might be interested in?  I would be happy to share any and all resources I have.

 

Best of luck, and hope to continue this discussion. Thanks so much for starting it!

 

Karen

Hi Karen, 

I live in Europe so mostly I’m interested in opportunities in Europe (specially western and southern europe) but any tips would be great.

I’m a geologist, started my work as an educator in an after school center (they are very common here in europe, don’t know about the US), and went from there to an UNESCO Geopark where I worked as an earth science/environmental education educator. I am doing a Masters in geological heritage, and my focus is nature science and environmental education.

Best regards, 

Catarina

Hi Catarina,

Your background is impressive! I wish I had some resources that would apply to your situation, but I'm not sure that I do; mine are almost entirely US based. I have one list of individual organizations that I review from time to time that includes large, national and international nonprofits such as the National Wildlife Federation, Student Conservation Association, the Nature Conservancy, etc. and then another list of general nonprofit job postings such as the Nonprofit Times job listings or those at the Chronicle of Philanthropy. (You do have to wade through to see if the type of organization you want to work for has opportunities posted.)

I live in the western U.S., so I also check statewide nonprofit job boards such as those at the Colorado Nonprofit Association and the Montana Nonprofit Association. There is also a site geared toward freelance (or telecommuting) job seekers that has a little bit of everything. It is http://www.genuinejobs.com ("Your Telecommuting Headquarters") and I recently came across a part time opportunity at C&NN in fund raising, so it may be worth a look. I don't know if the site is all U.S. based or not, but it looks to be primarily so. I'm not sure if this is helpful at all since these sources are not in Europe, but thought I'd share in the event it is.

You are right that there is not a good, comprehensive site for jobs in environmental education or even for environmental organizations in general. Having a central location for these types of job postings would make it easier to bring people into the field. Maybe that is something C&NN might look into hosting?

I wish I had some Europe-based job board resources to offer! Your background and commitment will surely land you a great opportunity, though.

Karen

Hi Karen, 

Thanks for the suggestions, those are going to help, for sure . I spent some time browsing genuine jobs.com and found some interesting offers already. 

I agree with you that C&NN would be a good host to a site for jobs in environmental education. In europe we have a few science job sites but they include all fiends of science, and not necessarily education offers. 

Catarina

Hi all,

I work at Conserve School and we have a partnership with the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point that might be a good step for someone working towards a career working with children and nature. It is a graduate fellowship program where participants earn a masters in natural resources with a focus on residential environmental education. The program pays tuition, room & board and provides a small stipend. You can learn more at: http://www.conserveschool.org/gfree

~Stefan

Hi Stefan,

 

This looks like a fantastic opportunity!   Thank you so much for posting. 

 

Karen

 

Hi Catarina

So, I'm located in the San Francisco Bay Area in California.

This summer I have a great job working as an outdoor educator with a farm and nature-based summer camp. It's perfect, but the work is seasonal. Meanwhile I'm also working on a master's degree in Montessori education. I feel like our education system is due for a major shift and the Montessori teaching method is just one example of a more holistic teaching style. Many nature camps also talk about something called inquiry-based learning which fits with Montessori nicely.

I chose to focus on Montessori teaching as a dropping off point; my goal is to work on ways to further integrate outdoor lessons (such as in a farm/garden/nature area) with indoor lessons. So I'm also looking for classroom experience and internships with (Montessori) schools- especially any which may have some variety of outdoor classroom.

I have a pretty varied background (in addition to Natural History/Environmental Studies and a certificate in Scientific Illustration) - I've been a puppeteer, a graphic designer for a government agency, taught English in Japan, worked as a grounds-keeper, and a summer-camp ceramics specialist. I don't think any of it is unrelated because I think having experience and knowledge of  many things is important when you're a teacher, but to most potential employers, I worry that my resume looks a little unfocused.



Catarina Loureiro said:

Hi Victoria. I saw your post from a while back asking about a career change and wanted to ask you how that turned out for you. I am trying to make my way as a freelancer educator but is not easy (especially with the big economic crisis that’s been going around) and  would appreciate someone else’s opinion.

Best regards, 

Catarina

Hi Stefan, 

This does look like a great opportunity, I'll look in to it.

Thanks!

Catarina

Stefan Anderson said:

Hi all,

I work at Conserve School and we have a partnership with the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point that might be a good step for someone working towards a career working with children and nature. It is a graduate fellowship program where participants earn a masters in natural resources with a focus on residential environmental education. The program pays tuition, room & board and provides a small stipend. You can learn more at: http://www.conserveschool.org/gfree

~Stefan

Hi Victoria, 

Sound really great your summer job, to bad it is just for the summer. Things have been really difficult here in europe, specially on my country (I live in Portugal), even summer jobs are hard to find.

Your background is really impressive, and I completely agree with you, having a varied experience is really important for a teacher, specially in teaching outdoors.

Unlike you I’m starting to thing that maybe my resume is to focused in earth science and geoheritage conservation, that’s why I’ve started involving myself in different projects, especially related with biodiversity and environmental education. 


Coincidentally I’ve been involved in a inquire based project. I attended a training course in inquire based science education focused in climate change & biodiversity. The course was included in a 3 year project involving 19 botanical gardens from 11 countries funded by the European Union. (you can check out the inquire botany website @ http://www.inquirebotany.org).

I didn’t knew the Montessori method, just started investigating it a bit and it sound really interesting.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

Catarina



Victoria Fortune said:

Hi Catarina

So, I'm located in the San Francisco Bay Area in California.

This summer I have a great job working as an outdoor educator with a farm and nature-based summer camp. It's perfect, but the work is seasonal. Meanwhile I'm also working on a master's degree in Montessori education. I feel like our education system is due for a major shift and the Montessori teaching method is just one example of a more holistic teaching style. Many nature camps also talk about something called inquiry-based learning which fits with Montessori nicely.

I chose to focus on Montessori teaching as a dropping off point; my goal is to work on ways to further integrate outdoor lessons (such as in a farm/garden/nature area) with indoor lessons. So I'm also looking for classroom experience and internships with (Montessori) schools- especially any which may have some variety of outdoor classroom.

I have a pretty varied background (in addition to Natural History/Environmental Studies and a certificate in Scientific Illustration) - I've been a puppeteer, a graphic designer for a government agency, taught English in Japan, worked as a grounds-keeper, and a summer-camp ceramics specialist. I don't think any of it is unrelated because I think having experience and knowledge of  many things is important when you're a teacher, but to most potential employers, I worry that my resume looks a little unfocused.



Catarina Loureiro said:

Hi Victoria. I saw your post from a while back asking about a career change and wanted to ask you how that turned out for you. I am trying to make my way as a freelancer educator but is not easy (especially with the big economic crisis that’s been going around) and  would appreciate someone else’s opinion.

Best regards, 

Catarina

Victoria,

 

It is refreshing to hear from someone who is in the same boat as myself. I am in a transition period, searching to make some shifts in my career and find myself struggling to make 'that' connection. I've taught preschool for the past five years and now hope to move towards a career more focused on the outdoors and the connection between nature and wellness. Teaching in some capacity within this realm would certainly be great as well.  I wish I could lend some helpful info at the moment but will make sure to let you know if I stumble on anything. Good to have someone to share the search with!

Best of luck,

Sarah Nelson

I would love to know about opportunities in the North NJ area if possible. Thank you!

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