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!
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.
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
About Ecology Project International
EPI is an international non-profit dedicated to addressing critical conservation issues through field-based partnerships between local experts and middle/high school students. We engage adolescents from local communities and visiting youth from other regions in applied hands-on science and conservation as they learn about and help protect threatened species and habitats. EPI’s programs in the U.S. and Latin America inspire the next generation of environmental leaders to engage in conservation efforts at home and around the world. More information can be found at www.ecologyproject.org.