If you would like to apply
for the 2013-2014 school year or learn more about employment opportunities,
please contact Gregory Bahr (see contact info below).
B.A. or B.S.
Degree from an accredited university.
Experience working with children.
You will gain skills in:
-Public speaking and performance
-Natural history and plant and animal identification
-Group and time management
-Lesson and program planning
- $300 per week (including training)
- Room & Board
- $500 health stipend
Interns must have a genuine love for children and the outdoors. Our work weeks
are typically 40 hours long but often span entire days (with breaks interspersed). For
example, on Monday, depending on your schedule, you may work from 9:30 am
to 9:30 pm. You will live and work in a small community and thus will have to
be flexible, understanding, and communicative. Interns must be dedicated and
hard working, sometimes giving beyond 100%. The work week runs from 9:30am on Monday
(pre-student preparation – students arrive about 1:00pm) until about 3:00pm on Friday
(ending with an in-service training).
The educational hikes are theme oriented and based on the California State
Science Standards. This is the foundation that we use to prepare lesson plans.
During staff training we cover how to lesson plan, model teaching on trails,
and spend time preparing sample lessons. While we strive to provide mentorship
with senior naturalists and the principal you are also expected to be an
independent worker – we have found the best way to learn how to do this job, is
by jumping in.
Forest Trail: You will be responsible for 1 intro, 1 all day hike, 1 night
hike, 1 half day hike, and 1 closing hike through the redwood forest, a total
of about 15 hours.
Beach Day: Every week you will spend about 6 hours at the beach. Beach
environments include the marsh, tide pools, and sandy coast. You will make 2-3
stops on beach day, usually spending 1-3 hours at each stop.
Every evening there is a 2-hour long program. Monday is Sea Lab (a
coastal ecosystems prep program) and campfire, Tuesday is night
hike, Wednesday is Music Social (a fun dance) and campfire, and Thursday
Performing Arts Campfire (students perform skits). You will co-lead 2-3
programs a week (night hike is independent and you will lead one each
During evening programs, you will learn to project your voice, tell
sing songs, and engage a group of 90-150 students. You are then
cleaning up after programs and checking 1-3 cabins before bedtime at
Meals: You will co-lead 2-5 meals per week depending on the schedule. Working
meals consists of entertaining students before letting them in the dining hall,
directing them to set the tables and put food out, making announcements when
students can come get food and clean up, dismissing students, and directing
them to sweep the dining hall.
Interns are expected to occasionally rotate into two
different office staff positions, Medic Assistant and TLC (Teacher
Liaison/Character). Each intern can expect to be on-trail approximately
3 of every 4 weeks of work, that 4th week serving as either the Medic
Assistant or TLC. These positions help cover the office, taking care of
any medical or discipline issues that come up. They are also on call
at night, once during the week to answer any night-time "emergency"
As the Medic and TLC are not on trail,
this is also a time for naturalists to refresh their skills, shadow other
naturalists, and create/improve program teaching materials.
Medic: We have a full time medic who is EMT certified, but each week a
naturalist rotates into the office to work as the medic assistant. The
Medics are responsible for checking in and dispensing medications throughout
the week. As a medic
assistant, you can expect to work either a morning or an afternoon/evening
shift each day during the week.
TLC (Teacher Liaison/Character): Each week, one
naturalist rotates into the TLC position, which incorporates two main
responsibilities, the "Teacher Liaison" and the "Campfire Character".
As "Teacher Liaison", the TLC holds meetings with the classroom teachers
throughout the week to help make sure that their needs and the needs of
their students are being met by our program. As "Campfire Character",
the TLC develops an original or existing character to provide
entertainment, a theme, and a take-away message during campfires. The
TLC picks which songs are led by naturalists each night at campfire and
shows up in disguise. Past characters have included Mandy the
Mountain-climber (over-prepared with gear for the forest), Old Man
Redwood (a story-teller who lives in the forest), and Joey from Jersey
(a city-slicker, refusing to leave his cell phone and iPod behind). As
an intern you'll have the opportunity to reprieve a past character or
develop your own.
-You will be carrying backpacks, tending compost, setting up evening programs,
hiking long distances, and other various physical tasks. You must be physically
fit and capable.
-Most Fridays include professional development in-services for about 2-3
hours that may include natural history learning, positive discipline, the AEOE
Northern California Fall Conference, or field trips.
-Lesson planning, cleaning up after hikes, and communication with the principal are
scheduled into your work week, but will occasionally run into your own time.
-The schedule for next year is not set in stone, Traditionally we have one week
off for Thanksgiving, at least 2 weeks for Winter Break, a 3-day weekend for
President’s Week in February, and one week for Spring Break.
-You are under contract from start dates to finish dates so time off during the
week or weeks off is not possible. Leaving early from the contract is not possible
either (except for extreme situations). The schedules do vary however and can
allow you some business hours to take care of personal needs with different
times off during the week.
More About Where You Will Live:
Our site is located in the redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains-- a
beautiful place to live! The redwoods keep the forest cool or cold during most
of the year, and the rainy season extends from November to March. We are only a
few inches of rain per year from being considered a “rainforest,” and
occasionally it will rain every day for weeks. This ample precipitation gives
us an amazing array of mushrooms in the winter and flowers in the spring. The
moist climate also makes our forest a great place for banana slugs and
salamanders, which we find in abundance. We also have daily Mule Deer
encounters, and monthly coyote and bobcat sightings. Our site is about 10 miles
inland from Highway 1 and the Pacific Ocean, which is also usually pretty
chilly. The central coast of California is incredibly picturesque with sandy
cliffs and rocky tide pools, and a marsh full of migratory birds. Out in the
open ocean, marine mammal sightings include harbor seals, elephant seals, sea
lions and even gray whales! Our site is surrounded by several county and state
parks, so you can literally walk out your door and hike or bike for miles.
The forest is a relatively isolated place and cell phones do not work on site.
Small mountain towns dot the roads. Just inland from the coast is the small
town of Pescadero, which boasts a thrift store, restaurant, artichoke bread,
and a gas station with the best burritos on the coast (and, of course, gas). The
closest “big town” (the place where you would do your grocery shopping) is Half
Moon Bay, which is about a half hour away. Redwood City, Santa Cruz, and San
Francisco are all about an hour’s drive.
Aside from the 12
naturalists employed at SJOE itself, there are four other outdoor
schools very close by. Consequently, if you interested, you may choose
to participate in the greater naturalist community in the area, with
whom you may choose to play music, discuss
education techniques, share naturalist knowledge, or simply spend time
To apply, send resume and cover letter
11000 Pescadero Rd
La Honda, CA 94020