COVID-19 Risk Level for Multnomah County: Lower Risk

Nature Day Camp Paid Jobs (ages 16+)

Spend your summer as a nature educator Nature Day Camp! We offer positions leading nature activities and exploration for children.
(Nature Educator I, Nature Educator II, Team Lead, and Site Coordinator positions)
On this page

Join our summer team!

We are looking for people who are...

  • Patient, flexible, responsible, and enthusiastic.
  • Curious about nature and excited to be outdoors in all types of weather.
  • Comfortable ensuring campers, staff, and parents follow COVID-19 guidance from State and County public health authorities regarding physical distancing and face coverings.
  • Willing to learn, grow, and be challenged to try new things.
  • Comfortable and confident when talking to children and adults.
  • Eager to be part of an active and respectful team.
  • Comfortable mediating conflicts and challenging behaviors. 
  • Willing to give feedback to others and get feedback about their skills as an educator.

Note for 2021: Applicants should be aware that working with children and other employees during a pandemic has added risks. We ask that before applying, each person consider their own comfort level with these risks, including the actions they are or are not willing to take to help protect fellow employees, campers, and families who might be in a high-risk category. 

Please be aware of all COVID-19 guidelines and requirements before applying. These apply to all hired staff and participants.
Read about them on the "COVID-19 guidelines" portion of the Nature Day Camp webpage. 

General Information about the camp program

Environmental Education's Nature Day Camp offers nine weeks of summer camps at six locations throughout Portland. Camps have a nature theme and offer an opportunity for educators to explore and learn with small groups of children ages 5-12. Campers spend each day outdoors noticing the world, asking questions, playing in nature, and learning through games and activities. (Learn more about camp on our website)

Camp Locations

Each week, camp takes place at two of the locations listed below.  Over the nine weeks of camp, staff could be assigned to any or all of these locations and will need to find their own transportation to get there.

  • Mt Tabor Park (SE Portland)
  • Hoyt Arboretum (SW Portland)
  • Sellwood Park/Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (SE Portland)
  • Pier Park (N Portland)
  • Powell Butte Nature Park (Outer SE Portland)
  • Whitaker Ponds Natural Area (NE Portland)

Dates of employment - Vary by position

Nature Day Camps for children take place June 21 through August 20. 

  • All staff work Monday through Friday (with every other Friday off). Staff will not report on June 18, July 2, July 5 (Holiday), July 16, July 30, and August 13
  • All staff report from 8am-5pm. Everyone is responsible for getting themselves to the assigned site each week. 
  • All staff are required to attend training days in June. 
  • Camp wrap-up days are August 23 and 24. (Optional for Nature Educator I and II, required for Team Lead and Site Coordinators.)
Note for summer 2021 - Face coverings and physical distancing are required for all staff, campers, and adults dropping off/picking up campers. For a full list of requirements related to COVID-19, please visit the COVID-19 section on the Nature Day Camp webpage

Required training days for staff 

Please make sure you are available to attend all required training days. 

Planning days for Site Coordinators only

  • June 1-4, 8am-5pm | Remote work and in-person at Lair Hill Park and Carnegie office

Planning days for Site Coordinators and Team Leads

  • June 7-9, 8am-5pm | Remote work and in-person at Lair Hill Park and Carnegie office

Training days for returning Nature Educator I's and II's, with Team Leads and Site Coordinators (all staff from Summer 2018 or 2019)

  • June 9, 8am-5pm | In-person at Lair Hill Park

Training days for all staff (Please make sure you can get to each of these parks on foot or by car, bike, or public transportation.) 

  1. June 10, 8am-5pm | Whitaker Ponds Natural Area (NE)
  2. June 11, 8am-5pm | Pier Park (N)
  3. June 14, 8am-5pmMt Tabor Park (SE)
  4. June 15, 8am-5pmSellwood Park/Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (SE)
  5. June 16, 8am-5pmHoyt Arboretum (SW)
  6. June 17, 8am-5pmPowell Butte (outer SE)

All-staff training days cover these topics (in addition to others): 

  • What it means to work for Portland Parks & Recreation
  • Required employee trainings (Mandated reporter for child abuse, Harassment in the workplace, Equity 101, CPR and First Aid)
  • COVID-19 protocols and procedures
  • Characteristics of children ages 5-12
  • Leading nature activities
  • Managing a group
  • Dealing with challenging behaviors
  • How to promote nature play during unstructured times
  • Leading large and small group games
  • Camp first aid and safety
  • Communication strategies with parents and staff
  • Leave no trace principles
  • Ecology of the Pacific Northwest (various topics)

We also spend time each day becoming friends, building rapport, team-building, understanding our roles as mentors and teachers, and meeting the supervisors and managers of parks and programs. 

CPR/First Aid - All staff will take part in a Medic CPR and First Aid class offered by Portland Parks & Recreation. 

Severe Allergic Reactions and Medication Administration - All coordinators and Educator II positions are asked to attend three additional hours of training. Times and dates are TBD, but training takes place in early June. 

back to top

Who can work at camp? How do I apply? 

Information to think about before applying:

  1. Learn more about the camp program on the camp webpage
  2. Read about the COVID-19 guidelines for summer 2021
  3. Read about required training days.
  4. Have your work experience details and three references ready to go before clicking on the link to apply. 
    1. For Nature Educator I: have any paid or volunteer experience ready that you think would be helpful for us to know. You will need to list names of clubs, organizations, or businesses, people in charge of your work or volunteering, a summary of your experience, and dates you worked or volunteered. 
    2. For Nature Educator II: have any paid or volunteer experience ready. You will need to list names of businesses or organizations, names of supervisors, summary of duties, and dates of employment. 
    3. For Team Lead and Site Coordinator positions: have a resume that highlights your relevant education, experience, and training. You will be asked to upload a resume. 
    4. For all positions: have contact information for three professional references who are not related to you. (This might be a job supervisor, teacher, coach, youth leader, religious leader, etc. Choose someone who can speak to your character and work ethic.) 
  5. Questions? Check the frequently asked questions section or email questions to enviroed@portlandoregon.gov

back to top

Find all qualifications, duties, and application links below.  

Nature Educator I 

To qualify: At least 16 yrs old by June 1, 2021. No experience necessary, but you SHOULD genuinely like science, nature, children, and be interested in learning about outdoor education. 

Summary of duties (Please see the application for the full list of responsibilities):

Apply for the Nature Educator I position

Nature Educator II

To qualify: At least 18 years old by June 1, 2021. Must have experience leading and teaching groups of children, and at least 800 hours of experience working at Nature Day Camp or similar program (about two summers working full time) or equivalent hours at an organization related to nature, science, or outdoor education. 

Summary of duties (Please see the application for the full list of responsibilities):

  • Uphold all camp safety protocols and COVID-safe guidelines
  • Plan and lead nature-themed activities
  • Build relationships with campers and families
  • Create a safe space for campers to have fun and make friends

Submit your relevant education, experience, and training and fill out the application online. 

Apply for the Nature Educator II position

Nature Day Camp Team Lead

To qualify: At least 18 years old by June 1, 2021. Must have experience leading and teaching groups of children, experience leading a small team, and at least 1,200 hours of experience working at Nature Day Camp (three summers working full time), a similar camp program or equivalent hours at an organization related to nature, science, or outdoor education. 

Summary of duties (Please see the application for the full list of responsibilities):

Submit a resume highlighting your relevant education, experience and training and fill out the application online.

Apply for the Team Lead position

Nature Day Camp Site Coordinator

To qualify: At least 21 years old on June 1, 2021. Must have strong communication and collaboration skills, at least 1,200 hours of experience working at Nature Day Camp or similar program (about three summers working full time) or equivalent hours at an organization related to nature, science, or outdoor education, and at least 500 hours coordinating logistics for a large program and leading a diverse team.  Driver's license and acceptable five-year driving record required.

Summary of duties (Please see the application for the full list of responsibilities):

  • Uphold all camp safety protocols and COVID-safe guidelines
  • Coordinate program logistics, staff, and camp activities
  • Make daily decisions about issues that arise with campers, parents, and staff
  • Communicate effectively and build opportunities for collaboration
  • Build community and rapport with a large team of teens and young adults

Submit a resume highlighting your relevant education, experience and training and fill out the application online.

Apply for the Site Coordinator position

Returning Nature Day Camp staff (Interested in the Educator I and Educator II positions) 

To qualify: At least 16 years old by June 1, 2021 and worked as a Naturalist I or Naturalist II (now called Educator I and Educator II) in summer 2018 or 2019.

If you were on staff at Nature Day Camp prior to 2018 or if you are applying to be a Team Lead or Site Coordinator, you will need to fill out the appropriate application online above.) 

Returning staff - apply for Nature Educator I or Nature Educator II 

All applications must be filled out completely to be considered, including a list of three references and answers to all essay questions. 

back to top

Values we share as a team

  • We value a diverse range of backgrounds and experience in both campers and staff. 
  • We commit to working the entire ten weeks.
  • We take care of ourselves, so we stay healthy and happy. Campers in August get the same energy and enthusiasm as those in June.
  • We are happy about the weather. Rain is just as fun as a hot afternoon - it's just different.
  • We are able to get ourselves to camp on time, no matter the location. (All locations are accessible by TriMet.) 
  • We value and genuinely appreciate spending time with children. 
  • We take the time in our small camper groups to listen to campers about their lives.
  • We are friendly to children, their parents, park users, and other staff. 
  • We take the time to offer feedback and make improvements to camp. 
  • We value our camp volunteers (called Jr Naturalists). We offer them numerous chances each week to grow and learn new skills. 

back to top

Frequently asked questions

Can I apply if I need a week off during the summer?

Sure - feel free to apply. On the application there is a space to tell us up to five (5) days you would need off during the summer. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to work around it, but sometimes we can and will still invite you to an interview.

How much should I write for an essay question?

We suggest writing about 150-250 words, which is about six to eight sentences. Feel free to write more if you would like. Write in English or Spanish. 

Who should I list as my references?

Great question! We suggest using former supervisors or managers who know you well, but there are many others who might be a good reference and can speak to your good qualities. Here are some other ideas:

  • A coordinator for an organization where you volunteered
  • A youth worker, pastor, rabbi, religious leader
  • A teacher who knows both your work and your personality
  • A friend or neighbor whom you have done odd jobs or worked for (like lawn care or babysitting or cleaning)
  • A leader of a club or group you are involved in (like a garden club or language club)
  • A leader in an organization you are connected to (like a culturally specific organization or Big Brothers, Big Sisters)

Who should I contact if I have questions or need help?

Contact Chrissy at chrissy.larson@portlandoregon.g… or call/text at 503-823-1149. 

back to top

Volunteer positions - Jr Educator (ages 13-17)

Unfortunately due to staff capacity and stable groups required during COVID-19, we will not be offering a volunteer Jr Educator program in summer 2021. We hope to resume this program in summer 2022. 

Volunteer Jr Educator Program (Ages 13-17, no experience necessary but you should like science, nature, and children.)
See the Jr Educator page for all details.

back to top


Chrissy Larson

Environmental Education Coordinator, Early Childhood/Youth


Park Location or Entrance
SE 60th Avenue and Salmon Street
Portland, OR 97215
Park Location or Entrance
SE 7th Avenue and Sellwood Blvd
Portland, OR 97202
Park Location or Entrance
SE 7th Avenue and Miller Street
Portland, OR 97202

Hoyt Arboretum

Park Location or Entrance
4000 SW Fairview Blvd
Portland, OR 97221

Pier Park

Park Location or Entrance
N Lombard Street and Bruce Avenue
Portland, OR 97203
Park Location or Entrance
7040 NE 47th Avenue
Portland, OR 97218
Park Location or Entrance
16160 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97236