COVID-19 Risk Level for Multnomah County: High 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.
(Educator I positions, Educator II positions, various Site Coordinator positions)

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Qualities of a nature educator

If you are 16 or older and have these qualities, you might make a great nature educator:

  • Honest and hard-working
  • Can arrive to work on time
  • Creative and able to solve problems 
  • Willing to ask for help when needed
  • Responsible and patient with children
  • Confident when talking to children, parents and peers
  • Curious about nature, science, or the outdoors
  • Silly, playful, and willing to look goofy in front of children
  • Have an interest in teaching or mentoring others
  • Have an interest in helping children learn how to be good stewards to the earth

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. 

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How to Apply

Make sure this job is a good fit for you. Please check out the links below before applying:

  1. Read information about Nature Day Camp. (It's what parents look at to learn about camp.)
    Make sure to focus on the following sections:
  2. Carefully read the requirements for each position. Applicants interested in more than one position must fill out separate applications. 
  3. Read about the required training days.
  4. Identify and contact three character or employment references. 
  5. Questions? Maybe we have already answered them in our section on frequently asked questions
  6. Complete your application online. (You will be asked to list your references when applying. You will also have to answer three or four supplemental questions.)  

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Required training days

(June 2021)

Please make sure you are available to attend all required training days. If you cannot attend the CPR classes provided by Portland Parks, you must get certified on your own time. 

Training days for coordinator positions only

  • Planning days - June 1-4 and June 7-9), 8am-5pm | Remote work and in-person at Lair Hill Park and Carnegie office

Training days for returning staff only (all staff from Summer 2018 or 2019)

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

Training days for all staff (in all positions)

  1. June 10, 8am-5pmLair Hill Park
  2. June 11, 8am-5pmLair Hill Park
  3. June 14, 8am-5pmHoyt Arboretum
  4. June 15, 8am-5pmSellwood Park/Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
  5. June 16, 8am-5pmHoyt Arboretum
  6. June 17, 8am-5pmMt Tabor Park

These training days cover topics such as the following: 

  • COVID-19 protocols and procedures
  • Portland Parks and Recreation - what it means to wear the logo.
  • City of Portland required trainings (Mandated reporter for child abuse, Harassment in the workplace, Equity 101, CPR and First Aid)
  • Child development
  • Facilitating nature activities
  • Group management
  • Dealing with challenging behaviors
  • How to promote beneficial nature play in 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 our program and each park. 

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. 

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Links to Nature Day Camp applications 

Links will be updated as soon as they are live.

Basic requirements for each position are listed below.  

Educator I  --  Ages 16+, no experience necessary, but you SHOULD really like science, nature, children and be interested in teaching!
The link to this position will be provided when positions open. 

Educator II  --  Ages 18+, experience leading and teaching groups of children, and at least two summers experience as an educator at Nature Day Camp or a similar program (800 hours total, or two summers working full time).
The link to this position will be provided when positions open. 

Nature Day Camp Team Lead -- Ages 18+, experience leading and teaching groups of children, experience leading a small team, and at least two summers as an educator at Nature Day Camp or similar program (800 hours total, or two summers working full time). 
The link to this position will be provided when positions open. 

Nature Day Camp Site Coordinator  --  Ages 21+, experience leading groups, organizing a team, and at least three summers experience at Nature Day Camp or a similar program (working 30+ hrs/wk). Driver's license and good driving record preferred.
The link to this position will be provided when positions open. 

Returning staff (Educator I and Educator II)  --  Ages 16+ and have been on staff at Nature Day Camp within the past three years. If you were on staff at Nature Day Camp in 2018 or 2019 and are applying to be a Naturalist I or II for Summer 2021, fill out the Returning Staff application. (If you are applying to be an Educator Team Lead or Site Coordinator, you will need to fill out the appropriate application online.) 
The link to this position will be provided when positions open. 

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

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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)

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Volunteer positions

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.

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.

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