Outdoor Wilderness Lab Instructor


Mesa County Outdoor Wilderness Lab


Gateway, CO



Maria Deuel


Program Overview: Led by the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE), the Environmental Education Corps (eeCorps) AmeriCorps Program places AmeriCorps members at organizations throughout Colorado to focus on increasing environmental literacy for PreK-12 students and implementing the goals outlined in the Colorado Environmental Education Plan. eeCorps works directly with teachers, schools, and EE providers to support them in expanding reach and increasing impact of EE programming, while providing access to equitable learning experiences for all PreK-12 students. eeCorps members provide direct service to improve outcomes in Environmental Stewardship and Education. AmeriCorps is a part of the Corporation for National & Community Service, often referred to as the “domestic Peace Corps.” AmeriCorps provides opportunities to improve lives and foster civic engagement all across the country.

This position will be located at The Outdoor Wilderness Lab (OWL) in Gateway, CO. OWL provides outdoor learning opportunities to Mesa County Valley School District’s students. Their ultimate goal is to “engage every learner in unique learning experiences that explore conservation of natural resources in our local environment and empower health and wellness for our learners”.


Service Position Summary: Operating under the general direction of the Gateway School Principal, this position functions as an Instructor for the District’s Outdoor Wilderness Laboratory (OWL) Classroom activities and programming. This role implements current standards and best practices bringing outdoor experiential learning to students. Instructors work directly with the OWL Lead Teacher, other D51 Teachers, OWL support staff and volunteers to build a collaborative and robust experiential learning support network for students. In addition, this role may work with student’s primary teachers, school sites, and others as they bring OWL programming into their classroom(s). OWL programming includes overnight trips for MS students in the fall and spring and day trips for 3-12 students during times of the year when there are no overnight trips.


Essential Functions (Primary Responsibilities): eeCorps members engage with their Host Site organizations to develop, implement, and enhance programs, projects, and activities that will create progress towards eeCorps and Outdoor Wilderness Lab’s goals. These duties include:

  • Collaborate with OWL lead teacher, instructors, guest instructors, and high school student counselors to provide program instruction 
  • Present science and related subject matter using best instructional practices
  • Continuously monitor relevant student learning
  • Ensure that all lessons are aligned with the D51 Learning Model, including the Teaching and Learning and Social Emotional Learning Frameworks
  • Participate in, as requested, D51 teacher meetings at alternative locations promoting the OWL program purposes and facilitating school registration
  • Work collaboratively with a network of guest instructors and presenters that can help provide experiential and academic supports
  • Assist in the training and development of expectations of OWL high school student leaders
  • Follow operational manuals and guidelines for all phases of instruction and operation
  • Implement appropriate risk-management systems and procedures including First Aid and Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation training and following the district’s medical policies for safety and security protocols
  • Use de-escalation skills to diffuse and manage stressful and fluid situations
  • Lead, communicate, interact and work effectively and cooperatively with people from diverse ethnic and educational backgrounds
  • Maintain confidentiality in all aspects of the job, especially as related to student issues
  • Track progress and collect evaluation data for the program’s performance measures
  • Attend all eeCorps AmeriCorps trainings and orientations
  • Complete all eeCorps required National Days of Service projects
  • Complete and submit all necessary eeCorps  paperwork and reports by predetermined deadlines
  • Some local and out of town travel required


Marginal Functions (Secondary Responsibilities): Additional tasks include:

  • Assist with the check-in/departure process
  • Overnight & sleeping supervision (Monday through Thursday during OWL sessions)
  • Assist in serving and clean-up of meals
  • Assist in implementing medical protocols
  • Maintain campus communication protocols (radios, cell phones, etc.)
  • Transport students in D51 activity buses (15 passenger) as needed
  • Other outdoor instructional duties related to OWL programming as assigned


Physical, Emotional, and Intellectual Demands:

  • A high standard of personal conduct to uphold and maintain personal integrity and ethics is required as well as the avoidance of substance abuse and other risk taking behavior
  • This position holds an expectation for overnight stays during the OWL overnight sessions
  • Position requires observational, prioritization, strong listening skills, tact, and attention to detail in order to determine the urgency of situations, and to accurately assess events in a timely manner
  • OWL instructor must have a strong understanding of social-emotional behaviors, cultural diversity, learning-centered environment, and be able to lead peers in a common mission
  • OWL Instructor also holds an expectation to possess a working knowledge of and promote and enact federal, state, and district education policies, standards, and procedures 
  • Position is considered moderately physical and requirements can vary depending on the task-at-hand, time of year and work site conditions


Desired Qualifications:

  • High School Diploma or GED required, college graduate preferred, especially in education, science, or other related field of study
  • Minimum of two years’ experience working with and/or coaching students K-12 especially with experiential learning experiences

  • Preference given to applicants with Next Generation Science Standards, STEM, and outdoor learning instruction experiences
  • District’s Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), First-Aid, and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training is required/provided for this position
  • District’s small vehicle permit
  • Ethic of national and community service and a strong desire to create positive change
  • Ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing; computer literate
  • Ability to pass criminal history check
  • Reliable transportation & proof of auto insurance
  • U.S. Citizenship or lawful permanent resident status required  


Term of Service - Time Commitment: This is a full-time national and community service position requiring, at a minimum, a total of 1,700 hours during the year (approximately 40 hours/week.) The position begins August 24, 2020 and ends June 4, 2021. Flexible hours are required, including occasional evening and weekend commitments. Member must serve on Days of Service that take place on certain national holidays throughout the year. 


Training and Support Provided: eeCorps members receive significant training and experience in community engagement, project implementation, leadership, diverse populations, and more. Up to 20% of total hours served may be spent in applicable, approved training and professional development. Members will be supervised and supported by Mark Allen, OWL Principal, as well as by Kat Riley, eeCorps Program Director. The 2020-21 cohort of eeCorps members serving throughout the region will act as additional resources and support for each other.


Location and Service Conditions: This position is based at Gateway School (42575 CO-141, Gateway, CO 81522) and may/will involve service at other schools in the Mesa County Valley School District. Position is direct service, and will involve frequent days of service (outdoors and/or in a school and/or community building). 


Benefits: Full-time eeCorps members receive:

  • A living allowance of $14,900. Taxes are deducted and the living allowance is distributed twice per month by direct deposit to the member’s bank account.
  • Health insurance for full-time members, if eligible
  • Child care assistance for full-time members, if eligible
  • An education award of $6,195 upon successful completion of term of service. It is possible to defer student loans while serving as an AmeriCorps member.
  • Mileage reimbursement for travel to required trainings and days of service.
  • Ability to participate in regional EE leadership councils; option to obtain CAEE’s nationally-recognized Professional Environmental Educator Certification.
  • Non-tangible benefits including extensive training, valuable experience, networking, and the opportunity to serve the local community in a crucial area of need.


Diversity and Equal Opportunity:

Mesa County Valley School District subscribes to the principles of the dignity of all people and of their labors. It also recognizes that it is both culturally and educationally sound to have persons of diverse backgrounds on the District's staff.

If you are interested in applying to this position, please send your resume and a short cover letter outlining your interest in the program and commitment to national service to Kat Riley, AmeriCorps Program Director, at americorps@caee.org. Please also attach a list of three (3) references, and a diversity and inclusion statement that is no longer than one page in length. Include “AmeriCorps OWL Application” in the subject line, and combine all application materials into a single PDF.