Under general supervision, assists Naturalists or other Conservation and Experiential Programming Department staff in performing a wide range of duties related to nature-based, programming in areas such as environmental education, outdoor recreation and seasonal events at various locations throughout Cook County. Naturalist Aides may be assigned to a variety of programmatic locations or teams including the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s nature centers and the outreach team which facilitates the Mighty Acorns and other environmental education programs. Naturalist Aides support other staff with the day to day operations of the particular assigned location and/or team including, but not limited to, programmatic work, administrative work, maintenance and custodial work. All Naturalists Aides interact with the public at Nature Centers, schools and community organizations on a regular basis and are expected to be customer focused and community focused in all of their work. This is a year-round, part-time position up to 29 hours per week.
Supports the mission of the District and the Conservation and Experiential Programming Department.
Addresses educational, civic and school groups on wide-range of natural history, conservation, recreation and District topics.
Assists in planning, developing, and implementing programs in conservation, environmental education and outdoor recreation as well as for seasonal and special events.
Performs a variety of duties in connection with nature-based programming that may include environmental education, outdoor recreation and seasonal events.
May work in urban communities/environments to support Outreach and other programs.
Assists with preparing written materials for possible display at Nature Centers or for distribution to schools and/or other partners of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.
Provides support for Naturalists and others in the Department on an as-needed basis.
Informs and advises general public on nature center, environmental education and District topics.
Assists in coordinating groups and other visitors.
Assists the public both over the telephone and in person.
May provide care and feeding for captive display animals according to prescribed formulation of dietary needs.
May support the maintenance of a clean and healthy environment for display wildlife by adhering to strict sanitary codes and practices.
Must possess a high school diploma or GED AND two (2) or more seasons of work experience providing activities, programs or workshops related to environmental topics such as wildlife, native plants and conservation, particularly as they pertain to local ecosystems.
Must have completed 60 credit hours at an accredited college or university in environmental education, natural sciences, teaching, arts, forestry, recreation programming, or similar field.
Must possess a current, valid driver’s license
Work experience as a Seasonal Youth Outdoor Ambassador, Seasonal Recreation Aide or Seasonal Naturalist Aide with the Forest Preserves of Cook County, OR work experience as Conservation Corp Crew member with Friends of the Forest Preserve or with Student Conservation Association, OR work experience as a King Conservation Science Scholar with the Chicago Zoological Society programs, OR work experience with the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Youth Farm or Urban Garden Lab programs.
Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other Characteristics
Ability to research and prepare information for presentation through displays, exhibits and other written and graphic illustrations.
Demonstrated interest and ability to participate in public education and recreation programs at the District through writing, public speaking and teaching.
Ability to engage participants ranging from youth to adults in programming and model conservation, inquiry based and experiential teaching and learning throughout the entire program.
Ability to maintain a high level of courtesy, efficiency and morale while cooperating with fellow employees and dealing with a large number of visitors.
Ability to interact with community groups and members of the public to keep program components responsive to community needs.
An interest in, or knowledge of, wildlife and the ability to understand the needs, characteristics and behavior of wild animals.
Willingness to perform duties associated with the maintenance of nature centers and trails and ability to lift up to 50 pounds.
Knowledge of the basic principles of natural history, biology, zoology, forestry and related subjects as may pertain to services and operations of the District and its natural resources.
Ability and skill in the safe use of basic hand-held tools and equipment for the purpose of cleaning and sanitizing animal cages.
Ability to communicate effectively and tactfully with others both verbally and in writing. Ability to explain services and operations or provide general directions and information to callers and visitors.
Ability to effectively organize and manage groups of program participants, particularly children, in a safe and efficient manner.
Ability to maintain a strict schedule and exhibit excellent time management skills.
Ability to follow written and oral instructions effectively and follow safety procedures.
Ability to organize and execute with dedication the mission of the District.
Ability to work outdoors in inclement weather.
Ability to work extended, flexible, weekend, evening and holiday hours as needed.
Willingness to be assigned to any District facility or programmatic team and to accept short-term, temporary assignments to other District facilities as needed.
Ability to perform various types of physical exertion, including, but not limited to lifting, pulling, pushing, and moving objects of moderate to heavy weight.
The duties listed are not set forth for purposes of limiting the assignment of work. They are not to be construed as a complete list of the many duties normally to be performed under a job title or those to be performed temporarily outside an employee's normal line of work.
When applying for employment with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, preference is given in the application process to honorably discharged Veterans who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States for more than 180 consecutive days or during War Time. To take advantage of this preference, a Veteran must:
Meet the minimum qualifications for the position.
Identify him/herself as a Veteran on his/her employment application by answering “Yes” to the question “Are you a military veteran?”
Attach a copy of his/her DD 214, DD 215, or NGB 22 (Notice of Separation) at the time of application by uploading it as part of your application. If there are multiple DD 214s, DD 215s, or NGB 22s, please submit the one with the latest date. Coast Guard must submit a certified copy of the military separation from either the Department of Transportation (before 911) or the Department of Homeland Security (after 911).
Veteran must provide original applicable discharge papers at time of interview.
General District Employment Requirements
PROOF OF EDUCATION, CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES WILL BE REQUIRED AT TIME OF INTERVIEW.
MUST BE A RESIDENT OF COOK COUNTY OR ESTABLISH RESIDENCY IN COOK COUNTY WITHIN SIX (6) MONTHS OF EMPLOYMENT AND REMAIN A RESIDENT AT ALL TIMES DURING EMPLOYMENT WITH THE DISTRICT.
The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is an equal opportunity employer and ensures against discrimination in employment on the basis of a person’s race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military discharge status, source of income, housing status, or gender identity.