Naturalist Educator / Youth Development Specialist

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy


Website pittsburghparks Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Position Summary:

The Youth Development educator will teach about the rich cultural history and diverse ecosystems found in Pittsburgh’s parks, telling the ongoing story of city parks through inquiry-based education. Our educators develop meaningful relationships with their students and tailor lessons and activities to best meet the interests and needs of the group.

The ideal candidate has strong interpersonal skills, recognizes the intersection of economic disparity and environmental injustice, understands natural systems, and can articulate the ecosystem services that the parks provide.

Position Duties:

Performs under the general supervision of the Director of Education and is responsible for, but not limited to, the following duties:

Essential Duties:

  • Effectively lead the design and delivery of year-round middle-school and high-school environmental education programming with a focus on youth development and mentorship, hands-on stewardship, and experiential outdoor learning, both independently and collaboratively with other Education Department staff.
  • Effectively and collaboratively assist with the design and delivery of youth, adult, and family programming that advances peoples’ understanding of and commitment to the natural and cultural resources found in Pittsburgh’s parks in accordance with industry best practices.
  • Create a safe, supportive learning environment for all learners through positive reinforcement, role-modeling, and cultural sensitivity.
  • Effectively facilitate team-building initiatives and proactively manage the risks associated with teen and public programs including group management, activity-specific risks, and emotional and social boundaries.
  • Work collaboratively and effectively with the education team to design and deliver an integrated suite of K-12 outdoor education programs that include hands-on, minds-on activities and meet state and local school district academic standards and align with industry best practices.
  • Effectively and consistently assist with the internal tracking of all education and outreach programs.
  • Work is conducted in office and outdoor settings. Work is conducted at a variety of times of the day, with evening, weekend, holiday, and irregular hours as necessary to meet deadlines and achieve objectives.

Related Work:

  • Perform work in an externally facing role and represent the organization at public events and to a broad range of constituencies.
  • Effectively prioritize work activities while coordinating multiple projects and meeting critical deadlines.
  • Proactively resolve problems; negotiate effective and appropriate solutions to conflicts; and effectively handle critical, confidential, and/or sensitive matters.
  • Establish a strategic and flexible personal work plan based on calendar of programs and events at FEC.
  • Positively and effectively represent the Conservancy with participating schools, support organizations, universities and colleges, and related groups for educational programs.
  • Provide constructive input, recommendations, and support to the Conservancy staff.
  • Keep the Assistant Director of Education, and when appropriate, the Director of Education, promptly informed of matters as they relate to the department and PPC.
  • Perform other related duties as apparent or assigned.

The Way We Work – The Employees of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy:

  • Work and accept responsibility to search for, create, and execute new and innovative approaches to improve the performance of Conservancy strategies and objectives.
  • Foster meaningful interaction among diverse individuals through the exchange of information to produce understanding.
  • Continuously develop and use effective strategies and interpersonal styles to engage and guide others toward the accomplishment of personal and organizational goals and objectives and goals in the best interest of the Parks Conservancy.
  • Consistently work toward the common good of the organization and encourage others to do the same.
  • Conduct themselves at all times in a professionally appropriate and respectful manner.
  • Apply the proper safety/security practices according to established protocols, guidelines and policies.
  • Maintain strong work ethic and demonstrate flexibility.

Knowledge of (position requirements at entry):

  • Familiarity with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s mission, key stakeholders, and audiences.
  • Strong familiarity with best practices in mentorship and youth development.
  • Strong familiarity with best practices in environmental education.
  • Strong familiarity with trail maintenance and other ecological restoration techniques.
  • Strong familiarity with conservation and sustainability practices.
  • Familiarity with basic educational theory and practice.
  • Outstanding customer service principles and practices within a diverse work and customer environment.

Skills and Ability to (position requirements at entry):

  • Lead and interact with others and maintain relationships with schools, non-profit partners, local university partners, and City departments.
  • Ability to work independently, collaboratively, and in a team environment.
  • Ability to multi-task and address both project and interpersonal issues in a positive, constructive, and proactive manner.
  • Use and navigate Microsoft Office Suite, the internet, and other resources for research, data management and communication.
  • Safely use tools required for outdoor stewardship projects, including but not limited to shovels, loppers, log carriers, etc.
  • Provide outstanding customer service within a diverse work and customer base.
  • Effectively manage workflow, demonstrate creative problem solving, and set appropriate priorities while coordinating multiple projects and meeting critical deadlines.
  • Be highly self-motivated with a clear set of priorities, a strong work ethic, and the ability to anticipate and adapt to change.
  • Handle matters with highest degree of professionalism; solve problems; negotiate effective and appropriate solutions to conflicts; and effectively handle critical, confidential, and/or sensitive matters.
  • Approach situation analysis and problem solving through the lens of racial equity, including use of effective and appropriate engagement with people from diverse communities.
  • Provide both oral and written communication that is direct and easily understood, listen effectively to thoroughly understand the intended message with sensitivity to nuance, and employ a communication style that is open, cordial and issues-focused.
  • Establish and maintain effective, respectful and productive working relationships.
  • Show respect and sensitivity for cultural differences.
  • Demonstrate unimpeachable personal integrity and trustworthiness and discretion in the handling of confidential and sensitive matters.
  • Understand and appropriately adhere to and communicate PPC policies and procedures.

Training and Experience (position requirements at entry):

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in Education, Environmental Education, Natural/Environmental Sciences, or related field.  A equivalent experience, preferably with a focus in Education, Environmental Education, Natural/Environmental Sciences, or related field.
  • Experience in an educational setting: minimum of 2 years.


  • Experience providing environmental education programming:  A minimum of six (6) years. (Substitute for bachelor’s degree and 2 years of environmental education experience.)


  • First Aid and CPR certification required (must be obtained within 6 months of hire date).
  • The ability to pass three background checks: Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance; Pennsylvania State Police Request for Criminal Records Check; Federal Criminal History Record Information (CHRI).
  • Valid PA driver license.

Physical Requirements:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential duties of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential duties.

  • The ability to maneuver through all areas of parks (hills, streams, dense thicket, etc.).
  • The ability to work outdoors through all seasons.
  • The ability to lift loads of 50 pounds at park locations as it relates to restoration and Park projects (e.g., trees, rocks, sand, cement, etc.).
  • Light Work: Exerting up to 20 pounds of force occasionally, and/or a negligible amount of force constantly to move objects.
  • The ability to safely operate a motor vehicle to travel to and from work locations.
  • The ability to operate office equipment requiring continuous or repetitive hand/arm movements.
  • The ability to remain in a sitting or standing position for extended periods of time.
  • The ability to traverse on rough, uneven terrain, as well as wet and slippery surfaces and to ascend and descend ladders to access work areas.

Normal office environment 50% of the time.  50% of the time out in the field, attending meetings and facilitating educational events.

Submit Resume and Cover letter

NO phone calls please

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