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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCool Careers Without CollegeTEACHER/NATURALIST - Description, Education/training, Profile, For More Information


Often, the title of this job is “teacher/naturalist” or “instructor/ naturalist.” This type of job is most commonly found at nature centers or preservation associations. You may also find employment at zoos, zoological gardens, or summer camps. Naturalists provide natural science programs to schools, interested groups, and the general public. Most teacher/naturalists fulfill many functions during the course of a single workday; their job requires them to serve as writers (of articles, brochures, and explanatory text on walls or posted near trails), teachers, historians, and mentors. They often lead field trips for visiting schoolchildren and deliver presentations in schools. Naturalists plan, organize, and conduct bird-watching expeditions, nature walks, seminars on outdoor skills, and nature-inspired craft classes. They can even get involved in land-use decisions concerning the parks in which they work; their opinion may be sought on what trees should be cut, how and where trails should be constructed, and where and if additional campsites should be built.

Because there is very little money to be made as a teacher/naturalist, you must have a genuine love for nature, its study, and its enjoyment. You should have a real curiosity about the natural world and how it works and a real desire to share what you learn with others. Needless to say, you should be physically fit and active. Having a sense of creativity and initiative is also useful; this will make the programs you create, the articles and interpretive texts you write, and the talks you deliver far more interesting and informative to a wide audience. You will also have to be flexible. You will often have to work on weekends and at night (when most of the public finally has time for camping, hiking, biking, and stargazing). Naturalist jobs are not very plentiful, so you should be prepared to relocate if necessary.

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