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Naturalist Internship & Training Program










“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more "successful" people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane.”

- David Orr, Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World


Applications for the 2020-2021 Outdoor School year are open.

Click on the button below to follow a link to our on-line application. 





At the Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center, our mission is to provide science-based experiential learning in the outdoors while fostering respect for the natural environment and empowering people to act in its interest. Our curriculum is closely aligned with Ohio State Learning Standards for social studies and science, but it is also closely aligned with the expressed needs of teachers, who emphasize nature connection, community building, and opportunities that support social-emotional intelligence for the students they bring here. 


By becoming a Glen Helen Naturalist Teacher Intern, you join a 64 year tradition of exceptional educators who have gone on to be leaders in many fields. Being a Glen Helen Naturalist Teacher Intern is a life-changing experience. It's demanding and fulfilling and supportive in a unique way. There's a good chance you'll make great friends, touch many children's lives, and grow significantly as a teacher and as a leader. If you love children, nature, learning, science and being goofy, I hope you will apply.


- Michael J. Blackwell, Director, Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center


Outdoor Naturalist Teacher Training Internship Description

Our Outdoor School year begins with a 3-week intensive training course in mid-August and segues into a 35-week Teacher/Naturalist practicum; an intensive learning experience that merges theory and practice. A typical week involves a Monday learning/training day, followed by Tuesday to Friday Outdoor School. The Naturalist Teacher gains training as a leader for a group of 8-13 school kids (usually 4th-6th grade) who visit Glen Helen for four days and three nights to learn about nature while becoming better friends and community members in the process.


Naturalists have the freedom to creatively develop individual lesson plans and hone their teaching style and persona, as they create lessons to support schools' learning objectives. Lesson options include observation, questioning, senses, wildlife, succession, nocturnal animals, forest ecology, stream ecology, geology, weather, environmental problem solving, cultural history, cooperation, and team building.


We are in the process of adapting U of California Berkeley Lawerence Hall of Science BEETLES curriculum, which is emerging as a national leader in environmental education teaching. Teacher naturalists will experience significant gains in their skills and knowledge base as environmental educators, and as teachers and leaders in general.



The internship provides opportunities for Naturalists to get hands-on experience teaching with some of Ohio’s native wildlife, such as turtles, snakes, owls, hawks, falcons, vultures and eagles. Interns are trained to handle and care for animal educational ambassadors, and many a Glen Helen naturalist has begun a zoo or interpretive career here. 



Interns form a personal and professional learning community. We share the values of being inclusive, of growing peacemaking and communication abilities that allow us to become better people and to live and work together skillfully. Interns live in one of three rustic houses in the midst of the beautiful 1,000-acre Glen Helen Nature Preserve while forming a supportive community of diverse, yet like-minded individuals dedicated to education and care of the natural world. The vibrant and artistic Village of Yellow Springs is within walking distance. No vehicle is required, but you are welcome to bring one.



Professional Development

Throughout the 10-month training period, interns also participate in a variety of professional development activities, including seminars, workshops, and training days on topics such as:


  • Theory and methods of curriculum design and teaching

  • A well-rounded exposure to natural history and Naturalist's skills in a variety of areas: plants, trees, birds, mammals, weather, fire, tracking, etc. 

  • Group and child behavior management techniques

  • Project Learning Tree, Project WET, Project WILD, Population Connection

  • Field trips to local museums, zoos, arboretums, etc.

  • Attendance at regional environmental education conferences 

  • Opportunities for camping, outdoor adventure and traveling to other nature schools


Responsibilities and Duties
  • Train as an environmental educator, sharing your learning with students in our week-long residential programs

  • Share in the daily and weekly responsibilities at the Outdoor Education Center and the Raptor Center

Qualifications and Skills
  • Passion for working with children, nature, holistic teaching, science-education

  • Willing to work and live in the community and work as a team

  • Minimum two years of undergraduate course work or associate's degree (four year preferred)

  • In-person CPR and First-Aid certification prior to program start (we provide training)

  • Ability to hike uneven terrain for six 3-hour hikes per week in all weather and work long days with some evening work

  • Pass BCI/FBI background check

  • Biweekly stipend of $373, from mid-August to end of May, with a month off over winter break

  • Room and board, including vegetarian and vegan options

  • Intensive mentoring from Lead Naturalists and Directors

  • Opportunity to strengthen teaching and naturalist skills over course of guided 9 1/2 month practicum learning experience

  • Trained to handle and teach with birds of prey from our Raptor Center

  • Opportunity to deepen personal philosophy and theoretical understandings of education, learning and environmentalism

  • Opportunity to learn traditional naturalist skills: tracking, interpreting bird language, fire-making, etc.

  • Opportunity to practice arts-based learning through music, skits, games, and other arts

  • Gain experience with a carefully designed, state-standards aligned curriculum, including Beetles modules, with freedom for personal expression and interests

  • Opportunity for continuing year Glen Helen experience if chosen as an Ecocamp Naturalist Counselor positions or second year Lead Naturalist position

  • Access to a sweet, extensive naturalists' library

  • Access to Antioch College Wellness center, pool, and fitness programs for $35/month. 

  • Access to on-line research journals through Antioch College

  • Professional development experiences: conferences, speakers, visits to other centers

  • Fall, winter and spring breaks



TENTATIVE 2020-2021 Naturalist Training Program Cohort Dates (all dates subject to change)

Beginning of Outdoor School Training (BOOST Camp) 

Mid-August to Labor Day


10-Month Practicum, Mentorship, and Professional Development

Fall Term

First Tuesday after Labor Day to the Friday before Christmas

  • Fall Break: dates TBA

  • Winter Break: First Friday before Christmas to mid-January

  • Winter Expedition: Second Week of January

  • Spring Term: Mid-January to Friday before Memorial Day

  • Spring Break: TBA

Recruitment for 2020-2021 Outdoor School begins in mid-December. 

Click on the button below to follow a link to our on-line application. 



Hiring for Summer Ecocamp Season begins in mid- Januray. 



Address to any questions to 

Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center

Attn: Director, Michael J. Blackwell

1075 State Route 343 Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387 | 937.767.7648

Naturalist Internship & Training Program
MD and kids at FC 1617.JPG
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