Volunteer & Environmental Education Program AmeriCorps Member

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  1. Information for AmeriCorps

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This position is with the Catawba Science Center located in Hickory, NC. The mission of the Science Center is "Changing Lives and Inspiring Learning Through Science and Wonder."

Before you apply, please “read the instructions carefully”: http://www.ctnc.org/connect/americorps-application-portal-2/ and include all relevant materials in your application. Applications that do not include all of the relevant items will not be considered. Please note that this is for an AmeriCorps position for 10-months with a pre-determined living allowance of $14,000 and other benefits that include: child care benefit, health care benefit for monthly premium coverage, and the Segal Education Award upon successful completion of the term of $6,095. All information can be found on the link provided above. 

CTNC is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate because of race, creed, color, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual preference or familial status.

CTNC seeks to engage applicants from underrepresented communities, particularly of Asian, Black, Hispanic, Multi-Racial, and Native American background, in conservation careers. Connecting more diverse applicants to an employment pathway has led to greater equity, diversity and inclusion of all people in conservation.

Purpose of the Position

The AmeriCorps member will have dual purposes for the Catawba Science Center (CSC). Foremost they will reinvigorate CSC’s volunteer program. CSC needs dedicated volunteers, of all ages and backgrounds, to help provide inspiring and engaging experiences for our visitors. Volunteers can have many jobs, including but not limited to, caring for aquatic and land life and their environments, maintaining CSC’s exhibits (many with an ecological theme), staffing these exhibits in order to best engage visitors with hands-on learning experiences and lessons on conservation, and leading activities and programs for our visitors that provide more in-depth engagement. CSC needs to reestablish relationships with local schools, civic organizations and professional societies to find like-minded, dedicated support. An expectation will be that the member creates best practices manuals for three departments that will guide the program into the future.

Secondly, tapping into the expertise of the AmeriCorps member and aligning with the focus of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, we need to improve the quality of our programming and exhibits tied to environmental education. The programs include those that school youth participate in during field trips, both onsite and at a local Hickory park, and those free with admission for our visitors. They can include those that happen within the building, utilizing CSC’s rich resources to engage in ecology topics, or outside using neighborhood resources. In all instances, the goal will be to maximize the opportunities we have with our participants to impress upon them important lessons in conservation.

Position Responsibilities and Duties

Major Function:  Recruit, train and manage volunteers to staff CSC’s exhibits, care for the center’s living collection and lead programs for the general public that visits CSC by choice. Create the relationships, best practices and procedures for CSC’s volunteer program.

Secondary Function: Create environmental programs that accompany CSC’s exhibits, utilize our physical location and its resources, and community parks to engage CSC’s visitors. Additionally, advise CSC’s programs department on revising the school programs related to ecology.


  • Work with CSC staff to identify greatest needs for volunteer support.
  • Establish relationships with local schools, businesses and organizations to best position CSC for recruiting needed support.
  • Learn the jobs for volunteers; including but not limited to presenting public programs, working with visitors in CSC’s exhibits, caring for CSC’s aquatic and land life and staffing point of sale systems.
  • Create best practices/manuals for volunteer program.
  • Create programs for CSC’s visitors related to our environmental spaces; such as the preschool area Treehouse Adventures, the fresh and salt water aquaria, the Naturalist Center and the aquaponics facility
  • Offer suggestions and assist with making improvements in existing environmental education programs, specifically those held at Glenn Hilton Park 
  • Represent CSC in a positive and professional manner.


  • Four year science degree required (preferably biology or environmental science).  
  • Team player, flexibility, good verbal communication skills, ability to work with people of all ages and backgrounds, and comfort working around marine life, invertebrates and reptiles.  
  • Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively, creatively and effectively with people of all ethnic, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds
  • Must be at least 18 years of age, be a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States; Must have a legal driver’s license and consent to a criminal history check
  • Demonstrated computer abilities in Microsoft Office suite, especially Word, Excel, PowerPoint; webpage and social media background a plus

Essential Functions / Physical Demands

While working within the aquaria and exhibit halls, CSC’s AmeriCorps member will need to lift 60 lb boxes up to 3-4 feet to a cart. When working in the exhibit halls, there will be periods when he/she must remain stationary 50% of the time. She/he must be able to move around CSC’s three buildings using ramps, elevators or stairs. 

Preferred Schedule

This is a full-time temporary position requiring at least 1700 hours. The chosen applicant will work with the Catawba Science Center for a 10-month term (September 2019 - June 2020). The AmeriCorps member will work Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Some weekend and after hours work will be required.

Location: Hickory, NC
Apply for this Position Job code: CSC
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