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Salmon Naturalist (seasonal)

The Environmental Science Center (ESC) is a non-profit organization offering experiential environmental education programs at local beaches, streams, forested areas, and in classrooms throughout south King County. Our goals are to foster environmental stewardship actions in all participants of our programs, and to offer knowledge and resources for communities to deepen their relationship with their local environment. ESC recognizes that many communities in south King County – particularly Black, Indigenous, People of Color, immigrant/refugee, and low-income communities – have been systematically excluded from safe, positive outdoor experiences, and we are striving to change that. We aim to remove some of the barriers to these experiences by providing free or low-cost programs, and by working to create a safe and affirming space within our organization, our programs, and in the broader community.

We are currently hiring Salmon Naturalists for our fall 2023 Salmon Heroes Program. Program locations include Normandy Park Cove in Burien, the Cedar River at the Renton Community Center, Mill Creek EarthWorks Park in Kent, and Mary Olson Farm in Auburn.

Because this position includes working in-person with elementary school students, naturalists are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The four-part Salmon Heroes program introduces students to the life cycle and habitats of Pacific salmon, as well as their importance to local ecology, food webs, economy, and the culture and lifeways of Indigenous Peoples. A 1-hour Introductory Lesson gives students an overview of the salmon life cycle, habitat challenges, and food web importance. The 3-hour on-site Field Lesson features activities for students to connect with the subject in diverse ways, including water quality testing, scientific illustration, guided observations, and a salmon dissection. The third component is a Synthesis Lesson in which students analyze the data they gathered in the field, discuss challenges facing salmon, and brainstorm solutions for watershed and community health. An optional fourth component invites students to do an environmental action project on their school campus to help improve watershed health. ESC curriculum for each component of the program is provided.

• Teach lessons and facilitate activities for 4th-8th grades about salmon life cycle, anatomy, habitat needs, ethnobotany, watershed health, and human impacts on salmon habitat.
• Model appropriate stewardship behavior.
• Guide groups of 10-15 students during on-site Field Lesson programs.
• Facilitate classes of 25-30 students during classroom lessons (with teachers support).
• Give feedback on programs and contribute to staff debriefs.

• Experience teaching youth in outdoor or informal settings.
• Knowledge of the western Washington riparian ecosystem, human impacts on watershed health, and the lifecycle, habitat needs, and ecological importance of salmon.
• Willingness to work outdoors in most weather conditions.
• Exceptional interpretive skills.
• Ability to teach in a language other than English a strong plus, with weight given to languages commonly spoken by the students we work with, including Spanish, Vietnamese, Somali, and Amharic.
• Must have reliable transportation.
• Must be able to pass a Washington State background check.

Compensation: $20/hour, $21/hour for bilingual naturalists

Time Commitment:
• Part-time and seasonal: ~20/week through mid-December. Programs are scheduled to accommodate schools, so hours are not regular from week to week. 20 hours per week are guaranteed for naturalists teaching both field trips and classroom lessons. Naturalists teaching only field trips work approximately 10-15 hours/week. There is also the potential to work fewer hours, if desired. Additional hours may be available facilitating after-school and public programs.

The Salmon Heroes season starts in September and runs through mid-December. Field studies are 3 hours and are scheduled Monday – Friday between 9:00am and 2:00pm. Salmon naturalist time commitment per shift is typically 4.5 hours for Field Lessons: 3 hours of instruction, 1 hour of set-up/clean-up/debrief, .5 hours allotted for travel time. Classroom lessons (Intro and Synthesis) are 1 hour long, with 30 minutes of set-up/clean-up time per lesson; there are typically 3-4 classroom lessons per shift.

Attendance is required at two in-person training days, which will occur September 20th and 21st. Training will be approximately 14 hours, with 12 in-person hours taking place at our field sites in Renton and Normandy Park (approximately 9:00am to 3:30pm each day), and 2 hours allotted for asynchronous virtual work.

Supervisor: Rosie Wilson-Briggs, ESC Program Manager

Work Locations:
• Normandy Park Cove (1500 SW Shorebrook Drive, Normandy Park, WA 98166)
• Renton Community Center (1715 SE Maple Valley Hwy, Renton, WA 98057)
• Mill Creek Earthworks Park (742 E Titus St, Kent, WA 98030)
• Mary Olsen Farm (28728 Green River Road, Kent, WA 98030)
• Schools around south King County

How to Apply: Please fill out this Salmon Naturalist application form and send a current resume with subject line “Job Opening Salmon Naturalist” via e-mail to ESC’s Program Manager by emailing

Applications due by Friday, August 18th.

For more information, please email Rosie.


ESC in an Equal Opportunity Employer and treats all employees and volunteers in a non-discriminatory manner without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, pregnancy, amnesty, national origin, disability, genetic information, or status as covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.


We are an equal opportunity employer and value equity, anti-racism, and hiring staff who culturally and linguistically reflect the communities we work with.

All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit and business need.

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