Field Education

Out in Nature, into Science

FAQs

General Questions

What are the intended outcomes of this program?

 The Teton Science Schools AmeriCorps program develops service members as educators as they work to build the capcity of TSS and other local non-profit and government agencies to increase literacy in the community.  

The AmeriCorps program will provide individuals with opportunities to increas their personal scientific literacy, in addition to that of students and communtiy members.  This is done through direct interaction with participants as well as resource development projects at both TSS and a wide variety of additonal communtiy partners.  

As the program is full of diverse experiences, it can fit a wide variety of individual goals and learning needs.  

What does the average service member look like?

 Age: 24

Gender: 70% Female; 30% Male

College Major: 60% science; 10% education; 4% tourism & recreation; 26% other

College degree: 85% of members have completed a college degree or are working to complete one.  8% have Masters degrees at the time of program 

When does the program begin and end?

 Please check with the program supervisor for exact start and end dates for the season to which you are applying.  These dates can be found on the Employment page.

Typically an arrival day starts with an orientation at 4pm.  You will be asked ot move out by noon on the day following the final day of the program.  

How many members serve each season?

For the fall and winter programs 8-10 members are selected, while typically 20-22 members are selected for the summer.

Field Education Program & Schedules

In what ways will I receive feedback from staff?

Throughout the program you will receive feedback from both informal and formal observations. When working with a professional field instructor, time is built into the program for AmeriCorps members to discuss their personal goals and for professional instructors to give feedback on those goals. Additionally, you will be observed by a faculty member. These observations may include conducting a self- critique of a videotaped lesson. Formal observations are then followed by a meeting to discuss the observation and feedback.

What is a typical day like?

We try to communicate schedules as far in advance as possible, but things often change and often at the last minute. Although your schedule each day will vary based on the educational programs you are working with, needed support tasks and other projects, it follows a general pattern. During the winter and spring months, you will work mostly with visiting school groups; these groups usually stay for 4-6 days at a time. Your schedules will likely alternate between weeks spent teaching in the field with student groups and weeks spent primarily on support duties. During your field teaching weeks, after a meeting at breakfast, you will meet your field group of 10-13 students at 9 am for a full day of exploration in the area. You will use a vehicle to transport students to trailheads in Grand Teton National Park, the National Elk Refuge, area visitor's centers and museums, National Forest sites, and other locations. Support tasks include roles such as hosting meals in the dining lodge, leading evening programs, and dedicating time to your community service projects.

 

 

Morning

Afternoon

Evening

Typical Field week

7:30 AM breakfast & pack lunch

8:00 AM teaching team meeting

9:00 AM – 4:15 PM field time with group

Prep for upcoming field days

Typical Support week

Meal managing or hosting

Assist with gear logistics

Community service hours

Curriculum development

Preparation for upcoming programs

Campus projects

Personal portfolio work

Meal managing or hosting

Lead evening programs

What is a typical Field Education program?

Throughout the school year we welcome school groups to our campus for residential, field education programs. Group sizes range from 8 to 100 people with students ranging in age from 3rd-12th grade, but the majority of students are in middle school. Prior to the groups' arrival we work to understand the curricular interests of the teachers and customize a program to meet the goals of both Teton Science Schools and the visiting school. Professional instructors and AmeriCorps members are responsible for supervision and instruction during morning and evening programs as well as during the field day. Visiting teachers and chaperones are responsible for supervision of students during meals, free time and overnight in our lodges. The typical program is 5 days in length with the first and last day utilized for orientation and wrapping up the program and the middle days focused on field science and exploration. Programs may be as short as 3 days and as long as 9 days. Field education programs also include adult programs through Road Scholar and family programs.

What is the role of AmeriCorps members in Teton Science Schools' Field Education program?

Field Education programs are your laboratory for learning. Over the course of your service term you will progress through various stages of training, observation, co-teaching, planning and implementing programs. From the start of the program you will be partnered with a professional instructor observing you, supporting you, and bringing your own skills and experiences to the field day. You will be encouraged to put your energy, creativity, knowledge and past experience into all programs that you are involved with. You will have the opportunity to co-teach with a variety of instructors, taking on more and more responsibility as you gain more experience.

You will also learn the behind the scenes aspects of field education that are integral for implementing successful programs. This may include preparing spaces, resources and vehicles for a group or organizing logistics of gear, vehicles, and teaching materials. You will be entrenched in all aspects of Field Education programs.

Summer Field Education Programs

How does the summer season differ from other seasons?

Summer differs in the size of the AmeriCorps cohort at TSS and the types of programs offered, but the overarching goals and requirements of the TSS AmeriCorps program remain the same.

Size: The size of the summer AmeriCorps cohort is double that of other seasons (averaging 20 members) because summer is a busy and diverse season at TSS.

Summer Programming: There are multiple program options that are unique to summer. Members may choose to explore a wide variety of these program options and try some of everything, or may specialize in one or two types of programming if schedules and training opportunities allow, and the member’s prior experience and performance align with the program.

What program options are offered in the summer?

Summer programs at TSS include the following; generally, each AmeriCorps member spends time in at least one or two program area options.

  • School & Youth Groups: This program type dominates TSS programming throughout the calendar school year, but some school groups still come during summer. This position offers the most diversity in programming and requires a high level of flexibility in working with participants of all ages. Your involvement could range from guiding a group of 5th graders on their school’s summer capstone experience to working with a group of visiting high school students to help them achieve personal leadership goals. This position is based out of the Jackson Campus of Teton Science Schools and may include camping with students. School & Youth Groups
  • Jackson Hole Science Adventures: These include Kindergarten – 9th grade programs based out of Teton Science Schools Jackson Campus, which run Monday through Friday, 8 am – 5 pm, from June through August. Typical daily themes for all day camps include learning about tracking, survival skills, water, art, overnight front-country camping experiences, geology, ecology and stewardship. 7th-9th grade programs are focused on leadership and team challenges on the Doug Walker Challenge Course. Jackson Hole Science Adventures
  • Outreach Day Camps: Outreach Day Camps are similar in nature to Jackson Hole Science Adventures but are based out of partner schools in Wyoming, Utah and Idaho and vary locations from year to year. Often the ages are more diverse within a field group, sometimes spanning 1st-6th grades. As with school groups, this provides an excellent opportunity to work with a wide range of students and practice important new skills.
  • Road Scholar Adult Programs and Family Programs: Road Scholar programs are geared towards adult learners typically over 55, with activities ranging from day hikes, stewardship projects, canoeing, and Yellowstone geology. Short family programs occur on evenings and weekends throughout the summer with the goal of getting parents outside with their children and connecting with nature through canoeing and teambuilding activities. We also host multi-day family programs that attract families from all over the country for a typical field education experience. Adult & Family Adventures
  • Teen Backpacking Programs: Technically part of our Jackson Hole Science Adventures, but geared towards teen interests and are 9 days long. These are open to students from around the country and involve both overnight stays at our Jackson Campus and in the backcountry. They are focused around leadership, experiential learning, and science inquiry. Jackson Hole Science Adventures

 

What does a typical day for Summer Day Camp Programs look like?

The following is a typical day for Day Camp Programs. Outreach Day Camp programs will look similar but may differ slightly in timing and obviously in field location. Groups range from 5-13 students with 2 instructors for every group. Each week has a different theme and some programs may include overnight camping in the front country. 2014 Day Camp Programs 

8:00am: Staff meeting
8:15am: At program table ready to greet parents and check in students
8:30-9:00am: Student drop off at tables. Students are locals or may be visiting for the week or summer.
9:00am-4:45pm: Spend all day out in the field exploring and teaching in and around Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Lunch in the field.
5:00pm-5:15pm: Student pick up and end of day
 

 

Training

What is training like?

Training can last 1-2 weeks depending on the program. The goal of the first week is to provide you with a foundation that will support you throughout the rest of the program. You will learn about the many program areas of Teton Science Schools, our AmeriCorps program, risk management, and the resources available to you. Then you will begin to learn more about the education programs that you will be working with and community partners for service projects.

What professional development opportunities are available?

In addition to your initial training, we connect members with ongoing professional development opportunities. There are extraordinary seminars and presentations available in the Jackson Hole community and we work hard to connect members to these opportunities. Additionally, staff at Teton Science Schools will present on their area of expertise.

Life on Campus

What food is available? Can I make my own food?

AmeriCorps members are welcome to attend any of the on-campus meals that are made for visiting groups. Breakfast typically occurs at 7:30AM and dinner at 5:30PM. When there is not a group on campus or the meal time conflicts with your schedule, you have access to the staff refrigerator which has leftover food and sandwich materials. All members of the community who enjoy on-campus food participate in meal hosting at several meals each season. Hosting includes helping set up the Dining Lodge, setting out food, cleaning dishes and engaging participants with the cleaning process. There is a staff lounge in a building across from the residence lodge which has basic cooking facilities. This lounge also has couches, a TV and laundry facilities. This space is a shared benefit and a shared responsibility to keep clean.

Where will I live?

You will live on the third floor of one of our two residence lodges on the Jackson Campus with other AmeriCorps members. Each room has a vaulted ceiling, a large window looking out onto the forest, bathroom, access to internet and limited storage space. The first two floors of the lodges are used by participants in our programs. Even if you are not working, you still need to carry yourself in a professional manner on campus.

Community Engagement

What service projects and organizations will I work with?

Your community service is directed by you and provides you with an opportunity to volunteer with an organization that both promotes science and education and interests you. Past projects have included writing curriculum, volunteering at events, creating GIS maps, participating in invasive species removal and trail building projects. Visit the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole's website for a list of all non- profit organizations. 

When do I work on capacity building projects?

You will rotate between spending your days with educational programs and spending your days on support tasks and capacity building projects. For example, you may have an afternoon to work on your capacity building projects and then lead a meal and evening program with a visiting group.

Life After AmeriCorps

What do AmeriCorps members go on to do after the program?

This varies greatly. Many have gone on to graduate school throughout the country and several have continued on to Teton Science Schools Graduate Program. Approximately 40% of past AmeriCorps have gone on to work for Teton Science Schools in some capacity after the program. Additionally some go on to jobs at other education centers, camps, schools or work a variety of science fields. Many continue to live in Jackson after the program and fill a variety of jobs. Many AmeriCorps who complete the winter program go on to fill summer field instructor positions immediately after.

What do I need to do to become a field instructor?

Our staffing needs vary greatly seasonally as do the number of instructor positions available for AmeriCorps alumni. Completion of the AmeriCorps program does not guarantee you future employment. If you are interested in becoming an instructor, the best steps are: 1. Communicate this interest 2. Be professional and an active learner throughout your program 3. Assure that you have a Wilderness First Responder Certification (WFR) 4. Seek out ways to increase your knowledge of Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem natural history.

Miscellaneous

Can I leave the program early for another job?

Once you commit to the program, it is our expectation that you will fulfill your commitment. While you may leave the program at any time, this will likely result in forfeiting your AmeriCorps Education Award and make you ineligible for a future AmeriCorps program.

There is a wedding or a special event that I need to go to during the program - is this okay?

 Please communicate any special needs with us during the interview process as it is not always possible to fulfil requests.  This is an intensive program that requires a full commitment and our Education team will depend on you to be an active part of the entire program.  That being said, we we will work with you to accommodate requests as possible.  

What paid work opportunities may be available?

Teton Science Schools is unable to compensate individuals while they are serving as volunteers through the AmeriCorps program. In addition, you may not have an outside job during the program this is an intensive program and you will have significant time commitments.  You can tap into odd jobs outside of the organization, such as child care and housesitting, once you arrive. Ultimately folks filling the volunteer AmeriCorps position need to be able to swing this financially knowing that paid work opportunities are limited.

web solutions : redtopia