AmeriCorps Service at Teton Science Schools
Teton Science Schools started hosting AmeriCorps service members in the summer of 2009. Since then, the TSS AmeriCorps Program has grown to host roughly 44 service members each year. The three separate service terms run in the summer, fall and winter/spring. To date, 299 members have served over 100,000 hours at TSS, including 9,000+ hours served at partner organizations in the community. Funding for the AmeriCorps Program at TSS comes from Serve Wyoming, the AmeriCorps State chapter of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Foundations of the TSS AmeriCorps Program
The TSS AmeriCorps Program develops service members as educators as they work to build the capacity of local non-profits and governmental agencies to increase STEM literacy in the community.
The focus on building STEM literacy aligns with TSS’ mission to "connect people, nature and place through education, science and stewardship." It also leverages the strength of TSS to address the growing need for a scientifically engaged and literate citizenry.
The development of STEM literacy focuses on empowering citizens to apply scientific knowledge, concepts and processes towards personal decision making and economic productivity. Participation in civic and cultural affairs is encouraged as well.
Capacity building refers to activities that expand the scale, reach, efficiency or effectiveness of programs and organizations. Such activities may expand service, enhance delivery of services or generate additional resources.
AmeriCorps members have worked with organizations in the following ways:
Building and maintaining trails in Star Valley, WY south of Jackson for the local community to use
Developing activities for a local afterschool program, GAP! (Girls Actively Participating)
Creating website pages and content on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for Harvard’s Encyclopedia of Life
Developing online trainings for new TSS staff on various content areas of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Designing and enhancing curriculum and signage at Vertical Harvest to increase the public’s awareness on micro-greens and local food systems
Developing activities and curriculum for the Teton Raptor Center to develop citizen science skill in raptor identification
Through involvement with TSS and other local partners, service members are engaged in the development of resources to enact lasting change in the community.
Teton Science Schools offers two AmeriCorps opportunities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosysytem
TSS Field Education AmeriCorps Service
Members serve the majority of their term with TSS Field Education
The goal of this service term is to empower AmeriCorps members to build the capacity of Teton Science Schools and other nonprofits and government agencies in Jackson, Wyoming, thereby increasing STEM literacy in the community. In additional to developing and implementing projects that are key to maintaining quality programming at TSS, AmeriCorps members help teach visiting school groups that come to campus through Field Education programs, and spend a good portion of their days outside.
TSS AmeriCorps Partner Service
Members serve the majority of their term with partner organizations outside of TSS
TSS’ current role as Hub Site for AmeriCorps allows a number of service members to be placed with select partner organizations in the Jackson community, in addition to those who serve through TSS’ Field Education Programs. All service members receive training at TSS as well as room and board on the Jackson Campus of Teton Science Schools. Service opportunities with partner organizations are offered in the winter season, with limited potential to be offered during other seasons.
During the Winter 2017 service term, members will be serving with the following partners:
For more information, please contact Katie Hoskinson, AmeriCorps Hub Site Coordinator.
Thoughts from previous AmeriCorps Members
"It is the combination of the amazing people, place and common goal of developing scientific literacy that make TSS AmeriCorps one of the most rewarding and influential experiences you have yet to endure."
“Without the [TSS] AmeriCorps program, I would definitely not be in the career position that I am today. It made me realize that place-based science education was the field [in which] I wanted to pursue my career and gave me the confidence to do it!”
“My [TSS] AmeriCorps experience was life changing. I came to TSS after college with a gigantic passion [for] Environmental Education, but not a lot of experience. My AmeriCorps experience was a direct stepping stone towards working professionally as an environmental educator. AmeriCorps at TSS is quite arguably one of the best AmeriCorps programs in the country and I will take with me what I learned for the rest of my life!”
"Perhaps what makes this place all the more beautiful, besides its wildness and natural aesthetic are the people. The folks at TSS form this beautiful, intentional community that prides itself on unwavering support, kindness, innovation, understanding and motivation. I have made so many profound connections with the people around me during my time as an AmeriCorps and have felt more personal context and perspective grow immensely.”
“The [AmeriCorps] program at TSS has had a tremendous impact on my life. Through the program as well as work with the Science School after completing AmeriCorps, I have become a confident, adaptable, and well-rounded educator. Working with people of all ages and backgrounds, I am prepared to apply skills gained at TSS to a diverse array of future career possibilities.”