Lead or Beginning Nature Instructor (Full and Part Time Positions Available)

Job Description

Riekes Nature Instructor 

Riekes Center for Human Enhancement (www.riekes.org)

Job Description

The Riekes Center nature department has been bringing youth and adults outside to experience and learn about natural history, bushcraft and survival skills, wildlife tracking, bird language, edible and medicinal plants, awareness skills, scout games, community and stewardship, backpacking, and knowledge of place for over two decades. We are committed to helping students achieve their goals in nature, and to providing the highest quality of nature instruction. 

We are currently hiring for part-time and full-time instructor positions for the 2021-2022 program year. 

As a Riekes Nature instructor you will work with co-instructors to safely lead activities, lessons, skills projects, on and off-trail wanders, immersive experiences (such as getting fully camouflaged with mud, or dunking in the creek), harvesting of natural materials, the safe use of knives and other tools, safe fire building, group songs, and group games. You will also help facilitate two annual camp-outs. Role-modeling passion and excitement about the natural world, and learning how to ignite engagement and curiosity in students is a large part of the job.

Riekes Nature Instructors are expected to uphold the Riekes Center’s Core Values at all times when teaching. The core values are Self Supervision, Honest Communication, and Sensitivity Towards Others. We are committed to creating an atmosphere of inclusion and learning for both students and staff. 

Qualifications and Expectations for a Riekes Nature Instructor

Uphold the Riekes Center’s core values, mission, and policies

Creativity and passion for mentoring youth in a natural flow learning environment with open and flexible structure

Current CPR certification (or able to acquire before working)

Able to travel to various program locations using own vehicle 

Minimum age of 18

Able to pass a background check

Able to work at least 2 program days per week, in addition to yearly staff training

Must demonstrate good judgment and risk assessment

Strong ability to work as a contributing member of a team

Willing to participate in a healthy feedback culture

Willing to develop/complete at least two areas of Nature Study expertise from the Riekes Advanced Nature Study curriculum

Be a professional adult: operate with responsibility, integrity, and humility

Care about equity and diversity and creating a welcoming and inclusive space for all


Knowledge of California hazards, mammals, tracking, edible/medicinal plants, navigation with and without map/compass, natural history, field ecology, trees, bushcraft and survival skills, birds/birdsong/bird language, backpacking skills, and rural skills. 

Experience as a naturalist instructor working with youth ages 4-17 in the outdoors

Experience with the 8-Shields Model and Coyote Mentoring method

Has completed a level of the Kamana Naturalist Training Program

Holds a CyberTracker International wildlife tracking certificate

Is confident leading off-trail adventures and being hands-on with nature

Has experience leading overnight camping or backpacking trips

Has pursued developing an area of expertise or craftsmanship

Plays a musical instrument or sings and is confident in and willing to lead youth in song

Has a passion for storytelling, engaging youth in improve, and leading large group games

Applicants who can commit to 3 or more days of work per week 

Applicants who are Wilderness First Aid or Responder certified

Applicants who can commit to a season of summer work 


The Riekes Center for Human Enhancement, Menlo Park, CA

El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve, Woodside, CA

Stevens Creek County Park, Cupertino, CA

Monterey, CA

Santa Cruz, CA

Various Locations for Single Day Programs

Work Hours

All program days run from 8:30am-3:30pm

Required Staff Training Week–August 30th-September 3rd 

Attend staff training days during the program year (There is one staff training day per month on Mondays)

Attend at least one Bay Area Tracking Club day (Second sunday of each month, Paid as a staff training day)

Compensation and Benefits 

Pay scale is between $20-$27 per hour, based on experience, qualifications, and commitment to the program. 

Full benefits for full-time employees (32+ hours per week)

Gas mileage compensation provided for full-time employees whose travel distance is greater than 20 miles (one-way)

Paid training and access to many opportunities for additional development within any Riekes Center department (Riekes Nature, Creative Arts, Athletic Fitness, and Community Service)

Be a part of an amazing team of passionate people doing important work!

Staff Training

As a Riekes instructor you will be immersed in an incredibly rich learning environment. You will learn from students, fellow staff, field guides, experiences, events, and, of course, nature. 

Each month of the school year, staff are given the opportunity to attend a paid staff training day. We believe that the quality of our programs is greatly increased when we invest in our staff. The focus of our training days ranges from skills practice (such as the ins and outs of fire-by-friction or advanced knife skills), knowledge development (such as learning the fundamentals of wildlife tracking or learning about the edible and medicinal plants of the area), and experiential learning (such as participating in a blindfolded drum-stalk, or an epic off-trail wander). 

In addition to the monthly training, staff are encouraged to pursue other lines of self-development. This includes things like attending the Bay Area Tracking Club, reading certain books that are relevant to our programs, working through the Kamana Naturalist Training Program, attending a CyberTracker Track and Sign evaluation, completing areas of study from the Riekes Advanced Nature Study Curriculum, and participating in other Riekes programs. 

About the Riekes Center

The Riekes Center exists for the enhancement of the individual student. Our mission is to provide each student with the best possible opportunity to define and accomplish individual goals, build character and learn transferable life skills through Arts, Fitness and Nature, in an environment of non judgement and mutual respect. We provide these opportunities regardless of the student's ability to pay, or to perform. Each person's uniqueness and potential is celebrated. The Riekes Center thrives on providing transformational outcomes for our students. At the Riekes center, all students, all goals, and all interests are equally important. It's a place where real world diversity thrives and empathy is encouraged. The Core Values of Self Supervision, Honest Communication and Sensitivity to Others are the Center's operational and social standards.

How to Apply

Please send your cover letter, resume, and a few paragraphs telling us about yourself to [email protected] and [email protected]

Please also indicate:

Whether you are seeking part-time or full-time work

The program locations you live closest to

We are committed to responding to every applicant in a timely manner. We will respond within 5 business days to inform you of whether we would like to schedule an initial interview.


Job Availability: 

We are looking for people who would like to work full-time or part-time.

To Apply

Contact Kate Peters at [email protected] and [email protected]

Application Closing Date: 
October 30th, 2021
Application Contact Email: 
Employment Type: 
Job Region: 
Job Location: 
Menlo Park, CA
Job Salary Range: 
Job Starting Date: 
08/30/2021 or Accepting Applications Until Positions are Filled

Job Details

Job Details: 
Outdoor Skills School
Job Population: 

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