Resident Wilderness Field Instructor

Job Description

Based at the remote Spruce Knob Mountain Center in West Virginia, Field Instructors lead students on Wilderness Learning courses, helping people become confident, competent individuals with a clear vision of their responsibilities and potential for improving the human condition and the natural world.

Our programs typically serve students in 5th-12th grade, from schools throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Courses include 1-8 day field-based programs in the National Forest, residential programs on one of our two campuses, and a variety of off-site adventures in wild spaces throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including the Appalachian Trail.

Field Instructors help students gain confidence, experience, and appreciation for mountains through lessons and activities such as hiking, backpacking, camp craft, orienteering, caving, stream ecology, forest ecology, geology, rock climbing, canoeing, outdoor cooking, stewardship projects and survival skills. In addition, Field Instructors tailor courses to meet the thematic goals of each school served, leading students in discussions and initiatives around leadership, communication, environmental stewardship, teamwork, and creative problem-solving. For more information about our programs, please visit

Institutional Background:  We were founded in 1972 on Spruce Knob Mountain in West Virginia as the Woodlands and Whitewater Institute, and have been conducting educational programming here ever since.  For two decades in the late ‘90s and early 2000’s we expanded our focus to include protected area management as The Mountain Institute, taking on additional projects most notably in Nepal and Peru.  In March 2017, we made the decision to divide by focus, allowing The Mountain Institute to focus more exclusively on landscapes and for Experience Learning, Inc. to focus on people.  Experience Learning, Inc. is now a separate nonprofit organization operating two spectacular campuses, the 400 acre Spruce Knob Mountain Center and the 565 acre Sweetwater Farm.


  • Maintain a physically and emotionally safe environment for students and guests.
  • Prepare and deliver hands-on, experiential, and inquiry-based lessons in a remote outdoor setting for both day and evening programs.
  • Lead 1-8 day residential and field based programs in challenging settings that include hiking, backpacking, camp craft, orienteering, caving, stream ecology, forest ecology, geology, rock climbing, canoeing, stewardship projects, outdoor cooking, and survival skills.
  • Facilitate discussions and initiatives around leadership, communication, environmental stewardship, teamwork, creative problem-solving, and other subjects.
  • Implement and model excellent risk management strategies and administer first aid as needed.
  • Teach and lead groups in the outdoors, in varying weather conditions, and on uneven terrain.
  • Prepare facilities and gear before trips and clean facilities and gear at the end of trips.
  • Prepare and cook meals for visiting educational and rental groups under supervision of Kitchen Manager.
  • Maintain a professional demeanor while interacting with groups and guests.
  • Assist with facility upkeep as needed, including basic carpentry, repairs, vehicle maintenance, and general troubleshooting.


  • Bachelor's Degree or equivalent experience
  • Current Wilderness First Responder Certification (Preferred)
  • Minimum of Wilderness First Aid & CPR/AED certification (Required)
    • (WFA certification/WFR recert. offered on site 4-5 April 2020)
  • Effective communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills
  • Positive attitude, determination, and unassailable work ethic
  • Teaching experience, either formal or informal
  • Ability to confidently lead groups in a remote outdoor setting
  • Desire to teach and work with young people from varying social and economic backgrounds 
  • Curiosity about the natural world and willingness to learn academic natural science lessons
  • Experience working in the outdoors, especially in inclement weather
  • Ability to live in shared space with other instructors and practice positive self-care.
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Ability to work flexible hours including evenings and some weekends
  • Desire to live in a remote place with an outstanding community of outdoor professionals and to work hard to make positive change in our world

Starting daily compensation rate: $65  + Room and Board during length of employment (valued at $15.00/day)

  • Social Security match (7.65% of gross salary)
  • Workers’ Compensation Coverage
  • 1 day of health leave per month worked
  • In addition to health leave, temporary or seasonal employees with a contract of more than 130 days will accrue 1 day per month and up to a maximum of 5 days of paid time off.
  • Access to company pro deals
  • Opportunities for rapid organizational advancement


To Apply

We hire on a rolling basis - apply early! Send a cover letter, resume, and three references to Dave, [email protected], or give us a call with any questions at 304-567-2632.

Application Closing Date: 
March 31, 2018
Application Contact Email: 
Employment Type: 
Job Region: 
Job Location: 
Spruce Knob Mountain Center, West Virginia
Job Experience: 
1 - 2 years
Job Degree Level: 
Bachelor's degree
Job Starting Date: 
April 1, 2019

Job Details

Job Details: 
Environmental Education Program/Center
Experiential Education
Outdoor Education Center
Wilderness Medical Trainer
Job Population: 

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Title Region Training Dates
Wilderness First & Wilderness First Responder Recertification Mid-Atlantic US Apr 4, 2020 to Apr 5, 2020