Park Naturalists: Job Duties and Requirements for Becoming a Park Naturalist
Park Naturalists help the public to understand the historic, natural and scientific significance of parks. They are offered a wide degree of latitude in their jobs and allowed to determine how best to plan, organize and direct programs whether through verbal presentations, practical demonstrations or interactive programs. Park Naturalists, sometimes called environmentalists or natural scientists, also perform emergency duties to protect human life, government property, and natural features of park.
Career Definition of a Park Naturalist
The goal of a Park Naturalist is to generate interest in the environment and natural world. Park Naturalists do this by highlighting historical, ecological or scientific features of outdoor surroundings by organizing nature walks, camping trips, crafts or outdoor skills. Many visit local classrooms to introduce children to the outdoors and teach them of its importance.
Becoming a Park Naturalist
Required Education for a Career as a Park Naturalist
Knowledge of the principles of natural history is required to be an informed Park Naturalist. Most positions require a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science, Resource Management or Wildlife Biology and include coursework such as environmental science, ecology, vegetation and earth science. Typically those hired on a full-time basis begin as a volunteer or seasonal worker according to the Department of Natural Resources, www.dnr.com.
Skills Required for a Career as a Park Naturalist
A love for the environment and the ability to share that passion and knowledge with the public is the main skill required for a career as a Park Naturalist. It's crucial to feel comfortable making presentations, giving lectures and leading tours. Key to success as a Park Naturalist is an ability to identify and describe points of interests to groups in a way that will hold their interest, which is why teaching experience is also recommended.
Career and Economic Outlook for a Park Naturalist
The average salary for a Park Naturalist, or equivalent, is $46,000 per year according to Salary.com, www.salary.com. Those holding the position should be prepared to work weekends, evenings and holidays. Most Park Naturalists pursue this line of work for the love of nature, not money. Jobs in this field are highly coveted despite their relatively low wage due to their flexibility, diversity, outdoor work environment and constant challenges and rewards.
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