Do you love teaching outdoors, getting elbow deep in algae and digging through decomposing logs to see what you can find?  Do you have a fascination with the natural world?  Come teach hands-on marine science and forest ecology on the central California coast at The Coastal Institute at Camp Ocean Pines!


A Coastal Institute Naturalist serves as the primary outdoor science educator to visiting 4th-12th grade students in a residential camp setting. This includes being responsible for activity groups, supervising mealtimes and lead camp activities such as singing songs, performing skits, facilitating low ropes activities, and target sports. This position is full-time and seasonal with hours scheduled according to group attendance and assigned duties.


Must be able to perform the following functions unaided or with the assistance of a reasonable accommodation:

  • Teach groups of typically 10-15 students during each day about environmental sciences relative to the local region, including ocean, forest, plants, animals, and related subjects

  • Teach daytime lessons and evening programs of up to 100 students per week

  • Develop lesson plans based on the Coastal Institute curriculum

  • Supervise typically 2-4 meals per week when schools are present

  • Lead offsite trips including tide-pooling, hikes, kayaking, and beach walks

  • Sing songs and perform skits

  • Facilitate low ropes and team building activities

  • Lead target sports activities (archery and tomahawk throwing)

  • Handle/care for live specimens including non-venomous snakes, lizards, and birds of prey

  • Paddle a kayak long distances in ocean conditions

  • Lead students on hikes over rough terrain in a variety of weather conditions

  • Live onsite for the duration of the season in order to assist with overnight emergencies if needed

  • Other duties as assigned by the program director


  • Consistently provide friendly courteous assistance, including building and maintaining healthy professional relationships with students, teachers, staff, and guests

  • Support and contribute to a safe, clean environment for all guests and staff

  • This job description is subject to change at any time



  • Bachelor’s degree in science, experiential education, or equivalent work experience

  • Current First Aid/CPR certification prior to start date

  • Current CA Food Handlers certificate prior to start date

  • Successfully complete a background check, LiveScan fingerprinting and pre-employment drug test

  • Valid US driver's license

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills

  • Maintain a positive attitude in complex situations after working long hours

  • Adjust quickly to changes with open mind and flexibility

  • Recognize and respond to emergency situations

  • Proficiency with computer and typing


  • Lifeguard certification

  • Spanish language skills

  • Raptor handling experience

  • One or more seasons of experience working with a residential outdoor education program


Job performance will be evaluated throughout the season, both formally and informally, by the program director

Photo by Rose Hollingsworth

Photo by Rose Hollingsworth


Coastal Institute Naturalist salaries start at $410 per week.  Housing is provided in lodge bedrooms onsite (shared with 1-3 other staff) throughout the entire season.  Meals are provided when schools are onsite and may be available during weekend rental groups.  When groups are not onsite, staff will have access to leftovers and use of the kitchen facilities.  Naturalists may be offered an increased rate to stay overnight in a student cabin or facilitate a weekend program as the need arises.


The 2019 fall season runs from September 3rd, 2019 through November 22nd, 2019 and includes one week of paid training along with the option to attend a one-week UC California Naturalist certification course free of charge.

Our 2019 fall team will consist of four naturalists, one program coordinator, and the outdoor education director.


Applications will be reviewed as they come in and preference will be given to earlier submissions.

To apply, please follow these steps:

1. Submit an online application here:

2. Email the following to Bill Thornton, the outdoor education director, at

  • Current resume

  • Contact information for three references (phone numbers & email addresses)

  • Letter of interest describing who you are and why you’d like to be a naturalist with The Coastal Institute

Incomplete applications will not be considered, so please be sure to submit the application AND email the necessary materials to the director.  If you have any questions about the application process, email Bill Thornton at or give us a call at the office at 805-924-4015.  Good luck!