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!

Position Description

Coastal Institute Naturalist positions are full-time seasonal, with hours scheduled according to group attendance and duties assigned by the program director.  Naturalists teach science to visiting 4th through 12th grade students in a residential outdoor setting and are responsible for activity groups of 10-15 students.  Naturalists also supervise meal times and lead camp activities including singing songs, performing skits, facilitating low ropes activities and target sports, and other duties as camp requires.



  • Bachelor’s degree in science, experiential education or related field
  • Current First Aid/CPR certification prior to start date
  • Current CA Food Handlers certificate prior to start date
  • Ability to pass background check, fingerprinting and pre-employment drug test
  • Valid US driver's license (if applicant holds a California state driver's license, must obtain a Class B commercial license with a passenger endorsement prior to start date)


  • Lifeguard certification
  • WFA/WFR certification
  • Spanish language skills
  • Raptor handling experience


  • Teach groups of 10-15 students about the ocean, the forest, and everything in between
  • Teach two 3-hour daytime lessons per day and up to three 1.5-hour evening programs per week
  • Develop lesson plans based on the Coastal Institute curriculum
  • Supervise up to three meals per week
  • Lead offsite trips including tide-pooling, hikes, kayaking, and beach walks
  • Drive students and chaperones in 15-passenger vans
  • Sing songs and perform skits at weekly closing campfires
  • 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
  • Other duties as assigned by the program director

essential functions

  • Ability to maintain a positive attitude in stressful situations after working long hours
  • Ability to be flexible and to adjust quickly to changes
  • Ability to paddle a kayak long distances in ocean conditions
  • Ability to recover a flipped kayak without assistance
  • Ability to swim 100 yards unaided in ocean conditions
  • Ability to lead students on hikes over rough terrain in a variety of weather conditions
  • Ability to recognize and respond to emergency situations
  • Ability to handle live non venomous snakes and lizards
  • Ability to drive a 15-passenger van without accommodation
  • Ability to type and use a computer


Naturalists will be evaluated throughout the season, both formally and informally, by the program director and assistant director.

Photo by Rose Hollingsworth

Photo by Rose Hollingsworth


Coastal Institute Naturalist salaries start at $75/day.  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.


Spring 2017 Dates and details

The 2017 spring season runs from February 20th through June 8th and includes one week of paid training along with the option to attend a UC California Naturalist certification course prior to the start of the season.  

All positions have now been filled.

how to apply

Please check back in mid-April for information about our 2017 fall season and how to apply for a position on our team.