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!


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 relevant experience in a 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


  • Lifeguard certification

  • California Class B Drivers Licence

  • Spanish language skills

  • Raptor handling experience

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


  • 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

  • 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


  • 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

  • Ability to live in shared onsite housing


Naturalists 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 $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.


The 2019 spring season runs from January 28th, 2019 through June 7th, 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 spring team will consist of six 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: (Application will be made available November 1st.)

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!