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News :: Benton County Conservation Department to hire second naturalist
· 12:37pm March 7th, 2013
The Benton County Conservation Board's education program has been such a success that director Matt Purdy is now adding another naturalist.
"Everyone loves Karen's programs," said Purdy on Thursday morning, referring to Karen Phelps, who has been the county's naturalist for many years.
Lately, said Purdy, Phelps has spoken to approximately 800 students in area classrooms, and spent time with another 400 during school trips to the Nature Center. On Thursday morning, Phelps was in Atkins, teaching Benton Community elementary about nature.
"In most counties our size with conservation programs, there are two naturalists: One for schools and one for in-house programs," said Purdy.
The BCCB announced the new position this week, and has begun accepting applications. Purdy hopes the new naturalist will start working in May.
"We are looking for a combination of experience and education," said Purdy. A minimum of a two-year degree in conservation, biology or a related field.
Also, says Purdy, the conservation department is seeking a "charismatic" teacher who can engage both adults and children in learning about nature, especially the plants, birds and animals most often seen in the Benton County area.
Phelps will continue to serve as the classroom naturalist, and will serve as a mentor to the new naturalist.
Purdy said his main focus has been the nature center, and the new naturalist will design and teach a variety of programs to area residents of all ages. The center will soon have a schedule of open hours, allowing for public viewing of its displays. The outdoor areas are open 24 hours a day.
Benton County's conservation has 165 more camp sites than other counties, and one more park ranger than most counties of equal size.
"We actually have more county park acres than Johnson County," explains Purdy.
The Benton County supervisors had earlier approved a funding for an administrative assistant for the department, but Purdy said he went to the board to ask for a second naturalist instead.
"Our focus is on this center, and education," he said. "We need a naturalist way more than an administrative assistant.
See the complete, official job description below:
SUMMARY: The Naturalist is responsible for planning, developing, coordinating, and presenting environmental education, interpretive programs and special events for youth and adult groups, schools, and the general public in the schools, parks and the nature center. Develops related written, audiovisual, and display materials.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES ANDRESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned.
1. Promotes conservation, education, and parks to the general public, schools, and civic groups.
2. Creates and delivers environmental education programs designed to complement and/or enhance school’s science, social studies, and historical, English, P.E. or math curriculum. Consults with educators regarding the attainment of these objectives.
3. Creates and implements informative environmental education programs for the citizens and visitors of BentonCounty.
4. Assists other community organizations or groups with environmental education information or program needs.
5. Researches and submits grants to secure funding for various items, projects and equipment.
6. Assists visitors to the Parks with their questions and/or concerns.
7. Informs and educates public through communication materials including but not limited to, newsletters and/or other marketing publications. Responsible for editing, layout, and design.
8. Plans events designed to promote conservation or fundraising for Conservation Department.
9. Attends workshops to develop new curriculum, and to obtain continuing education training.
10. Assists the other naturalist in all after school and special event programs, at the nature center.
11. Performs other duties as assigned.
QUALIFICATIONS: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
PREFERRED EDUCATION and/or EXPERIENCE
2-year degree (college or technical school) in Conservation. 4-year degree preferred.
2 years’ experience in the field
Valid driver’s license
CPR and first aid certification
Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures or governmental regulations. Ability to write reports, business correspondence and Page 2 of 3
procedures manuals. Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers and the general public.
Ability to proficiently operate office equipment, including computer, adding machine, printer, fax machine, tape recorder, video equipment, camera, laminating machine, scanner, copy machine, and telephone. Ability to proficiently operate outdoor equipment, including but not limited to ATV, ski equipment, boating equipment, small hand tools, and small power tools.
OTHER SKILLS ANDABILITIES
Ability to multi-task and prioritize job activities to achieve maximum overall results;
Ability to develop and maintain positive interpersonal relationships internally and with external contacts;
Ability to operate many types of office and outdoor recreational equipment;
Ability to provide informative and professional assistance when working with the public, customers and County personnel;
Ability to pay close attention to detail;
Ability to be comfortable and proficient in public speaking;
Ability to maintain active pace in working with children and groups on outdoor activities;
Ability to work with others in the attainment of department duties and County goals;
Demonstration of good oral and written communication skills. Show creativity and display effective communication skills in presentations and marketing materials;
Demonstration of strong organization skills;
Demonstration of effective fundraising skills;
Knowledge of conservation and environmental education concepts and theories;
Ability to interact with individuals of all ages and backgrounds;
Ability to use Microsoft, Adobe, & common software for office work in Mac & PC.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit. The employee frequently is required to reach with hands and arms and talk or hear. The employee is frequently required to stand; walk; climb or balance; and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; use hands to finger, grasp, or feel. The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 10 pounds; occasionally exert up to 20 pounds and occasionally exert up to 50 pounds of force to move objects.
The visual requirements for this position are similar to those classified as machine operations, mechanics, and skilled tradespeople. This is a minimum standard for use with those whose work deals with machines such as lathes, drill presses, power saws and mills where the seeing job is at or within arm’s reach. Also, mechanics and skilled tradespeople and those who do work of a nonrepetitive nature such as carpenters, technicians, service people, plumbers, painters, mechanics, etc. Page 3 of 3
WORKENVIRONMENT: The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. This worker is subject to outside environmental conditions especially in the summer months. This worker is subject to extreme cold and extreme heat. The worker is subject to noise and hazards including moving mechanical parts, electrical current, working on scaffolding and high places, exposure to high heat or exposure to chemicals; conditions that may include fumes, odors, dusts, mists, gasses or poor ventilation; oils.
Often this position is required to work weekends or nights. There is frequent daily travel to and from the office and customer sites including but not limited to, schools, campsites, and meeting locations.
Benton County Sheriff's Report/Arrest Log, February 2013
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