Grassy field

Outdoor Education Jobs

Ready for a get-in-the-mud, climb-that-hill, search-those-stars approach to learning? Have we got a job for you.

OMSI Outdoors supports life-long learning and respect for the environment. We live, work and play across the Northwest, from the Pacific Ocean to the top of the Cascades and back down to the deserts of Eastern Oregon.

About Our Science Centers

You get to call one of these places home. Read on to get a feel for where you’ll be living, working, and learning.  

Hancock Field Station

Located in the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in central Oregon, Hancock Field Station has access to one of the world’s most significant fossil sites, nearby canyons, archaeology sites, and the John Day River. 

Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray

The Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray, located in Newport, Oregon, is the brand new home of our longstanding coastal education programs. Newport is a hub for marine science research and environmental stewardship. 

Find a position today!

Ready to make the jump? Visit our careers page to find a position at one of our science centers!

What can I expect when I live and work in the same place? 

OMSI Equity Statement and Core Values

OMSI respects, values and celebrates the unique attributes, characteristics and perspectives that make each person who they are. We believe that we will be successful in accomplishing our mission and vision when we seek out and respond to diversity of participation, thought and action. We will work to dismantle barriers to equity and access to the experiences OMSI provides and to create welcoming environments and conditions where all people can reach their full potential.

OMSI Core Values:  Learning, Creativity, Integrity, Sustainability

Instructing during Outdoor School

We own two outdoor education facilities: Hancock Field Station outside of Fossil, Oregon and the Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray in Newport, Oregon. During the spring and fall, each site hosts Outdoor Science School. Teachers from all types of schools—public and private, elementary and middle school—bring their classes to one of our sites for 3-5 days. The students stay in cabins with school chaperones, and we all eat together in the dining hall.

The daily schedule typically includes five-hour field studies, ninety-minute interest groups and one to two-hour evening programs. We offer a variety of topics; programs are chosen by the school.  Curricula will be provided during training; it will include all the classes that each site offers. With the curriculum in hand, you’re responsible for writing lesson plans and tailoring them to the demographics of your teaching group.

A typical day starts at 7am and ends at 9pm with campfire. The days are long, peppered with short breaks for the students and staff, and it's an unforgettable experience.

Outdoor Science Instructors generally work February through October, and housing is provided for the duration of the season. A few short- season instructors are hired too; check the current job listings to see if there are any spring-only or summer-only positions open. Housing is also provided for short-season instructors. 

 

Instructing during Summer Science Camp

For ten weeks of the summer, we shift gears to residential Summer Science Camps. Programs are offered for a wide age range, from second grade through high school. Typically, the programs are 5 days in length, but some of the high school-age programs are longer. Teaching is still your primary focus, but you'll have a few more responsibilities—everything from acting as van and bus driver to medical first responder to lifeguard.

The majority of our Summer Science Camps are hosted at one of our two sites: Hancock Field Station or the Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray. As an instructor on a residential program, independent decision making, creative programming and close collaboration with the counselors is essential. Direct student supervision is the responsibility of summer cabin counselors, but as the instructor, you're expected to support them as needed. Sometimes that means a night or two covering a cabin!

We have travel and adventure programs too. Hancock runs rafting trips down the Deschutes and Grande Ronde rivers, and Camp Gray runs backpacking trips across the Cascade Mountains.  The instructors on these travel and adventure programs do everything: drive, cook, teach and supervise the students.

One of the most unique things about out summer camps is that they start in Portland, and then instructors drive campers and counselors to camp. Weekend housing in Portland is provided to the instructors. 

Summer Camp Counselors

For ten weeks during the summer, OMSI offers residential Summer Science Camps to students from second grade through high school.  Summer Camp Counselors are responsible for the direct supervision of campers.  You’ll meet your campers at check-in in Portland, and ride to sites with them in buses and vans.  You’ll stay overnight in cabins or tents with them, eat with them at mealtimes, and supervise recreation time, rest time, and transitions between activities.

Working closely with other members of the Outdoor Science Education team, Summer Camp Counselors support the physical, emotional, and social wellbeing of each camper.  Drawing from your own experience, and the training we provide, you’ll engage campers in games, conversations, cabin activities, and campfires.  You’ll also assist instructors during lessons and campouts.  The days are long, but the work is rewarding, and you get some time off each day, to relax and recharge.  Housing and meals are provided during programming only, weekend housing is not available.  Required certifications: Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED (training not provided.)

Cooking

Our cooks share the responsibility of providing delicious and nutritious meals for all of our programs, some of which occur on the weekend. Each cook is responsible for sharing the kitchen, monitoring stock, placing a weekly order, and cleaning up after themselves.

Many of our staff and participants are vegetarians and/or have common food allergies. Cooks should have experience with a variety of meals and menus.  Cooks also spend time baking breads and desserts.

Living On-site

Hancock Field Station

Each instructor is assigned a small, one room A-frame cabin for the season. They each have a twin-sized bed, desk, chair and closet space. In addition to the private cabins, there is a communal house that has the staff showers, a kitchen, laundry, a phone and living room. We have limited internet in camp, and no cell phone service.

Pets are prohibited at Hancock Field Station and on the trails of the National Monument. Personal vehicles are welcome at Hancock Field Station; however, it is not essential or required to bring a car.  Personal vehicles are the responsibility of the owner, and OMSI is not responsible for any theft or damage.

The weather in the Clarno Valley is usually very dry, and temperatures vary considerably depending on the season. In the Spring and Fall we enjoy mornings and evenings in the 40s and 50s with afternoon temps in the 80s. During the summer we enjoy an average high temperature of around 95, sometimes reaching 115 in the heat of the day.

One of the best things about working at Hancock Field Station is having the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument as your backyard—beautiful hiking trails, lots of wildlife, clear starry nights, and the John Day River for fishing, boating, and swimming are all outside of your door! Hancock Field Station has a longstanding relationship and frequently collaborates with: the National Park Service, The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and The Pine Creek Conversation Area.

If staff wants to travel offsite for town time, or other outdoor adventures, Fossil is 30 minutes away, Madras is 1 hour away, Bend is 2 hours away, and Portland is 4 hours away. Hancock Field Station is in an extremely isolated spot, but is tranquil, serene and a great place for nature lovers.

 

The Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray

The instructors share a dorm-style staff house for the season. Each instructor will have a bed, a desk, and storage space. Some staff will share a room during our busiest season. All the rooms are along a hallway that connects to a community kitchen and living room with bathrooms and laundry.

Staff have access to OMSI Wi-Fi, and are close enough to town to receive cell phone reception. Pets of any kind are not allowed. Personal vehicles are welcome at the Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray; however, it is not essential or required to bring a car. Personal vehicles are the responsibility of the owner, and OMSI is not responsible for any theft or damage.

The Oregon coast is famous for its cloudy days and rainy weather, so staff should be prepared with proper rain gear and warm clothes. The temperature is usually between 50º and 75º but with high humidity, making many days and nights cold and damp.

One of the best things about working at the Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray is being near Newport, Oregon, a town full of art galleries, restaurants, and shops. Newport is also home to The Hatfield Marine Science Center, The Oregon Coast Aquarium, and Cape Perpetua. Camp Gray is neighbors with South Beach State Park, and miles of sandy beaches and acres of forests all with beautiful hiking and biking trails. For longer trips, we are 3 hours from the Cascade Mountains and Portland, Oregon.

Additional Responsibilities

The day-to-day life of this job is crammed full of things to do, teach, clean, learn, and make! It takes everybody to keep the facility and program performing. Each week, an instructor is assigned to be program support to run table setting/dishwashing, daily cleaning tasks, and assist with maintenance projects. These are also weeks when instructors have time to make personal teaching tools for their lessons. 

What's the deal with certifications?

All of our full-season instructors have the following certifications. Since we require them for the health and safety of our participants, we offer opportunities for instructors to acquire these certifications at cost. We provide room and board during these trainings, but the associated class/testing fees are paid by employees. We give pay bumps for each of these certifications, so as you achieve each one, your pay rate will increase.

Wilderness First Responder

This is a 10-day, 80 hour course that covers first aid skills in situations that occur more than an hour away from advanced medical care. In February, Hancock Field Station hosts a WFR course taught by the Wilderness Medical Institute.

Visit the Wilderness Medical Institute for more info.

Lifeguard

This is a 4-day, 40 hour course that includes CPR for the Professional Rescuer. During the last week of March, while schools are on Spring Break, the Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray will host a life-guarding class.

Visit the Red Cross for more info.

Class B Commercial Driver License (CDL)

During the summer, we rent buses and use them to charter our students from Portland to the Summer Science Camp program locations. There are multiple steps to completing this license, and each has an associated fee.

Visit the Oregon DMV for overview of the CDL.