Published: Dec. 6, 2019

Canyonlands Field Institute is accepting applications for Apprentice/First Year Naturalist-Guide

Apprentice Naturalist Guide/Educator and First Year Naturalist Guide
  • Position status: Now Hiring
  • Type: Seasonal Full-time
  • Schedule: We accept applications at any time for next season.

POSITION TITLE: Apprentice Naturalist Guide/Educator and First-Year Naturalist Guide – Full Season

  • Reports to: Education Director
  • Job Status: Salaried, $300/ two-week pay period, free housing, and most food paid for. Opportunity to be hired as a First-Year Naturalist Guide after twelve-week Apprenticeship
  • Category: exempt
  • Classification: Seasonal Full-time March – October
  • Number of openings: 4


Canyonlands Field Institute provides quality outdoor education on the Colorado Plateau to inspire care of wild places and renew the human spirit. We believe in empowering students of all ages and backgrounds to deepen their connection to their surroundings. Through inclusive educational experiences, CFI seeks to build knowledge within practices of science, artistic expression, and Social and Emotional Learning. We are creating a team of educators with diverse life experiences who are committed to providing opportunities for all types of learners. By joining our educational community, you can help us promote the growth of caring leaders and empowered students who can effect positive change in our world.


As a key member of the field instructor team, Apprentice Naturalist Guides demonstrate a growth mindset as they strive for excellence in the delivery of educational programs, both on land and river, in line with the strategic goals, mission, vision, and values of Canyonlands Field Institute.

This Apprentice Naturalist Guide training program is for outdoor educators beginning their career of connecting people to, and fostering care for, the natural environment. Based in Moab, Utah, the 12-week apprenticeship focuses on teaching school and youth groups at our Professor Valley Field Camp and on multi-day river trips. Apprentices learn research-supported teaching practices, to coach Social Emotional Learning and to promote Equity and Inclusion at CFI. Technical training includes:

  • river running skills
  • risk management
  • trip and outfitting logistics
  • vehicle and trailer handling
  • camp cooking
  • equipment maintenance


Apprentices will receive an intern stipend of $600 month, or $300/per two-week pay period during the 12-week apprenticeship. Regular employment for first-year naturalist-guides begins early June through mid-October. Pay will then be at competitive rates and on a salary basis. Pay increases are rewarded for increased river skills, familiarity with CFI programs, and leadership abilities.

Free shared co-ed housing is available during Apprenticeship with one hour/pay period work-trade exchange requested. Once Apprenticeship is complete, guides are welcome to find their own housing, but the continued rental option will be available at $100/per pay period plus the work trade requirement for summer through fall months. Meals are included while working CFI programs. Fingerprint clearance for Educators and Food Handler’s Course will be at CFI expense.

Initial training will include one day off/week. There will usually be two days off/week. May and September are exceptionally busy. Schedules will vary due to assigned river launch dates and bookings by groups. During the summer months, staff can schedule time off in advance using their accrued leave.


The following duties are normal for this position. The omission of specific statements of the duties does not exclude them if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment for this position. Other duties may be required and assigned by supervisor.


  • Main areas of focus:
    • 60% Teaching and Guiding
    • 25% Support Staff duties (e.g. facilitation of meals, driving, cooking, rigging and de-rigging trips, gear maintenance, and completion of manual labor tasks)
    • 15% Lesson planning and curriculum development

Program Tasks

  • Teach groups of up to fifteen 6th-12th grade students or adults as needed
  • Facilitate team building, leadership, and Social-Emotional Learning activities
  • Work closely with the program managers to develop lesson plans and materials.
  • Support programs by: Rigging, De-rigging, Scouting, Driving, Food Shopping, Cooking
  • Maintain organization and cleanliness of all CFI equipment, including teaching materials, gear, etc.
  • Maintain high standards of health and safety
  • Follow Risk Management policies in all activities
  • Write a seasonal blog, articulating the educational developments at CFI

Minimum Requirements in Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • A positive, growth mindset with the goal of improving as an educator
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule, including days, nights, and weekends
  • Available to work the complete season (Early March through May or October)
  • Minimum of 21 years of age and clean driving record for three years to qualify for CFI insurance
  • Have an interest in, respect for, and ability to work with children
  • Desire to creatively develop science and education curricula and lesson plans
  • Ability to adapt instruction and lessons to meet a wide variety of learners
  • Strong work ethic
  • Willing to receive and provide feedback to improve CFI and grow as an educator
  • Effectively interact with people of diverse backgrounds and different levels of experience
  • Multi-task efficiently while managing a high-volume workload in a fast-paced, changing environment

Required Education, Experience, and Certifications

  • Lived experience and/or Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree
  • Current Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and CPR certifications, from an approved vendor, or proof of enrollment in a course to be completed prior to the first day of employment
  • Ability to pass a comprehensive background check
  • Participates in and passes Driver Training
  • Operates a motor vehicle (van or truck) to transport program participants or to conduct other work activities. Training in trailer handling and 4wdrive will be provided.

Maintains a clean driving record, passes and keeps current a DOT physical exam at own expense.

To apply, please submit to

  • cover letter
  • resume
  • three references: name, email, phone. At least should be two employment-related
  • copy of driver’s license
  • motor vehicle report (current within 1 year)
  • declare any felony conviction
  • current copies of First Aid/CPR cards
  • copy of current WFR, WAFA, or WFA

Candidates will be contacted for interviews.