The Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) is seeking an enthusiastic and motivated individual to lead a small group of youth stewards in environmental restoration work in the summer of 2017. HVA is the watershed conservation organization and accredited land trust dedicated to conserving the natural character and environmental health of the entire tristate 1,948 square-mile Housatonic River watershed. Since our founding 75 years ago, we have worked closely and effectively with local, regional, statewide and national partners throughout our service area to restore and protect lands and waters for the benefit of watershed communities.
Still River Watershed Connections (“Connections”) is an HVA youth program focused on the Still River watershed, located in the Danbury metropolitan area. The Still River is an important tributary of the Housatonic. Connections began in the context of an ongoing effort to develop and implement a Watershed Management Plan for the Still River, which is led by a collaborative of watershed municipalities; state, federal and regional agencies; and conservation non-profits. Connections provides Danbury-area youth with the knowledge and skills required to implement restoration projects, while providing an opportunity to build personal connections to the Still River and with each other.
The Supervisor will help design and implement the Connections program for the summer of 2017. The position involves guiding and supervising a group of 4-6 young adults hired through Danbury Youth Services in stream/watershed restoration work, teambuilding activities, and community outreach in the Danbury area. The goal of the program is to connect young people with meaningful restoration projects while helping them develop valuable skills and experience in environmental science and fostering a personal connection to the Still River and its watershed that will catalyze further stewardship in their communities. Restoration activities include invasive plant removal, maintenance of local greenway trails, water quality sampling, stormwater outfall monitoring, etc.
The Supervisor’s primary duty is to work with HVA’s Conservation Projects Manager to plan programming and to provide on-site supervision for youth crew. Specific job duties entail coordinating with a diverse group of partners to schedule and execute a suite of projects at local greenways and parks; ensuring personal safety of crew members; teaching stewards about proper work etiquette; ensuring group cohesion and harmony; and helping crew members transmit their knowledge to the public. The tentative structure of the 8-week position is as follows:
• Week 1: The Supervisor will work with HVA staff members at our office in Cornwall Bridge, CT to plan restoration projects and events for the summer by coordinating with partners.
• Weeks 2-6: The Supervisor will organize and lead a watershed orientation for the youth stewards, where they will be introduced to the basics of watershed function and management, using the Still River Watershed as a case study, and also learn about work etiquette. Following orientation, the Supervisor will work with Stewards 20 hrs/week on restoration projects throughout the watershed (the Supervisor works 35 hrs/week to allow time for daily planning and follow-up). The Supervisor will also help coordinate with local environmental professionals to enhance programming, and volunteers who are interested in getting involved in the program. Restoration projects may include: Invasive plant management (Japanese knotweed, etc.); maintaining riparian buffer plantings; sampling stormwater outfalls and coordinating with Public Works crew and local lab to test samples for pollution; water quality sampling; performing trail work (i.e. updating signs; maintaining native plant gardens; painting/fixing/cleaning tables, signs, etc.); and GPS mapping.
• Week 7: Field work will wind down and the Supervisor will help the stewards design and execute a presentation to the community about their experience.
• Week 8: Youth stewards will be finished with work, and the Supervisor will complete project summaries for grant reporting and organize materials for next year’s program.
• Experience working outdoors with groups of young people (ages 14-21). Examples may include, but are not limited to: outdoor leadership programs, science education, camp experience, etc.
• Enthusiasm for planning environmental education activities on a daily and weekly basis, and a desire to help shape/expand the program. The Supervisor will play a pivotal role in helping crew members learn about science and develop a sense of place in the watershed, allowing them to make the “connections” (to the river and to each other)
• Awareness of and interest in ecological restoration and freshwater resources, and a love of learning/teaching others about the environment. Must have a working understanding of basic watershed function and willingness to research topics for instruction.
• Excellent interpersonal skills with people of all ages, including high school students, local conservation groups, and town officials. This includes being comfortable with public speaking, event organizing, and collaborating with partners.
• Experience posting photos and sharing updates on Facebook and Instagram.
• Valid driver’s license, clean driving record, and willingness to transport crew in a rental van for orientation and sampling trips.
• First Aid/CPR training (HVA can help qualified applicants obtain this training).
• Strong written and oral communication skills, problem solving skills, flexibility, and organizational skills (to schedule programming, maintain contacts and outreach materials, track program progress, etc.).
• Familiarity with the Still River and/or any of the towns in the watershed, which include Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, New Milford, Newtown, and Ridgefield, CT.
• Spanish and/or Portuguese fluency is highly desired.
Time and Compensation:
• This is a temporary position (35 hours/week for 8 weeks).
• Hourly rate commensurate with experience and qualifications.
• Send cover letter describing interest and qualifications, resume, and contact information for 3 references to Savannah Judge (HVA Conservation Projects Manager) at email@example.com
• Applications must be received by April 15th for full consideration.