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Benton County Iowa

Interpretive Naturalist

Date Posted: 4/29/2021
Department: Conservation
Type of Employment: Full-Time

Job Title: Interpretive Naturalist 

Reports To: Director

Department: Conservation, 04/2021

Supervises: Seasonal Staff

FLSA Status: Non-exempt

Salary Range: $40,000 - $46,000

SUMMARY: Naturalist plans, develops, coordinates, and presents environmental education and interpretive programs for schools and other youth groups, adults, and the general public in order to create a more environmentally literate citizenry.


Develops lesson plans, curricula, and related educational materials for use in educating the public and targeted groups about nature, conservation, and the environment. Target groups include, but are not limited to: youth groups, schools, civic clubs, volunteer organizations, senior citizens, people with disabilities, camps, and the general public.

Schedules programs and activities, and maintains records of activities, dates, times, and groups served. Also schedules programs and activities conducted by intern staff.

Educates teachers and other educators and youth leaders in areas pertaining to teaching styles, nature, conservation practices, and the environment. Presents and hosts educator workshops.

Writes program goals and objectives. Constantly evaluates the attainment of specific objectives key to reaching the desired goals of environmental education. Reports evaluations to the Director, and responds to feedback.

Acquires and reads relevant publications, attends conferences and workshops, and maintains a standard of professionalism as outlined by the Iowa Association of Naturalists.

Develops printed materials and educational displays including articles, news releases, pamphlets, brochures, handouts, quarterly newsletter, videos, audio-visual programs, interpretive displays/exhibits, signs, and self-guided trails.

Represents the Conservation Board with good public relations efforts, plans and implements fund-raising and grant writing relative to the environmental education program.

Enlists, coordinates, and supervises interns, volunteers, and coordinates the use of paid/contracted speakers.

Care for live animals in exhibits, implementing habitat management, and general maintenance.

Safely operates equipment including tractors, mowers, weed cutters, trimmers, chainsaws, etc.

Willing to work holidays and weekends if required.

Gives input in writing natural resource management plans for all county areas including parks, prairies, wetlands, and forests.

Assists in the prescribed burning of native prairie areas established on county lands.

Helps develop and administer the department’s wildlife habitat program.

Assists with weekly and bi-weekly claims and revenues of the department.

Assists in answering and returning phone calls and communicating with the public on various needs.

Assists staff and director with grant writing and fund development for the department. 

Performs other duties as directed or as the situation dictates.

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.


- Upon hire -

  • Bachelor degree with conservation reference and 2-year experience in related field, or 2-year degree in conservation with 4-year experience in related field.
  • Valid Driver’s License.

 - Recommended upon hire, but should be completed within 1 year of hire -

  • Valid Class D Driver’s License. 
  • CPR and first-aid certification.
  • Ability to maintain professional development as defined by the Iowa Association of Naturalists.
  • Wilderness First Aid.


Must have the ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions and procedure manuals. Have the ability to write routine reports and correspondence with professional quality. Have the ability to effectively present information to the general public and to management.


The individual must possess the following knowledge, skills and abilities, or be able to explain and demonstrate that the individual can safely perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation.

Proficient in the use of computers, audio-visual equipment, cameras, and other media-related tools.

Ability to demonstrate outdoor skills such as canoeing, camping, fishing, hiking, snowshoeing, archery, kayaking, etc.

Familiarity with arts relevant to nature interpretation, with a certain degree of proficiency in arts and crafts.

Capacity to use various hand and carpentry tools.

Requires creativity, enthusiasm, good judgement, initiative, flexibility, poise, sense of humor, willingness to grow professionally, and stay current in the field.

Ability to establish and evaluate long and short-term goals; advanced knowledge of nature field ID, ecology, conservation principles and practices, outdoor skills, and the environment.

Ability to understand, analyze, interpret, and explain conservation laws, principles, and practices both verbally and in writing.

Ability to develop curricula using and understanding teaching methods and learning styles.

Ability to relate to and speak effectively to all age groups and target audiences.

Ability to speak in panel and committee discussions and speak before audiences with poise, voice control, and confidence using correct English.

Ability to write using proper format, punctuations, grammar, and spelling.

Ability to apply problem solving skills to define problems, collect and analyze data, establish facts, and draw conclusions.

Organizational skills including: decision making, project management, and team workspace management. 

Possess the ability to effectively communicate in writing, manage administrative processes, good organizational skills, professionalism, problem solving abilities, knowledge of basic accounting processes, good verbal communication skills, and the ability to effectively work with the public.  

Ability to utilize Microsoft Windows Office for word processing and data management. 

Knowledge of principles of land use and the environmental, social, and economic problems that affect it.

Ability to plan work, think conceptually, analyze data, observe and evaluate, and make sound decisions and recommendations.

Knowledge in the operation of manual power tools, equipment, or the ability to learn the operation of this equipment.

Ability to perform manual labor outside, under all types of weather conditions.

Ability to establish and maintain effective working relations with others and maintain good public relations.

Ability to follow oral and written instructions.

Ability to recognize and determine the difference between native and non-native species and establish the importance of each.


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, frequently reach with hands and arms and talk and hear. The employee is frequently required to stand, walk, climb or balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl. The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 50 pounds.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee requires good physical mobility and manual dexterity. 

Must complete a medical physical and background check.


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. The position may be required to travel.


Apply online here.
Applications MUST include: completed application, resume, cover letter, and three references.
Applications due by 3:30pm on Friday, May 21st.
Salary Range: $40,000 - $46,000