Professional Naturalist Fellowship
An Experiential Environmental Educator Training Program

Hone your talents. Improve your skills. Learn from professionals. Leave your mark as a participant in the Professional Naturalist Fellowship. Spend a year facilitating amazing experiences for students while you develop teaching and public relations skills and opt to earn an Environmental Education Certificate that will prepare you for success as an environmental educator.


The fellowship begins and ends in August and Naturalists are exposed to a wide variety of audiences and classes during the year. They learn by doing, through direct teaching experience guided by staff support, trainings, and a series of evaluations.


Eagle Bluff's primary audience (80% of visitors) is 4th - 8th grade students who participate in our overnight, Residential Program with their school. However, visiting students can range from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Other audiences include scout troops, church groups, at-risk youth, summer camps, corporate groups, family and adult weekends, and college classes.


To learn more about our programs explore our website, especially our education programs, summer camps, and events.

  • Able to commit to August 12th, 2018 to August 9th, 2019
  • B.A. or B.S. degree, related field preferred
  • Ability to live on-site in a dormitory-like setting
  • Experience working with children
  • High level of self-motivation and enthusiasm; an eagerness and willingness to learn
  • Current CPR and Standard First Aid certification
  • Comfortable in moving water and able to hike long distances
  • Willing to operate and participate in high ropes courses and rock climbing wall
  • Related experience as a naturalist, interpreter,  camp counselor, trip leader, or other leadership roles is a plus, but not required.
Fellowship Details and Responsiblities

Teaching Opportunities

Fellowship participants teach up to 8 three-hour-long ecology, natural history, culture, challenge skills, and outdoor recreation classes per week.  Each participant also presents a one-hour "naturalist program" to large groups usually in the evenings. Naturalists choose a topic from developed slide shows, demonstrations, or character programs.  



Professional Naturalist Fellowship participants make personal connections and experiences for students/visitors as their group host or "liaison." The liaison must prepare for the group's arrival, give an orientation, lead a few activities or classes, prepare for evening group activities, and serve as the primary Eagle Bluff representative.  The liaison remains on call throughout the nights when their group is in residence.


Professional Development

The Fellowship is keenly focused on providing numerous opportunities for development as professional educators and naturalists. Along with teaching and public relations, below are the other primary professional development opportunities. In addition, First Aid/CPR training, staff field trips, and off-site workshops are also offered when time allows.




At the start of the Fellowship, Naturalists attend a two-week training period start in mid-August.  This intensive training serves as an introduction to the Fellowship with a focus on an orientation for the year ahead, Eagle Bluff's three-hour-long classes, and acting as a liaison.  Additional trainings will be scheduled throughout the year for seasonal classes.


Weekly Seminars

Seminars on Natural History, Interpretation and Instructional Techniques are conducted on Friday afternoons by Eagle Bluff permanent education staff and experts in the EE field.  Additionally, seminars can be taken for credit as coursework toward a CIG Certification through the National Association for Interpretation and/or a Certificate in Environmental Education through Hamline University (details below).


Professional Naturalist Fellowship participants are formally evaluated throughout the year.  Feedback is positive and specific and includes a follow-up meeting with the evaluator. Naturalists will also participate in a self-evaluation and observations of permanent education staff as part of the learning process.


Optional Certifications

All Fellowship Naturalists are required to attend weekly seminars and participate in evaluations but have the option of earning two certifications through their participation. Pursuing either certification requires additional responsibilities and costs compared to those who choose not to earn credits.


Environmental Education Certificate

Fellowship participants may opt to apply a portion of their stipend toward earning an Environmental Education certificate through the Office of Continuing Education at Hamline University.  Naturalists have the option of participating for no credit, earning as few as two or as many as ten for the full certificate. The cost for earning the full certificate (10 credits) is approximately $1,650.


Course List:

Fundamental of Environmental Education, 3 credits, Fall Course

Principles of Interpretation, 2 credits, Winter Course

Program Development, 2 credits, Winter Course

Natural History of Southeast Minnesota, 3 credits, Spring Course

Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) Training

Naturalists may become Certified Interpretive Guides (CIG) through the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) through attendance at a four-day training.  The CIG training also counts as 2 credits toward the EE Certificate (Principles of Interpretation). The cost for earning the CIG certificate is approximately $150.

Compensation and Amenities

Participants receive an $850/month stipend for living expenses and to apply toward the cost of graduate credit or certifications. In addition, participants live in a private wing of the dormitory. Bedrooms are private with a bathroom/suite shared with one other person.  All 12 participants share a common living room, dining room, kitchen, and laundry. As additional compensation, meals are provided when visiting groups are in residence as are food staples for use in the staff kitchen. Along with room and board, Naturalists are offered paid sick time, paid holidays, limited paid vacation time, personal voicemail, internet access, staff gear, and use of Eagle Bluff's recreational equipment.



After the Fellowship

Upon completion of the Fellowship, Naturalists will receive a comprehensive portfolio summarizing their progress throughout the program. Credits earned may be applied toward Masters Programs such as the Master of Arts in Education: Natural Science & Environmental Education at Hamline University or most other accredited Institutions. 


Graduate Naturalists positions may also be offered as a continuation of the Fellowship Naturalist experience. Graduate Naturalists have the opportunity to further their study and practice of Residential EE as well as focus on an area of interest or education during a second year at Eagle Bluff.


Reference Forms