Karen Noonan Environmental Education Center Captain/Educator

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation seeks a Captain/Educator for the Karen Noonan Environmental Education Center in Crocheron, MD. This position is residential, and the Captain/Educator must stay on site for all field programs during our education season from March through December. This is a fulltime position that is exempt from overtime.

About the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Established in 1967, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the largest regional nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to saving the Chesapeake Bay, its rivers and streams, and the wildlife that call it home through education, advocacy, litigation, and restoration. Since 2010, CBF has engaged in a focused effort to defend and implement the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, a binding federal and state collaborative agreement aimed at reducing pollution to the science-based, legally-affirmed levels established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Blueprint is expected to be fully implemented by 2025. If the states and the federal government achieve Blueprint goals, the Bay will finally—after decades of failed efforts—be removed from the Clean Water Act’s impaired waters list. Successfully implementing the Blueprint depends on a well-informed, engaged, active, and diverse constituency of members, advocates, and volunteers who speak up and take action to save the Bay.

CBF has a staff of approximately 190 employees working in offices in Annapolis, Maryland; Richmond and Virginia Beach, Virginia; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Washington, D.C. as well as 15 field education program locations. Our staff and volunteer corps work throughout the region educating students and adults, advocating for clean water policies, restoring waterways, and litigating when necessary.


CBF's headquarters office in Annapolis, Maryland is the Philip Merrill Environmental Center, the world’s first U.S. Green Build Council’s LEED platinum building. In 2014, CBF opened the Brock Environmental Center—one of the world’s most energy efficient, environmentally smart buildings—in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
CBF has an annual budget of approximately $26 million and is supported by more than 275,000 members and e-subscribers. For more information on CBF, please visit cbf.org.

CBF Environmental Education

Approximately 35,000 students and teachers participate each year in CBF’s education field experiences or teacher professional learning. 
The Bay, and its watershed, is our classroom and CBF environmental educators are responsible for bringing the Bay alive to students.  We strive to make a lasting impression about the excitement and vulnerability of the Bay. 

Each of CBF’s 15 education programs has its own individual character. The field experience options run the gamut from our urban boat programs in Baltimore and Hampton Roads to Pennsylvania canoe programs to remote island-based residential centers.  We use hands-on experiential teaching techniques to educate students about the health of the Bay and connect them back to their local environment.  Educators promote and develop citizen knowledge about the Bay by providing unforgettable, hands-on experiences that inspire participants with a commitment to take action for the restoration of the Bay.

The education department is comprised of student field programs, teacher and principal professional learning, and student leadership.  All of these components work closely to educate and empower participants to take action towards “Saving the Bay.” 

Context of the Position

The Karen Noonan Education Center is located at Bishops Head, a 20-acre site on a peninsula in Dorchester County, south of Cambridge, MD.  The site is part of a 2,278-acre parcel of land owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  A renovated hunting lodge and separate staff house comprise the buildings on the property. Similar to CBF’s other island centers, the Karen Noonan Center has access to the open waters of the Bay as well as to the smaller marsh inlets.  Participants can set crab pots, dredge for oysters, and scrape the nearby underwater grass meadows. Using a 40-ft. workboat, canoes, and the extensive surrounding marshes, the participants explore various ecosystems, examine plant and animal species, analyze water quality, and discuss the socio-economic issues facing residents of the Bay watershed and the local watermen communities

The full-time, on-site staff consists of a Captain, Program Manager, and seasonal educator.  All staff serve as co-educators who plan and facilitate the field experiences for students.  During the fall and spring seasons, the Karen Noonan Center staff typically lead 3-day field programs for students traveling from within the watershed.  In the summer, the center hosts a variety of trip participants including adult groups, teacher groups, and student leadership programs.  Housing is provided and the captain must live on-site for the duration of Spring, Summer, and Fall field program seasons. The centers are winterized from December – February and no housing is provided during that time.

Essential Functions

  • Safely & professionally serve as Captain and Educator
  • Maintain a 40-ft USCG inspected work boat.  Ensure safe operation of the boat.  Inform passengers of safety precautions 
  • Maintain/repair the education programs 6-pack Carolina Skiff, equipment, center buildings, and educational gear
  • Participate & manage regular inspections and safety checklists
  • Communicate the following items to all participants: safety review, rudimentary boating skills, ecosystem & watershed concepts, wildlife observation, biological sampling, water quality sampling, and other educational activities as appropriate
  • Continually adapt program content based upon grade/age level of participants, weather, and group dynamics and feedback/evaluations from teachers and supervisors
  • Assist in running summer courses for Chesapeake Classrooms Teacher Professional Learning program and/or Student Leadership Program
  • Program staff are responsible and accountable for performing maintenance to keep all education related equipment (buildings, boats, grounds, and/or gear) in proper working order
  • Program staff are responsible for the safety of all field participants, ensure that all safety protocols are rigorously followed, and are required to respond to medical emergencies that may arise
  • Complete/submit timesheets, personal expense reports, credit card reports, and all other relevant administrative tasks in a timely manner
  • Develop and implement one-year program plan that is in alignment with CBF’s strategic plan
  • Provide timely communication and updates about the program to supervisors and other CBF departments
  • Attend all safety training and professional development offerings
  • This physically-demanding position involves frequent weekend work and year-round exposure to the elements
  • Perform other duties as assigned
  • Housing is provided, and the captain must live on-site during education programming in Spring, Summer, and Fall field program seasons. The centers are winterized from December – February and no housing is provided during that time

Professional Experience and Qualifications

  • Minimum 25-ton Master of Inland Waters USCG Captain license with a FCC certification
  • 3-6 years’ experience operating & maintaining a USCG inspected passenger carrying vessel
  • Experience with boat maintenance and small repairs
  • 1-3 years’ experience teaching in either a formal or non-formal setting
  • A strong desire to teach in the field/outdoors (under all weather conditions) and work with students daily
  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills
  • Collaborative work style
  • Energy, enthusiasm, and passion for students and the environment 
  • Creativity, humor and self-confidence
  • Desire and ability to relate to people of all ages and backgrounds
  • Knowledge of environmental issues facing the Bay
  • Knowledge of fishing/crabbing/oystering, a plus
  • Knowledge of Chesapeake Bay Foundation & the Education Department mission, strategic plans & goals, a plus
  • Strong commitment to safety and maintenance


Physical Requirements:

  • Physical ability to lift and carry heavy objects-at least 45 pounds (canoes and other equipment)
  • This physically demanding position involves year-round exposure to the elements 
  • Ability to live on-site at the Karen Noonan Center from end of February through December
  • Ability to work evenings and weekends
  • Ability to travel to attend trainings & meetings
  • Ability to have reliable transportation to travel to other CBF field programs & locations as needed

Other:

  • Must pass a criminal background check
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license and a review of current driving record is required
  • All education staff participate in a pre-employment & random drug screening program per the requirements of the US Coast Guard

Additional Information

This position will remain open until filled by a suitable candidate. No Phone Calls please.

How to Apply

Using the link below, please submit a cover letter and resume.

Apply Now



CBF offers a comprehensive benefits package to include: 20 vacation days, 10 sick days, health, vision, dental, life insurance, and a tax deferred retirement plan.

CBF encourages diverse candidates to apply and is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment. CBF is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

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