Conservation Education Camp Counselors are temporary summer positions found only in the instructional camps operated by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Incumbents of these positions are responsible for the general welfare of the campers, children ages 12 to 17, and volunteers. Counselors organize and implement a variety of educational and recreational programs and activities designed to increase the campers' awareness of environmental stewardship and related issues.
Conservation Education Camp Counselors are employed on a temporary basis during the summer months. They supervise a small group of campers (cabin group) on a 24-hour basis, overseeing their daily activities.
Incumbents are responsible for conducting workshops and leading educational activities in areas such as general ecology, aquatic ecology, the forest environment and current environmental issues. They may also lead field activities such as stream sampling for aquatic life and soil quality testing. Counselors coordinate and conduct recreational activities including canoeing, hiking, archery, fishing, swimming and hunter safety.
Conservation Education Camp Supervisors are responsible for developing and supervising a comprehensive training program for staff and volunteers at their camps. They set program and work schedules, make staff assignments and review and approve the Conservation Education Camp Counselors' lesson plans. They evaluate staff's work performance as well as the overall effectiveness of the program.
Environmental Educators conduct a broad range of environmental education and interpretative programs for school youth, teachers, special groups, and the general public. Environmental Educator positions are typically year-round positions located at an Environmental Education Center or in the central office in Albany.
Organize education, recreation and work projects.
Conduct and supervise activities of campers on a 24-hour basis.
Assist in the development and maintenance of camp construction projects.
Facilitate a positive camp experience.
Conservation Education Camp Counselors are directly supervised by a Conservation Education Camp Supervisor who sets schedules, makes assignments, provides training, and approves and evaluates counselors' lesson plans. In addition, peer support and evaluation are provided in weekly meetings and training sessions. Counselors work essentially independently during field activities.
Conservation Education Camp Counselors must possess sound judgment and decision-making abilities since they are responsible for the education, health and safety of their campers. Errors in judgment could result in serious injury or, from a programmatic viewpoint, negatively influence the success of group lessons and activities. The Camp Program's goals and objectives can only be achieved when counselors work cooperatively to insure that maximum learning potential is nurtured.
The Camp Program provides a handbook to all staff that discusses health and safety policies and procedures, environmental education lesson plans and resources, as well as other procedures for problems that commonly arise at camp.
At all times, Conservation Education Camp Counselors are responsible for the health and safety of the campers according to standards set forth by DEC and the NYS Department of Health.
Conservation Education Camp Counselors perform a wide range of tasks that vary in difficulty level from planning and organizing educational programs to physically setting up and closing camp.
They must develop, implement, and evaluate environmental workshops and activities which require that incumbents be knowledgeable in areas such as natural sciences, environmental studies and environmental education. Incumbents of these positions must approach problem-solving creatively while demonstrating leadership capabilities and an acute sensitivity to the ever-changing needs of young people.
Conservation Education Camp Counselors communicate orally on a continual basis with the camp supervisor, other counselors, campers and, to a lesser extent, parents and sponsors. They also communicate in writing in the preparation of lesson plans, registration of campers and preparation of reports.
The counselor is a parent-like figure to the campers serving as a role model, a mediator, and an educator at all times. As representatives of the Department, oral communications with campers, parents and sponsors are critical to developing trust and establishing credibility in the camper program.
In addition, counselors may occasionally communicate directly with vendors, other agency personnel and Department of Health staff to obtain information pertinent to the success of their programs.
Conservation Education Camp Counselor is a non-supervisory class. However, they may directly supervise volunteers that have been assigned to their group, trip or cabin. In addition, in the absence of the camp supervisor, a counselor may be given temporary supervisory duties over the program until such time as the camp supervisor returns.
Conservation Education Camp Counselors must have two years of college or work experience in natural resources, biological sciences, environmental sciences or environmental education. All Conservation Education Camp Counselors must be certified in American Red Cross Responding to Emergencies or equivalent and in American Red Cross Basic Life Support for the Professional Rescuer or equivalent.
Depending upon individual assignments, certifications in areas such as American Red Cross Water Safety Instruction or Advanced Life Saving and Basic Life Support may be required. May be required to administer medicines if certified as an Emergency Medical Technician, a Licensed Practical Nurse or equivalent.