Youth Programs Educator Position — Friends of the National Arboretum

Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) seeks a Youth Programs Educator to support our Green Ambassadors Program and SPROUT programs. You will have the opportunity to build garden knowledge; learn new facilitation, teaching and group management techniques; and work with young people from PK- high school.

As an assistant to our SPROUT (Science Program Reaching Out) program, you will provide self-guided or staff-led ninety minute interactive garden science experiences that are based on one of our themes: pollination, garden basics and nutrition to primarily elementary aged students.

As an assistant to our Green Ambassadors Program (GAP), a six-week paid summer internship for DC high school students, you will teach hands-on skills such as gardening, cooking, and carpentry as well as interpersonal skills like communication and collaboration.

Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) is a nonprofit membership organization working to preserve and enhance the U.S. National Arboretum (USNA) in Washington D.C. and bring this remarkable resource to life as an important part of the city and region.

The primary program of FONA is the Washington Youth Garden. Founded in 1971, the Washington Youth Garden provides unique environmental science and nutrition education programming for youth and families.The mission of the Washington Youth Garden is to nurture curious minds and healthy bodies by connecting youth to food, the land, and each other.

Our small program team is a little community in itself, mixed with different personalities, cultures, gifts and talents. Everything from mushroom cultivation to bread making. There’s always something to learn from everyone. We enjoy lending each other a hand on projects and listening to each other for feedback and suggestions.

You are someone who loves engaging with both elementary and high school aged students and are excited about leading garden-based activities. You are comfortable working outside, and enjoy getting your hands dirty (literally– we work in gardens 70% of the year) and crave variety in your day to day. You love thinking through the best way to craft an experience for students of all ages, and working independently and with your peers to lead programs. You have good organizational skills, and are willing to take initiative to ensure all WYG programs run smoothly.

The ideal candidate will have experience, but more importantly interest, in the following:
Informal, garden-based teaching of children (aged 3-13)
Youth development (ages 14-21)
Supporting experiential education (cooking, small construction projects, gardening, etc.)
Familiarity and connection with Black, Latine, and/or marginalized communities in D.C.
Spanish language proficiency
Using Google Drive and Microsoft Office
Can lift/ handle up to 40 lbs

Expected certificates and licenses:
Driver’s License
First Aid (can attain through professional development after hire)
COVID-19 proof of vaccination or proof of a medical or religious exemption
Prior to employment, FONA will conduct a background check, including criminal and sexual offender checks and education and employment verification.
REPORTS TO: Green Ambassador Program Manager

While there is a lot of seasonal variability in this work, averaged over the course of the growing season, we expect the Youth Programs Educator to be spending the approximate percentage of time on different functions:

School Garden Support Programs (50%)
Heavily weighted to spring (March-June) and fall (September-November)
Lead students (10 max) in 90-120 minute hands-on garden activities through SPROUT program
Lead orientations for self-guided groups up to 60 students
Set-up and clean-up responsibilities
Maintain educational materials and educational spaces
Assist with program coordination and design, particularly of new self-guided components
Engage arboretum visitors and classes to answer questions about the garden
School Garden Supports
Support and co-facilitate school-based events such as, workdays, cooking demonstrations and taste tests, garden clubs, family nights, etc.
Support creation of resources and materials for events and trainings

Green Ambassadors high school internship Program (45%)
Program Development (10%); heavily weighted to spring
Work in partnership with On-Site Program Manager and Garden Manager to design GAP Farm Crew schedule
Implement recruiting efforts for GAP participants, including:
Support with outreach tables at school and community events
Offer short interviews to interested participants
Follow up with candidates over email and text message
Lead orientation events at WYG demonstration garden
GAP Farm Crew Implementation (30%)
Collaborate with On-Site Program Manager to coordinate logistics, including organizing paperwork and payroll, driving a 15- passenger van and/ or pickup truck, and coordinating with partner organizations;
Facilitate program orientation for youth and provide daily supervision;
Track Green Ambassador commitment to program standards of conduct;
Demonstrate consistent communication skills, positive attitude, and work ethic
Deliver workshops and facilitate informal learning throughout 6-week program;
Assist with program documentation and storytelling

Saturday Volunteer Days (10%)
Manage Saturday volunteer programs for the youth
Support general volunteer days
Communicate participant availability
Manage community service hours timesheets and submission
Assist in garden maintenance support
Meet with garden staff to plan volunteer efforts
FONA-wide Responsibilities (5%)
Act as an ambassador for FONA, present gardening and garden education workshops at conferences and teacher trainings;
Occasionally attend fundraisers and other special events
Capture quality photos and videos of SPROUT, GAP
Perform garden maintenance tasks as time allows around programming

Work schedule is normally Monday-Friday, 8:30-5:00 (some flexibility) with a shift to semi-regular Tuesday- Saturday required during the spring and fall season. Expected range is $21-24- Salary is subject to FICA and income taxes. Excellent benefits package includes full health care coverage, a matching 401k retirement plan, paid federal holidays and generous accrued PTO, plus travel and cell phone/ internet reimbursement.

The expected start date is late March, 2023. Position concludes November 17th, 2023.

This position is based out of the U.S. National Arboretum, with extensive local travel utilizing a 15 passenger van or truck during the 6 week summer Green Ambassadors program, and weekly utilizing a truck throughout program.

Send resume and cover letter to jobs@fona.org. Write “Youth Programs Educator” in the subject line. In addition, please answer two of the following three questions at this google form (or email the video directly to jobs@fona.org).
What about this position interests you? What do you hope to gain from the experience?
FONA’s youth programs works with primarily Black and Latine communities through DCPS and charter schools in D.C. Please explain your connections to or roots in the communities of Washington, D.C., and/ or your interest in working with D.C. communities.
Give an example of a time you’ve led a group or activity with youth or adult learners in the past. What strategies or best practices did you use?

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and will not be accepted after February 27th.

All applicants will be required to complete a background check during the interview process.

Friends of the National Arboretum is an equal opportunity employer. We believe participation across a broad-spectrum of human experiences and backgrounds is necessary. We value different skills, identities, education levels, and generations on our team, and are committed to creating a just and inclusive environment for all.

Jobs, Internships & Opportunities
3501 New York Ave NE

Washington, District of Columbia 20002
Contact Name:
Brianne Studer
Contact Email:
Date Posted: