Outdoor School Instructor

Job Type: 
Outdoor School
Starting Date: 
May 3, 2019

Application Deadline: April 5, 2019


Woolman Outdoor School Instructors will facilitate activities for WOS participants (high school students, teachers, and adult chaperones), which include but are not limited to environmental science lessons, wilderness skills activities, and community building workshops.  They will manage and lead groups of WOS participants as big as 55 students and 4 or more chaperones and teachers. WOS Instructors will be immersed in the Woolman community, including hosting meals and leading groups of participants in Community Chores. They will also be available to help participants with situations or conflicts that arise during activities, assist in the cleaning of campus after WOS participants depart, and they will engage deeply with the community building we foster at Woolman.


Paid Training (mandatory): April 6 - 7 or April 13-14

Programming (commitment to all three not necessary): May 3-5, May 10-12, & May 20-23

The Program:

The mission of the Woolman Outdoor School is to steward learning communities and groups to enhance and deepen their connection with the natural world.

We partner with instructors at Sierra Streams Institute to offer engaging, hands on activities that integrate environmental science with a powerful connection to the natural world. Our program engages high school students through hands-on and place-based learning while promoting critical thinking and creative problem solving. Evening programs include campfires, skits, night hikes, and astronomy. In addition to academics, the Outdoor School provides a unique learning environment where students gain important social skills, responsibility, independence, and confidence. Students take part in garden harvests, meal preparation, and clean ups, giving them an active role in providing for their community.

In addition to academics, the Outdoor School provides a unique learning environment where students gain important social skills, responsibility, independence, and confidence.  Students take part in garden harvests, meal preparation, and clean ups, giving them an active role in providing for their community.

Our Values:

We are an organization founded on the values of peace, simplicity, unity, community, integrity, equality, social justice, a culture of diversity, respect, non-violence, learning to listen to the “still, small voice” within, and environmental sustainability. We accept and celebrate people of all religious or spiritual beliefs, and ask that all participants adhere to these values.

Site and Facilities:

Woolman is located at the Sierra Friends Center, about 8 miles outside of Nevada City, California. This site's 236 acres of meadows and mixed conifer forest offers an outstanding setting for the Outdoor School. The creek, pond, organic garden, and rich riparian habitat provide a diversity of ecosystems for field study. Our proximity to the Yuba River State Park offers an additional opportunity for optional field trips off-site.

Woolman Outdoor School Instructors will: 

  • Attend a three day/two night training (paid) before working with any WOS participants. Training will be April 5- April 7, 2019. This training will include safety protocols, WOS scheduling expectations, tools for encouraging inclusion and community building, as well as general orientation to the campus and program.

  • Facilitate activities for WOS participants (students, teachers, and chaperones), which include but are not limited to environmental science lessons, wilderness skills activities, and community building workshops.

  • Be available to help WOS participants with situations or conflicts that arise during activities.

  • Manage and lead groups of WOS participants as big as 55 students and 4 or more chaperones and teachers.

  • Potentially co-lead two day/one night backpacking trips at the Yuba River or other local trails

  • Live on site for the duration of the program, usually three days, but potentially as long as five days.

  • WOS activities range from 45 minute to 4 hours. WOS Instructors will receive lesson plans and training on how to best lead these activities, but are also encouraged to incorporate their own knowledge and education tools whenever possible.

  • Our top priority is safety, not only physical but mental and emotional as well. WOS instructors must be able to read their group, assess the wellbeing of their participants, and reach out to the sending school’s staff and other WOS staff for help when necessary.

  •  At WOS we recognize that every student has their own unique learning and social interaction style that works best for them. WOS instructors will try to cater to a variety of learning and “classroom” management styles, and be patient with students as they adjust to learning primarily outdoors.

  •  WOS not only wants its participants to learn environmental science, but we strive to cultivate wilderness appreciation and community building as well. Although each activity is built with certain learning outcomes in mind, we understand that every group is different and will learn different things throughout their journey. We encourage WOS Instructors to focus on helping participants gain comfortability and curiosity about nature as well as form important bonds with their schoolmates, and we understand these focuses can draw the group away from the curriculum at times.

Backpacking Trips:

  • WOS may take some sending schools one 2 day/1 night backpacking trips at local trails. WOS Instructors who work with these schools must have previous backpacking trip leading experience.

  • Co-Lead a group of up to 15 students and 1 teacher or adult chaperone on a 2 day 1 night backpacking trip. Usually 2 WOS Instructor/Staff per trip

  • Follow the route and use the campsites planned by the WOS admin, unless circumstances call for in-the-field route revision

  • Cook meals for participants on whisper light stoves

  • Bear Bag food or any items with odor at night

  • Purify water for the group

  • Practice constant risk management and look out for the wellbeing of all participants

  • Teach wilderness and backpacking skills to participants whenever possible

  • Treat any medical conditions within guidelines of their current first aid, wilderness first aid, wilderness first responder, etc. certification

  • Carry out evacuations according to WOS protocol if necessary

Community Living

Housing: WOS Instructors will live on-site in A-Frames or the Westside Cabins for the duration of programming

  • A-Frames have two beds, built in desks, and shelves and will house up to 2 instructors

  • Cabins have 5 beds and will house up to 3 instructors

  • A-Frames and Cabins have electricity, a light, and are heated by wood burning stoves

  • A-Frames are located near the East Bathhouse and Cabins are near the West Bathhouse. Both Bathhouses contain individual shower stalls and toilet stalls, and are also used by WOS participants

Meals: WOS Instructors will eat all of their meals in the dining hall with the WOS participants. They will rotate turns “hosting” the meal, which includes introducing the food, giving warnings for seconds and clean up time, and dismissing the group when the meal is over.

Community Chores: Throughout their time at Woolman, Instructors, students, teachers, parent volunteers, and Woolman staff will participate in Community Chores together. Everyday for 15 minutes after Lunch, Chore Groups will do their part to help our campus run - and we’ll have fun too! We will sing and dance as we sweep cabin floors, tell jokes as we clean dishes, and skip around the campus as we pick up lost and found items.


  • Instructors will lead Chore Groups in rotating jobs that include, dishes after meals, sweeping bathhouses, sanitizing bathhouses, collecting lost and found items, and tidying up dining hall and dining hall lounge space.

  • Instructors will rotate cleaning the kitchen after meals, often staying later than the rest of the chore group to make sure everything is put away and shut down.

Technology Policy: WOS students do not bring any electronics to Woolman, and we ask that all teachers, chaperones, and Instructors keep their electronics well hidden and only use them when they are not in sight of the students

  • Instructors’ electronics can be kept in their A-Frames, Cabins, or a locked cupboard in the Main Office

  • There is no cell service on campus, but wifi and landline phones are available to Instructor use when they are not working.

Communal Places for Instructors: When Instructors are not working with the students, places on campus they may enjoy include:

  • Woolman Main Office - contains meeting spaces, couches, and chairs. Heated by wood burning stove in the winter

  • Woolman Dining Hall - contains lots of tables and chairs, couches, games and books, a tea and coffee making station, and wood burning stove available for use 236 Acres - Our campus includes 236 acres of trails, meadows, and lots of ponderosa pine forest to explore, as well as a couple of small ponds. Instructors are welcome to explore the land on their off-time, as long as they are safe and respectful to the environment.

  • Classroom - There is a classroom in the Main Office that might be used for some activities if weather is harsh. Instructors are free to use this space (which has wifi) when students are not in there as a place to use their electronics.

Conflict Resolution

  • WOS Instructors help each school form their own Community Agreement for their stay at Woolman

  • After students have received a tour of campus and moved into their Lodges, all WOS participants and Woolman Staff will come together on the afternoon of arrival day to make this agreement.

  • Woolman instructors will get the ball rolling by asking queries, such as “What does community mean to you?” and “What are ways you wish to be treated by your peers and educators?” After some silence to absorb and reflect on these queries, all individuals will be given the opportunity co-design expectations for the community. Woolman staff will share the Woolman policies that must be upheld for safety purposes, however, this will not just be a declaration of rules, but rather a chance for staff to explain the reasoning behind these policies.

  • Also during this time Woolman staff will outline our Conflict Resolution Protocol and what to do if the Community Agreement is breached. Each community member will sign the Community Agreement, signifying their dedication to upholding these community expectations and Conflict Resolution Protocol (outlined later in this packet), and signifying the true beginning of the Woolman Outdoor School Experience

WOS Program Schedule Example (without backpacking):

This is a sample 3-day schedule. Individual schools will work with the WOS Director and OUtreach coordinator to select specific Exploration Activities, Evening Programs, and Extended Studies that best meet their needs. WOS Instructors will be trained and given lesson plans for all possible activities before programming begins, as well as a finalized schedule for their program at least 2 weeks before the start of the program.

Day 1




8:00 am

Instructor Meeting

  • Instructors will be offered housing if they chose to arrive the day or night before

  • Play some warm up games to get excited about the program

  • Review schedule and any pertinent health need-to-knows of participants

  • Do any cleaning or set up necessary before participants  arrive

11:00 am

Instructor lunch

  • Eat lunch or pack it up to eat with participants  when they arrive

11:30 am - 12:30 pm

School Arrives

  • Unload buses

  • Eat packed lunches at Fire Pit

  • Healthcare Coordinator teacher checks in with Outdoor School Director

12:30 pm -

1:30 pm

Opening Circle

Campus Tour/

Chaperone Training

  • Woolman staff introduce themselves

  • Students go on campus tour with Woolman Instructors

  • Teachers and Chaperones have a tour and quick training with a Woolman Staff member

1:30 pm -

2:30 pm

Move into Lodges

  • Participants move into Fern House Lodge and Meetinghouse Lodge

  • Write Housing Agreements

2:30 pm -

3:30 pm

Community Agreement

  • Together we create and sign our Community Agreement

3:30 pm -

5:00 pm

Exploration Activity

Freshwater Biology, Orienteering, Wilderness Skills, Forest Walk, Mindfulness/Community Building etc.

5:00 pm -

6:00 pm

Free Time

  • Teachers and Chaperones supervise students on soccer field or Dining Hall deck

  • Recreation equipment and games provided by Woolman

  • Instructors are off or prepping for activities

6:00 pm -

6:45 pm


  • Woolman instructor will host the meal

  • Teachers and Chaperones sit and eat with students

6:45pm -

7:30 pm

Teacher Time

  • Teachers facilitate their own activities in the Meetinghouse or Dinning Hall, can be games, reading a book, debriefing the day, etc.

  • Some students will be on Dish Crew with a Woolman Instructor for the first 20 minutes

  • Instructors are off or prepping for activities

7:30 pm -

9:00 pm

Evening Program

  • Campfire, Night Hike, Environmental Justice game, etc.

9:00 pm -

9:45 pm

Students get ready for bed

  • Teachers and Chaperones assist everyone as they get ready for bed

  • Instructors have brief meeting to unpack the day and prepare for the next day, then are off

9:45 pm -

10:00 pm

Lights Out

  • If teachers need some time to take care of things, Chaperones and on-call Woolman admin can rotate supervising students

Day 2

7:00 am -

7:15 am

Wake Up

  • Woolman instructor acts as “Wake-up fairy” to gently wake up Lodges with songs or jokes

7:00 am -

7:45 am

Get Ready for the day


7:45 am -

8:30 am



8:30 am -

8:50 am

Free Time/Dish Crew

  • Free time supervised by teachers and Chaperones

  • Dish Crew washes breakfast dishes

  • Instructors prep for their activities

8:50 am -

9:25 am

Morning Meeting

  • 15 minutes of silence is great way to settle into the community and start of the day

  • Nothing like good ol’ camp songs to start off the day! Led by Woolman staff and instructors

9:30 am -

11:00 am

Prepare for Extended Study

Games and activities to prepare for the afternoon extended study. May include practicing data collection or reviewing the scientific method

11:15 am -

12:00 pm



12:00 pm -

1:00 pm

Community Chores then Free Time

  • Community Chores

  • Teachers supervise students on soccer field or Dining Hall porch for Free Time after chores

1:00 pm -

5:00 pm

Extended Study

  • Water quality testing, Animal tracking & Mapping, Environmental Justice workshops, etc.

  • Snack provided mid-way

  • In most cases students will be split into separate groups and will investigate different scientific and/or social questions with a chance to share their findings at the end

Same Free Time, Dinner, Teacher Time, and Evening Program schedule as Day 1

Day 3

Same Wake Up and Breakfast schedule as Days 2. Students will pack and clean instead of Morning Meeting.

8:45 am -

10:00 am

Exploration Activity

  • Slightly shorter than the previous activities  in order to leave time for Lunch making and Closing Circle

10:00 am -

10:45 am

Lunch Making & Snack

  • Schools can eat lunch on campus after Closing Circle

11:00 am -

12:00 pm

Closing Circle

  • Begin with 15 minutes of silence

  • Open space for students, teachers, and Chaperones to share their thoughts and reflections

12:00 pm

School Departs

  • Schools can stay past noon in order to eat their lunch, but Woolman staff will begin clean up process

12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Instructor clean and debrief

  • Deep clean campus

  • Celebrate and debrief how the program went

  • Pack up and leave campus


How to Apply:

Please send a cover letter (or email) and resume to:

Amy Cooke
Executive Director
The Woolman Outdoor School
13075 Woolman Lane
Nevada City, CA 95959