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Creating Opportunity: Au Sable Opens New Position for Environmental Education Program Assistant

Aug 26, 2016

When Au Sable’s founder, Harold Snyder, first purchased land adjacent to Big Twin Lake in Kalkaska County, Michigan 1956, he did so with the dream of creating a "science camp" for junior high age boys, envisioning a program of environmental education that would emphasize direct investigation of natural environments and place-based learning. He might not have realized it then, but in crafting his science classes with these characteristics, Harold was laying the groundwork for a program in environmental education in which his pupils would learn differently and see anew the scientific processes active in nature, and the reasons that God’s creation was to be valued and cared for in these natural environments.

Eventually, Harold’s dreams matured into a full-fledged and official Au Sable undertaking, the Environmental Education Internship Program (EEIP), pursuing simultaneously the goals of teaching K-8 students to love and understand the natural world around them, and providing intentional training, teaching experience, and professional certification to college students teaching in the program as Environmental Education Interns. In continuing to expand that work, Au Sable has created and is now actively seeking to fill a new staff position, that of EEIP Program Assistant.

The Program Assistant will enjoy a longer-term appointment of up to 37 weeks at the Institute, and have a more direct role in intern training, educational assessment of EEIP lessons, and expanding the network of public, parochial, and home schools now participating in EEIP. Au Sable’s Environmental Education Coordinator, Paul Wiemerslage, explains the role and need for the new position this way, “With the adoption of new science standards and changes in the way we deliver programs, there is a need to bring on additional support to accomplish tasks associated with program development.  The EEIP Program Assistant will work closely with me to deliver programs and assist in curriculum development, allowing us to support teachers and interns in new ways.  Additionally, it’s a great opportunity for a young professional to gain a foundational understanding of non-profit administration.”

Being Au Sable’s EEIP Program Assistant will provide an individual with unique and valuable professional credentials that they will carry with them when they leave the position. Au Sable’s Executive Director, Dr. Fred Van Dyke, a scientist and educator with over 35 years experience in environmental education, notes, “There are a lot of short-term internships in environmental science and education. These are valuable experiences that teach participating interns how to become good teachers in a field setting. But most of these experiences don’t teach the interns how to plan curriculum or create actual lesson plans, how to develop methods of assessment on the effectiveness of the teaching, or how to work directly with full-time teachers to build, develop, and expand professional educational networks that support an environmental education program. The position of EEIP Program Assistant offers the right person the chance to learn, practice, and receive training in all these areas. The person who gets this job will likely be with us for eight to nine months, and that’s enough time to learn these skills well. The person who gets the experience of being Au Sable’s EEIP Program Assistant will leave this position with very distinctive experiences and credentials that will create further, more advanced opportunities for them in science and education.”

The work will start soon. Au Sable extends a warm invitation of application for all individuals who think they can make a contribution to Au Sable’s work and mission in this position, and learn more every day while doing it. Want to apply? Click here to learn more!