Job Opportunity: Resident Instructor – Yellowstone Association

Yellowstone Association LogoResident Instructor
Position: Resident Instructor
Location: Gardiner, Montana
Reports To: Program Manager
Season: Full-Time/Year-Round

Summary Description:
The Yellowstone Association (YA), in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), connects people to Yellowstone National Park and our natural world through education. Founded in 1933, the Yellowstone Association is a nonprofit educational organization and has provided over $65 million in aid to Yellowstone National Park since its inception. The Association is the National Park Service’s primary partner in providing educational programs, exhibits, and publications for park visitors. Our operations include 12 educational Park Stores with gross sales of $4.2 million, the YA Institute which offers more than 600 in-depth courses each year, and a membership program with over 35,000 members. Revenues from sales and memberships allow us to make an annual cash donation to the National Park Service for education and research in Yellowstone. Last year, we provided $6.1 million of cash and in-kind assistance for Yellowstone, including a cash donation of $1,445,562 to directly support education and research in the park. Ninety cents of every dollar we spend goes directly to our educational mission. YA is headquartered in Gardiner, Montana, directly across from the historic Roosevelt Arch, which marks the north entrance to Yellowstone. To learn more about our organization, please visit

The Yellowstone Association (YA) is currently in the process of merging with the park’s nonprofit fundraising partner, the Yellowstone Park Foundation (YPF),  to create a new nonprofit organization by February of 2017. This will be an exciting new chapter in both organizations’ successful histories. Together, YA and YPF ( can connect more people to Yellowstone National Park through outstanding visitor experiences and educational programs, and translate those experiences into lifelong support and philanthropic investment. This position is a tremendous opportunity for a strong leader to play a critical role in support of Yellowstone National Park.

Resident Instructors are part of a progressive and dedicated educational staff committed to teaching about Yellowstone National Park. Instructors are educators and naturalists responsible for providing in-depth education about Yellowstone’s natural, geologic, and cultural history. Programs range in length from one day to over a week. Participant groups range from 1 to 14 people. There are four main types of programs: Lodging and Learning (pre-programmed, multi-day programs with refined curriculum), Youth & College Groups (multi-day programs focused on curriculum-based field experiences), Private Tours (single or multi-day programs for private groups who request specific activities), and occasional Field Seminars (in-depth, topic specific seminars). Resident Instructors are experienced outdoor leaders, able to create a welcoming and comfortable learning environment while keeping their participants safe in inclement weather, wildlife habitat, and backcountry terrain. Resident Instructors play a lead role in the YA Institute, helping to train and mentor seasonal instructors, assist with operational and administrative duties, and envision the future of Institute programs.  They work closely with program managers to understand logistics, cooperate with co-instructors, develop a lesson plan, operate a group transportation vehicle, clean vehicle and equipment afterward, and perform primary wilderness risk management functions in remote locations. Success in this position requires commitment to high quality environmental education and a passion for the preservation of natural and cultural resources in Yellowstone National Park. It requires excellent communication skills and the ability to work under sometimes challenging conditions.  This is a year round position with a workload that shifts between the field and support tasks, depending on program volume and organizational needs

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Prepare and teach varied programs to a variety of personalities, fitness levels, and learning styles
  • Propose and help develop new courses
  • Assist with program material and equipment management
  • Represent and promote Yellowstone Association on press trips, member events, other events, and in the field
  • Assist with seasonal instructor training and mentoring
  • Play a key role in the Institute’s risk management including performing wilderness risk management duties during programs, remaining up-to-date in Wilderness First Responder and CPR certifications, and assisting in risk management and emergency response trainings
  • Emphasize the protection of park resources, Leave No Trace practices, and adherence to YA’s Code of Ethics
  • Travel into Yellowstone, throughout the Greater Yellowstone area and other, as required
  • Drive YA vehicle, including bus, during course instruction
  • Pass and maintain successful YA driver training
  • Maintain fitness level that is consistent with activity demands of YA Institute programs
  • Promote the Yellowstone Association membership and sales programs
  • Represent the YA and its mission accurately and positively
  • Foster a collaborative and respectful team-oriented environment
  • Other tasks as assigned by Program Manager, or other designated leadership

Basic Qualifications:  

  • 2-3 years of professional experience in teaching, environmental education, or interpretation
  • A four-year college degree in a related field from an accredited institution
  • Strong commitment to the educational mission of the Yellowstone Association
  • Experience teaching inquiry-based, student-centered programs and/or classes
  • Current CPR and Wilderness First Responder certifications, or willingness to attain and maintain these certifications
  • This position involves driving YA vehicles, therefore applicants must be 21 years of age or older, maintain a valid US driver’s license, and maintain a favorable driving record for insurance purposes
  • The ability to pass and maintain a Department of Transportation medical exam and YA driver training
  • A satisfactory criminal background check are conditions of employment.
  • Willingness to work a flexible schedule, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.
  • Must be able to stand for extended periods of time, hike up to twelve miles on uneven terrain, cross-country ski, snowshoe, and work outdoors in all climate conditions common to the region while carrying a pack weighing up to 40 pounds.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Masters Degree in relevant field of study
  • Working knowledge of Yellowstone National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
  • Direct experience creating and teaching curriculum for K-12 students
  • Demonstrated outdoor leadership skills
  • Teaching certification, Leave No Trace (LNT), Certified Interpretive Guide and/or other related certifications
  • Proven teamwork and communication skills

This is a full-time, year-round position, with typically 2 shoulder periods combining to 6 weeks.  Accrued, paid vacation must be taken during the shoulder periods.  Starting salary for this position is $24,000, DOE, (which includes a deduction for unpaid shoulder periods) plus tips or bonus pay (dependent on program), This position qualifies for the Yellowstone Association’s benefit package, which includes accrued vacation and sick/personal leave, ten paid holidays, retirement program, medical, dental, vision, life and AD&D insurance, and optional employee-funded Flexible Savings Account. Yellowstone Association employees receive a 30% discount on most Association products and a free Yellowstone Association Institute Field Seminar each year.  Discounts on other courses and products are also offered.  Benefits of this position include knowing that your efforts directly benefit Yellowstone National Park and having the opportunity to live and work in one of the world’s premiere wilderness areas.

To Apply:
Apply on-line for this position at  Interviews will begin as qualified applications are received.

The Yellowstone Association is an equal opportunity employer. It is our policy to comply with all applicable state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, age, color, sex, religion, national origin, or other protected classification. 


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