Watershed Center Fellowship

WCO Fellowship Overview

Amid increasing global and local demand for adequate supplies of freshwater, leadership in watershed health is more important than ever. Since 1984, many of our WCO volunteers and interns have gone on to become leaders in watershed health. The WCO Fellowship is designed to provide recent graduates and early career professionals the opportunity to gain experience and grow in five core areas; watershed health, applied science and natural history knowledge, partnership building, problem solving, and communication. Each of these areas is addressed through an informal curriculum and applied on-the-job experiences that allow for exploration of each topic and time for each WCO Fellow to practice and apply these key elements of leadership.

Position Impact Statement

The WCO Fellow supports on-site education programs and assists with a wide variety of land management and monitoring techniques. In addition, the WCO Fellow works closely with our volunteers, supervising their activities and encouraging development of their conservation leadership skills.

Position Summary

The WCO Fellowship is a unique opportunity to enhance both your natural resource background and build a wide array of skills needed to conduct and manage education programs. Working side-by-side with experienced WCO staff, the WCO Fellow will assist with both land management and educational activities at the Watershed Center. The 100 acre Valley Water Mill Park is a microcosm of Ozarks habitats ranging from prairies to wetlands to glades to oak savannas. These habitats serve as a key component of our educational field trips and their management is critical. This diverse outdoor classroom provides opportunities to learn first-hand about native plant communities, identify threats to native landscapes, and gain effective tools and strategies to efficiently manage a number of diverse ecosystems. As seasons change, management focuses on different activities including invasive species control, prescribed burning, monitoring, native planting, and more. Fellows will have the opportunity to interact with a diverse range of conservation professionals who play active roles in guiding and executing our mission.

In addition to honing  management skills, Fellows will gain firsthand educational experience in program planning, delivery, and communications. WCO Fellows lead guided hikes through Valley Water Mill Park, give tours of underground Jordan Creek, as well as tours of the Watershed Center – a LEED-certified green building and display of Best Management Practices. Fellows will also run educational stations for the numerous school groups that visit the Watershed Center. Topics covered include point and non-point source pollution, aquatic life, macroinvertebrates as indicator species, invasive species, as well as many others.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Education/Outreach

  • Lead interpretive tours of Valley Water Mill Park for groups ranging from elementary students to adults.
  • Lead interpretive underground tours of Jordan Creek for groups ranging from middle school students to adults.
  • Assist in developing and leading educational field trip activities to the Watershed Center for elementary, middle school, and high school students.
  • Manage volunteers for tours, special events, and programs as needed.
  • Help plan, staff, and organize public events that promote our mission to protect the area’s water resources.
  • Write monthly blog posts for the WCO’s website and assist with social media content creation.

Land Management

  • Assist with watershed management activities at Valley Water Mill Park. This includes, but is not limited to; prescribed fire, herbaceous and woody invasive species treatment, timber stand improvement, prairie planting and establishment, brush management, trail maintenance, etc.
  • Assist Watershed Conservation Corp with restoration activities as needed.
  • Attend a wide variety of professional development trainings and/or certifications focusing on the aforementioned core areas.
  • Document management activities in summary reports, grant tracking documents, GPS tracking, etc.
  • Maintain WCO equipment. This includes routine maintenance, equipment repair, etc.
  • Other tasks as assigned

The WCO Fellowship is funded by our generous donors. The internship will vary in length year to year dependent upon funding.