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Sierra Outdoor School’s Naturalist Internship Program

In addition to providing great learning opportunities for elementary and junior high students at Sierra Outdoor School, the program also plays an important role in training future naturalists. Every year SOS hires seven naturalist interns who teach day time classes, staff all night classes and learn and grow as students and teachers of the natural world.

The naturalist interns come to SOS with a variety of backgrounds in the sciences including biology, environmental studies, forestry, and geology. All interns have their Bachelor’s degree and many arrive with extensive teaching experience including formal student teaching, teaching certificates and experience in classrooms abroad.

While at Sierra Outdoor School, the interns learn to teach the daytime classes through the guidance of the permanent naturalists, many of whom have more than 15 years of teaching experience. Through observing and team-teaching classes before they are checked off to teach them alone, the interns are able to receive valuable feedback from the naturalists on their teaching content and management. This collaboration also allows for curriculum improvements and helps to keep the classes at SOS current and interesting.

Throughout the school year, interns have great opportunities to advance their knowledge of the natural world through field trips to museums and parks, and trainings which range from creating a professional resume to classroom management to snow ecology. Interns also have the opportunity to visit two other outdoor school programs in order to observe classes by different instructors in a different setting.

Since the internship program started in 2006, a total of 65 have completed a school year as a naturalist at SOS. Some of these interns have gone on to careers as classroom teachers, staff naturalists at other outdoor schools and many other hold environmentally-minded positions including LEED building certification and other non-profit work in the environmental sector.

The internship program at SOS makes a great impact on the lives of its interns and spread a message of conservation and natural science appreciation to a much larger audience.

Meet this year’s interns!

Interested in an internship at SOS? Applications for next year are currently being accepted! Find more information here:


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