Education Coordinators within state forestry agencies have all the fun!Jeri’ Irby was Education Coordinator for Oklahoma Forestry Services and directing its 61st annual Youth Forestry Camp when she was interviewed for the SGSF "People of Forestry" video. While she thoroughly enjoys camp, she is also passionate about teaching kids about forestry throughout the year.
"I get to work with foresters, wildland firefighters, teachers and kids," said Jeri'. I’m so excited to get young people interested in natural resources, and I feel like I’m recruiting the next generation of foresters."
So, what do education coordinators do when they’re not running Youth Camp? Here are some basics, which may vary from state to state:
How do you become an education coordinator? This position is not nationally standardized, so there are variations in what state agencies desire, but it is usually some combination of the following. Forestry agencies typically look for at least a bachelor’s degree in forestry, natural resources or education. Many agencies require teaching experience, whether traditional or nontraditional and the ability to write and present age-appropriate curriculum and programs. If an agency runs a camp, then camp experience will be a plus. All forestry agencies are looking for enthusiastic individuals who have a genuine love for the outdoors and teaching.
Education coordinators will tell you it’s those moments when kids “get it” that make their jobs so rewarding. They also like the freedom to design programing to meet the needs they encounter and spending a lot of time outdoors, showing kids rather than telling them. While preparing and presenting educational programs is demanding, education coordinators insist that they really do have all the fun.
Note: Jeri' Irby was promoted to Area Forester, overseeing Oklahoma Forestry Service’s Forest Regeneration and Forest Tree Improvement Centers. Mo Rice is the current Education Coordinator.