Now Accepting Applications for a Lead Naturalist at Discovery Southeast

 Discovery Southeast is accepting applications for a Lead Naturalist. The main responsibility is teaching our elementary nature and science programs. The position can also encompass enrichment programs for elementary and middle schoolers, developing curricula, managing programs, and writing grants. 

The backgrounds we value most include classroom teaching, leading groups outdoors, and developing lessons. Candidates should be comfortable managing groups of children, enjoy being outdoors, and be committed to nature education. We hope to find someone who is looking for stable employment for several years. 

The scope of the lead naturalist position will be designed to fit the right candidate. Work can be part time, i.e. 5-15 hours per week, or up to 3/4 time with a candidate who has skills and experience to develop curricula, manage programs, and write grants. Starting hourly salary is $20-$25. 

Organization: Since 1989 Discovery Southeast has provided education and exploration deepening Southeast Alaskans connection with nature. We are a regional non-profit started by outdoor leaders who wanted to ensure that local residents, particularly children, experience the natural connections and local grandeur of Southeast Alaska. Today, with many of those same founders still involved, our core programs teach virtually every Juneau child to learn and explore through nature. We strive to reach all Juneau children, with an emphasis to include those who might not otherwise be introduced to the outdoors at a young age. 

Duties: The main duty is work as a Lead Naturalist, teaching nature education to elementary school classes, predominantly outdoors. Additional hours can include running enrichment programs, developing new programs, developing educational materials, and contributing to organizational management (community outreach, fundraising, etc). This position can accommodate summers off, and/or months off during the school year for those who enjoy traveling. Summer work as a day-camp counselor is also available for candidates seeking year-round employment. 

Using curriculum developed from Discovery Southeast’s 28 year history of providing nature education, and in coordination with classroom teachers, Naturalists plan and teach lessons designed to awaken children to a comfort and connection with nature, and a better understanding of the natural world. Programs occur partly in classrooms and mostly outdoors. Besides engaging children’s curiosity and senses, lead naturalists are responsible for classroom management and keeping a classroom of students safe. Our enrichment programs include more adventure and recreation than our school-based programming. For those, the naturalist will be responsible for a group of children outside of school hours, engaging them in the natural world. Groups include primary age students (ages 6-9), intermediate (ages 10-12) and middle school (ages 12-15). Besides knowledge of the outdoors and a focus on safety, instructors need to bring enthusiasm for outdoor and recreational activities, and energy and curiosity to attract youth to the programs. 

To Apply: Interested candidates may submit a cover letter and resume to Shawn Eisele, at Questions are welcome at the same email address. In applications, please specify roughly how many hours a week you would like to work. More information about our programs is at Applications will start to be reviewed late-July. 

Discovery Southeast Job Posting 2018-07-24

First Annual STEM Night a Success!

In conjunction with the Discover Tech engineering exhibit at the Valley Public Library, the Juneau STEM Coalition and JSD teachers hosted a STEM Night for K-5 Families.  The March 28th event was hugely successful: nearly 50 dedicated community members offered hands-on STEM experiences for about 400 kids and families.  Families explored a wide range of activities from designing (popsicle stick) catapults or paper towers to investigating acids and bases to analyzing compost under a microscope to figuring out math puzzles.  Special thanks to the engineers who engaged kids in engineering challenges: Andrew Wells, from AK DOT&PF, and Janice Simmons, from PDC Engineering. The main complaint was that there was not enough time for kids to explore as many activities as they wanted to.  We can’t “fix” that, but maybe the presenters would be willing to stretch a little longer….

STEM education specialists followed up on Thursday and Friday with discussions and demo lessons for district principals and teachers.  Next steps include helping teachers to understand and introduce engineering “habits of mind.” If anyone is interested in helping to organize STEM Night 2019, present an activity then, or get involved in other ways to bring more STEM experiences to more Juneau children, both in and outside of school, please check out the Juneau STEM Coalition website and/or email us at

Did you attend the event? Take a few minutes to fill out our survey!


Finally, a huge thank you to the sponsors whose funding made snacks, “STEM goodie bags,” and the specialists’ visits possible:  AELP, FOSS Scientific, and JEDC, and to Ken Wesson. Interested in learning more about the research Ken Wesson conducts? Here are some articles to get you started!

STEM branches out – Jobs of the future


Student Research Symposium and Fisheries Open House

Join us April 6-7, 2018 for the 22nd Annual Student Research Symposium and Fisheries Open House located at 17101 Point Lena Loop Road, Juneau!


The Student Research Symposium will be held on Friday, April 6th, from 9 am to 5 pm. The symposium will feature a series of talks by graduate students that highlight the breadth of UA research on freshwater and marine ecosystems and its contributions to sustainable fisheries in Alaska. It is sponsored by the Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

The Fisheries Open House will be held on Saturday, April 7th, from 9 am to 1 pm. Learn more about the UA Fisheries programs and join us for a morning of activity-based science exploration for all ages, including touch tanks, science games, microscope discovery, and more.

Visitors are welcome to drop-in at any time for both events, which are free and open to all ages. All events will be help at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (17101 Point Lena Loop Road, Juneau). For more information, including the full symposium schedule, please contact:

Anne Beaudreau ( 796-5454)

STEM Night for K-5 Families: March 28th

Would you share an hour of your time helping kids explore an activity or experiment related to your area of expertise?


How can you make a bulb light with a few wires and a battery?

Which “boat” shape will hold the most weight in water?

How do simple engines work?

What happens when hot and cold water mix?

What does it feel like to hold a snake?

How does a marine mammal react to entanglement?

Why are halibut hooks designed that way?


Are you involved in science, technology, engineering, or hands on math in your field of work? Do you enjoy spending your free time tinkering, building, or exploring?


We’re looking for volunteers to lead or support hands-on activities at a community-wide STEM Night for K-5 Families hosted by the Juneau STEM Coalition and the Juneau Public Libraries in conjunction with the Discover Tech exhibit at the Valley Library (January 10, 2018-April 6, 2018). The event, sponsored by FOSS, will feature an opening and closing address on the neuroscience of learning by Ken Wesson.


     What: Activity leaders for the STEM Night for K-5 Families

     When: Wednesday, March 28, 5-7 pm (Activities will run from 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM)

     Where: Thunder Mountain High School

     How: If you are interested in getting involved as a lead presenter, please complete this form:


If you are interested in supporting the event but would either like to support another activity or need some help coming up with an activity, please contact us at


Thank you and please spread the word. We are hoping to have 40-60 activities at the event!

Becca & Brenda,

Juneau STEM Coalition Co-Chairs



Application Period for BRIGHT Girls Academy Opens March 1

Are you a girl entering 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade next fall? Do you enjoy the outdoors? If you or someone you know fits this description, then Bright Girls is for you!

The BRIGHT Girls Academy is a free two-week, hands-on learning experience where high school- aged girls work in teams to explore harbor seals and their ocean habitat. Expect to explore a glacial fjord by boat, hike out to a glacier, take pictures, use science tools and technology, take measurements in the field and the lab, and explore the outdoors with new friends including women scientists.


When: June 18-29

Where: Lena Point and Auke Bay

Cost: Free! (thanks to the National Science Foundation for the generous support)


Applications are accepted from March 1st -April 1st. Contact Laura Oxtoby ( for more information.


Hope to see you there!