Naturalist/historian Senior Interpreter

Alexandria, Virginia
$51,873.74 - $86,455.41 Annually
Jan 28, 2023
Feb 11, 2023
Full Time
Job Announcement

Join the Park Authority and our nationally recognized team of professionals! Green Spring Gardens, a public garden within the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA), is seeking a Senior Interpreter/Program Manager to be a part of one of the most highly regarded park systems in the country. With more than 25,000 acres of parkland, nine RECenters, eight golf courses, three lakefront parks, and more, FCPA is an exciting organization to be a part of and there are many opportunities for staff to make a difference at every level.

Green Spring Gardens is a place of inspiration for the home gardener. It’s an outdoor classroom, a museum, and a national historic site. The staff is dedicated to connecting the community to natural and cultural resources through horticulture, education, and stewardship. The site has a thematic demonstration garden, wooden stream valley with ponds, a naturalist native plant garden, a greenhouse, a plant shop, a gift shop, and a historic house. The gardens and educational programs focus on social history, environmental science, horticulture, and practical gardening techniques appropriate to the Washington metro area.

The Park Authority is seeking an experienced professional to supervise and manage all aspects of interpretive programming for Green Spring Gardens. Researches, writes, and evaluates the annual site horticulture, environmental science, and history programming plan. Coaches subordinate staff in program development and delivery and evaluates programs and activities. Works within budget for site programming, purchases program materials, and reconciles expenditures. Responsible for program registration system, including entering/monitoring all programs into registration database system. Designs, creates, conducts, evaluates, and markets horticulture, natural science, and cultural history programs. Plans and produces interpretive learning aids. Responsible for preparing administrative reports and plans, regular budget exercises, record keeping and office management tasks.

Hires, supervises, evaluates, and schedules staff and volunteers for multiple departments. Manages volunteer hours and recruitment through volunteer database. Plans volunteer appreciation events and activities. Plans and creates horticultural, natural, and cultural exhibits and displays. Researches, writes, or reviews brochures, technical publications, audio visual productions and trail interpretation. Requires regular weekend work, and occasional evening and holiday work.

Learn more about this position by attending a virtual realistic job preview presentation on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 12:30 pm and Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 4:00 pm.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 12:30 pm
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Password: !#wq45vfvF
Or Telephone:
USA 602 333 0032
USA 8882709936 (US Toll Free)
Conference code: 771966
Find local AT&T Numbers:

Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 4:00 pm
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Password: !#wq45vfvF
Or Telephone:
USA 602 333 0032
USA 8882709936 (US Toll Free)
Conference code: 771966
Find local AT&T Numbers:

Illustrative Duties

(The illustrative duties listed in this specification are representative of the class but are not an all-inclusive list. A complete list of position duties and unique physical requirements can be found in the position job description.)
  • Supervises and coordinates site interpretive programming to include planning, development, and evaluation of educational, informational and recreation programs, tours, exhibits, and other media;
  • Plans and develops interpretive calendar;
  • Monitors trends in interpretation and gauges demand for interpretive services;
  • Hires, trains, evaluates, and counsels interpretive programming staff;
  • Reviews interpretive materials prepared by staff and monitors the quality of interpretive programs;
  • Directs staff in site program development;
  • Coordinates administrative aspects of programming including scheduling, registration, revenue collection, purchasing, promotion and record keeping;
  • Develops budget requirements for site interpretive program and monitors expenses and revenues to maintain budget constraints;
  • Maintains fiscal records necessary to the operation and evaluation of interpretive program;
  • Develops or assists in the development of interpretive programs and media including exhibits, literature, and audio-visual programs;
  • Designs, presents, and evaluates interpretive programs covering a wide range of topics on natural and cultural history for a diverse group of audiences;
  • Reviews and/or prepares interpretive materials including brochures, interpretive flyers, promotional materials, technical publications, audiovisual productions, trail interpretation and educational materials;
  • Conducts research in support of programming, interpretation, and training;
  • Responds to public inquiries regarding programs and operations;
  • Represents site in division programming committee;
  • Assists site management in long-range planning.

Required Knowledge Skills and Abilities

(The knowledge, skills and abilities listed in this specification are representative of the class but are not an all-inclusive list.)
  • Knowledge of effective instructional methods and techniques;
  • Knowledge of equipment and materials needed to conduct interpretive and environmental/historical education programs;
  • Ability to provide expert knowledge in the development of a wide range of interpretive programs and activities;
  • Ability to provide technical resource and program leadership to interpretive staff;
  • Ability to develop and present creative, environmental/historical education and interpretive programs in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings for all age levels;
  • Ability to supervise professional and volunteer staff members;
  • Ability to review and analyze expenditures and revenues in determining appropriate budget;
  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing;
  • Ability to interpret technical natural and cultural history materials to lay persons;
  • Ability to deal effectively with the public.
For Nature Centers:
  • Knowledge of the natural and biological sciences, including the theory, principles and practices of interpretation, conservation, and environmental education;
  • Knowledge of current sources of information on field identification and interpretive techniques;
  • Knowledge of natural resource management;
  • Knowledge of native flora, fauna, geology, and ecology of the local area;
  • Knowledge of local environmental issues and conservation practices.

Employment Standards

Any combination of education, experience, and training equivalent to the following: (Click on the aforementioned link to learn how Fairfax County interprets equivalencies for “Any combination, experience, and training equivalent to”)
Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a bachelor’s degree in natural or life sciences, history, education, park management, or a related field; PLUS, One year of responsible experience in interpretation/programming, environmental or historical education, or a closely related field.
  • At least two years of experience developing and leading interpretive programs in a natural setting for a variety of audiences.
  • At least one year of experience developing and leading interpretive programs in a historic setting for a variety of audiences.
  • At least one year of supervisory/leadership experience.
  • At least two years’ experience in horticulture or gardening working or volunteering at a garden center, public garden, or landscaping company.
  • Knowledge of natural and biological sciences, including the theory, principles, and practices of interpretation, conservation, and environmental education.
  • Experience in Rec Dynamics or similar electronic database system for programming functions;
  • Experience working with a large and diverse public; and developing marketing/advertising items using a variety of media.
  • Possess a current National Association for Interpretation (NAI) professional certification.

Driver's license (required)

The appointee to this position will be required to complete a criminal background check, child protective services registry check, and driving record check to the satisfaction of the employer .
All newly hired employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (two weeks after the last required dose) as a condition of employment or obtain approval of a medical or religious exemption prior to their start date. Proof of an exemption or vaccination status will be required during the pre-employment onboarding process. New employees who obtain an exemption from the vaccine mandate for medical or sincerely held religious beliefs may be subject to a weekly testing requirement. Vaccinated employees and employees with a medical or religious exemption will complete the attestation online on their first day of employment or shortly thereafter.


  • Must be capable of standing or sitting for long periods to conduct education programs or to perform office tasks and must be capable of working outdoors in hot or cold weather.
  • Must be able to traverse uneven ground.
  • Visual acuity is required to read data on computer monitor, incumbent must be able to operate keyboard driven equipment.
  • Must communicate with others.
  • Employee may require to lift up to 25 lbs.
  • All duties performed with or without reasonable accommodations.
Panel interview and may include exercise.

The population of Fairfax County is very diverse where 39.8% of residents speak a language other than English at home ( Spanish, Asian/Pacific Islander, Indo-European, and others ) and we encourage candidates bilingual in English and a foreign language to apply to this opportunity.

Fairfax County Government prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetics, political affiliation, or status as a veteran in the recruitment, selection, and hiring of its workforce.
Reasonable accommodations are available to persons with disabilities during application and/or interview processes per the Americans with Disabilities Act. Contact 703-324-4900 for assistance. TTY 703-222-7314. . EEO/AA/TTY.

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