If hard, rewarding work is calling you …

Join our team to help protect and preserve Virginia’s most vital resource. Our staff works hard to nurture the James, enjoy the James, and restore the river we love.

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountains and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

Staff picking up tires

Founded in 1976, the James River Association is the oldest and largest river conservation group in Virginia, and the only organization solely dedicated to protecting and restoring America’s Founding River, the James River. JRA’s mission is to be the guardian of the James River – to provide a voice for the river and take action to promote conservation and responsible stewardship of its natural resources. To accomplish our mission, JRA’s two strategic goals include: 1) Achieving a fully healthy James River; and 2) Helping communities within the watershed realize the benefits from a healthy James River and support protecting it.

Environmental Education

The James River Association (JRA) is seeking an Environmental Educator to be based in its headquarters office in Richmond, Virginia.

 JRA Education Program:

JRA’s Richmond education team consists of 4 full-time and 3 ten-month seasonal staff responsible for program coordination and on-the-ground implementation of JRA’s education programs.  JRA’s education programs shape the next generation of stewards of the James River through meaningful river-based learning experiences that inspire 

confidence, ecological understanding, nature appreciation, and conservation action.  These programs annually serve over 4,000 youth in K – 12th grade classrooms and extra-curriculum youth groups with day-long and multi-day educational experiences through:

  • The James River Ecology School on Presquile National Wildlife Refuge: A partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and JRA in which JRA hosts both multi-day residential and one-day environmental education programs at the island education center on Presquile National Wildlife Refuge.
  • The James River Leadership Expedition: A 10-month program that focuses on high school students learning about the James River and developing leadership skills that will help them develop and implement a personal capstone project.
  • General Education:  Youth programs and activities at JRA events, classroom presentations, and other specialized service projects.
  • Paddle programs at Deep Bottom Park: Day trips where students paddle into tidal wetlands and conduct water quality tests.

Summary of Job Responsibilities and Requirements:

JRA is seeking an experienced educator, excellent communicator, and enthusiastic leader to manage JRA’s new and existing education programs.  The Lead Educator position will ensure success and high standards of excellence for all JRA environmental education programming through the oversight and managerial support of JRA education programs and staff. The Lead Educator will report to JRA’s Senior Education Manager.


  1. Working with JRA staff and partners to develop and sustain new and existing education initiatives to further JRA’s mission and vision for a healthy James River.
  2. Facilitating a supportive, positive, team environment that prioritizes an inclusive community needs-based approach to program development, planning, and analysis.
  3. Mentoring and supporting education staff in program development, coordination, and implementation.
  4. Assisting with small grant proposals and quarterly reporting to secure necessary financial support for education program implementation.
  5. Coordinating education programs with teachers and JRA education program staff, boat captains and crew.
  6. Leading 65% -70% of field-based educational programming including weekend, overnight, and extended field programs that can last up to 8-days in length.
  7. Maintaining strong communication with partners including boat captains and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff.
  8. Building and sustaining strong relationships with school administrative staff, teachers, youth groups and organizational partners to strengthen programming outcomes and ensure high retention of participation in JRA education programs.
  9. Leading outreach to schools and youth groups to recruit teacher and student participation in JRA education programs.
  10. Engaging with national, state, and regional environmental education networks to strengthen overall impact, effectiveness, and support for environmental education efforts in the James River watershed.

Professional Qualifications:

  1. Must have a deep commitment to environmental and conservation issues, especially as related to the James River.
  2. Must have at least 2 years of experience in the field of environmental, outdoor, and/or experiential education, and a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in environmental science, science education, or a related field.  Strong working knowledge of best practices in providing environmental education experience for secondary school-aged youth is required.
  3. Must have thorough knowledge of watershed systems and water quality issues. Knowledge specific to the James River is highly preferred.
  4. Must have experience in education programs and overnight programs.
  5. Must have strong written and oral communication skills and be able to effectively convey JRA’s mission and vision with diverse audiences of youth, educators, donors, partners, and the general public.
  6. Must have the ability to build and sustain strong relationships with program partners and volunteers.
  7. Experience in  managing multiple projects concurrently, is highly recommended.
  8. Must be able to take initiative and work independently in a deadline-driven environment, with attention to detail.
  9. Must be willing to travel throughout the James River watershed to implement projects as well as have flexibility to work nights and weekends as programming requires.
  10. Should have experience leading camping and canoeing trips with children and/or adults.
  11. Should have experience with lesson plans that are in accordance with Virginia Standards of Learning.


JRA offers a dynamic and flexible work environment and a competitive benefits package, including 20 days of paid time off in Year 1, health, vision, life and dental insurance, and a matching program for tax-deferred retirement accounts. Salary will be commensurate with experience with a range of $40,000.  JRA is an equal-opportunity employer.

To apply for this position, please submit your resume and cover letter with salary history by email to mscott@thejamesriver.org or by mail to:

Matt Scott
James River Association
16 South 17th Street, Suite 100
Richmond, VA 23219

The position will remain open until filled, but priority will be given to resumes received by December 9th 2022.