How can I find seasonal work outdoors?
March 24, 2011 9:42 AM   Subscribe

I need help finding a seasonal outdoors job.

I love the outdoors and I also need a job. I'm a 26 year old healthy male in California and need to find a way to make a living this Spring. I like the idea of WWOOFing but at the moment I'd prefer to work for pay rather than volunteer. I am ecology/science-minded and enjoy working with kids and animals. I'll have my car and prefer to stay in the USA. Any suggestions or pointers? I'm open to anything, really. Thanks in advance!
posted by foraneagle2 to Work & Money (19 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: AmeriCorps (Tons of conservation corps and other environmental and science programs)

Student Conservation Association (Paid research internships, mainly in national parks. Most of them count as AmeriCorps positions now)

EnviroJobs (Yahoo group devoted to these sorts of jobs. Not as active as it used to be, but still good)

EcoLog (The listserve of the Ecological Society of America, the professional organization of academic ecologists--especially good for finding short term jobs as field assistants)
posted by hydropsyche at 9:50 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Take a look on USAJOBS for work with any number of federal agencies in your area (NPS, BLM, etc.).
posted by bennett being thrown at 9:51 AM on March 24, 2011

check The forest service/NPS/BLM have tons of seasonal biology tech positions- they don't pay much, but you often get to work in beautiful places and often include housing and such. Most of the jobs are 10 hours a day, 4 days a week, so you get long weekends to do your own trips.
posted by rockindata at 9:52 AM on March 24, 2011

Best answer: Raftguiding?

Doesn't pay well, but if you're open to living out of a tent/truck/shared bunkhouse, you'll make enough to get by, and maybe save some.

Once you decide where you want to guide (I've guided in PA - there's commercial rafting all up and down the east coast, and in the western mountains) you show up and they train you. Tons of fun, and you'll probably learn to kayak as well =)

If you want more info, I can point you to some resources.
posted by Metasyntactic at 9:53 AM on March 24, 2011

Star Island -- the application process is over, but if you applied now (like this week) and had good creds/experience you might be able to make a last minute impression. It'll be the best job of your life.
posted by Glendale at 9:54 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Garden centers & landscape companies are just about to hit their busiest season. It's not glamorous & the pay stinks, but there's a fast turnaround between application and hiring, and you could do it as a filler while you work on more serious prospects.
posted by Ys at 10:00 AM on March 24, 2011

"Summer" camps often need a few seasonal workers in the spring to do pre-summer maintenance, especially if they have year-round office/school/etc. groups using the site. I did that one spring, and got to interact with kids coming to do our teams course as a course guide or whatever they called it. Most camps are staffed by high school and college students on summer vacation; it's harder to find seasonal spring workers. Can't hurt to call around -- though lots of these other ideas are WAY awesomer!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:18 AM on March 24, 2011

Start your own business as a dog walker and/or dog poop picker-upper. Or advertise your services as a spring cleaner of yards and garages, or as someone to help put in gardens.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:01 AM on March 24, 2011

Best answer: This site landed me a summer job in a national park in Southeast Alaska ages ago- pay wasn't great, but was enough to get me out of the house for the summer and pay my airfare from Anchorage to Gustavus/Glacier Bay. Some of the jobs are actually outdoors, and some of them are insideish (I was a bus driver, other folks worked on a boat, other people worked in accounting at the hotel in the park) but with great access to the outdoors in your off hours. Aramark hires for lots of jobs in the parks in Alaska if that sounds interesting to you.
posted by charmedimsure at 11:11 AM on March 24, 2011

Is starting in May too late? If not, Mackinac Island.
posted by oceano at 11:32 AM on March 24, 2011

Response by poster: This is super helpful. You guys rock.
posted by foraneagle2 at 11:40 AM on March 24, 2011

Nature's Classroom - fantastic environmental education job in the Northeastern US, you can work one season or as many as you want, summers off. MeMail me if interested in more info or contacts. I worked there for a few years in my 20s and it really changed my life in a good way.
posted by Miko at 12:37 PM on March 24, 2011

Do you have a degree?
posted by fshgrl at 12:42 PM on March 24, 2011

Depending on your degree (or a well padded resume) the US Forest Service hires seasonal techs all the time. Same with the the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). USAJOBS, as mentioned above is a good start. I can't say for certain how one gets involved in firefighting with those agencies but there's always a need for that and that starts at ground level (so to speak) and I'm pretty sure no degree is needed, unlike many professional positions (like biologists or archaeologists, with which I'm most familiar).

Seasonal jobs with federal agencies are more common in western states like Nevada, Utah, Arizona, California etc that have a relatively higher proportion of federally managed lands.
posted by elendil71 at 1:41 PM on March 24, 2011

Response by poster: | Do you have a degree?

I have a bachelor's degree in business, but my skills are mostly web/tech related..
posted by foraneagle2 at 2:09 PM on March 24, 2011

Best answer: 2nding National Park Service. Also look at state and local governments for local parks and nature centers, and outdoor recreation programs and the like. Also try agriculture, conservation, universities, and zoos.

EcoEmploy - List of employers/nonprofits/govts listed by state.

The Nature Conservancy

job board at Texas A&M

Another job board
posted by everyday_naturalist at 2:25 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could try The Mountain Institute in the beautiful hills of West Virginia. I'm not sure if they're still hiring for the spring, but I worked there for a few seasons and it's a great place to be.
posted by ajarbaday at 8:09 PM on March 24, 2011

You are pretty unlikely to get a biological tech position cold without a biology degree, purely because you're going to be competing with people with Masters in Ecology. You generally need to know someone to get one of those without good qualifications, it's competitive.
posted by fshgrl at 10:02 PM on March 24, 2011

Best answer: Posting to SHOUT my support for Alaska!! I worked there last summer through Camp Fire's Rural Program, which involved flying to different native villages and running children's day programs (memail me for details), but really, any job in Alaska. It's mind-blowing.
posted by la_rousse at 12:24 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

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