Part-time work for outdoorsy science-minded retired teacher?
January 21, 2014 3:27 PM   Subscribe

My mom is 65. She's been teaching math & science at a high school for years. She's getting ready to retire, and would like to work (not just volunteer) part-time for a few years. Tutoring is an obvious choice. But she'd rather explore something else. What other part-time gigs might be a good fit? Of note: she is a total badass. Super sharp. Athletic. Loves to travel. Has been known to take off on long bike adventures/kayak trips/etc. Seeking something delightful to feed her mind/body.

Here are some of her interests:

1. All things outdoors. She loves nature + working with her hands. This is a person who had her own chainsaw when we were growing up. Loves to garden. Created/keeps a greenhouse at the school where she teaches. What kind of part-time farm/conservation type work doesn't require heavy manual labor? What is there beyond summer opportunities for college kids to do trail maintenance? Something that also involves science research could also be an option.

2. Something involving teaching…but way cooler than tutoring/more public school teaching! Special crazy gifted school advisor? Kayaking instructor? Bike-tour-giver? Wilderness guide of sorts?

3. Working with kids. Maybe littler ones again (elementary school?). She's got an enormous heart and a knack for connecting. But years of working with kids at a very rough school is starting to take a toll on her spirit. Needs to be a delightful energy-giving deal, not a draining one.

4. Other interests: biology, dancing, all things literary, humor

Ideally, this job could help her find a community of like-minded souls. She's somewhat isolated in a Westchester County suburb outside of NYC at the moment. Friends her own age can't keep up; friends who are younger are busy with work and families and the rest.

Many thanks!
posted by red_rabbit to Science & Nature (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
She could teach as an adjunct in a college.
posted by Obscure Reference at 3:40 PM on January 21, 2014

Best answer: How about starting a business leading adventure tours for older women? She sounds inspiring!
posted by Wordwoman at 3:52 PM on January 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm with Wordwoman. Sounds like a great tour guide, for anyone!
posted by Sublimity at 3:59 PM on January 21, 2014

What about outdoor ed? Is that a Thing where she is? There are a bunch of people in my city who do interpretive stuff for our various nature centers around town and for the kid's science museum. Some of it is pushed into actual school classrooms (I had a friend who traveled around the state bringing various exotic(ish) animals to elementary school assemblies etc.), some of it is at the museum itself and some stuff is outside, interpretive and on the trails.
posted by charmedimsure at 4:07 PM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Scouting. Particularly Camp Fire (which is coed).
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:23 PM on January 21, 2014

Best answer: Maybe find out if there is anything at Teatown Lake. It is in Ossining off of 134. They have all sorts of nature classes for kids. Also is a neat place to visit and hike. In New Castle there is the Wagon Road Camp which is run by the Children's Aid Society. Not sure if they have anything besides in the summer. I also know people that teach outdoor classes part time at BOCES (Northern Westchester/Putnam) in Somers. They have an outdoor ed center too called Madden Not sure if it is what she is looking for, but Caramoor has job opportunities. It is in Katonah and is mostly music and arts. Right near Caramoor is the Ward Reservation in Pound Ridge. It has amazing trails and outdoor activities. I think they teach classes there too. I know also the Edith Macy Conference Center which is alot about nature. Maybe there is something there that would interest your mom. It is owned by the Girl Scouts of America.

These are all in Northern Westchester (above 287). Is she in northern or southern Westchester?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:40 PM on January 21, 2014

Teaching at (or running) an outdoor preschool. A friend started one through our city's parks and rec. My daughter went for a few years and loved it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:41 PM on January 21, 2014

Our community has a nature center where people volunteer to take school groups through the center and help the kids do science experiments, collect nature items, explain erosion, stuff like that. Maybe something along those lines?

They also do science camps in the summer.
posted by tamitang at 7:41 PM on January 21, 2014

She might enjoy teaching as part of the Master Gardener program, although in NY I think that's mostly a volunteer commitment.

Foraging tours (for wild food) are a Thing these days--maybe she could lead one in her area?

Horticulture-focused weeklong or 2-week day camps for elementary-aged kids during school breaks? She could do something that mixed some gardening, some science, and maybe some cooking.

Could she do consulting or training on how to incorporate gardening/horticulture into school curricula? I feel like a lot of schools, especially some of the small, wealthy private schools, are really getting into this and might be willing to spring for someone to show them how to do it.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 9:34 PM on January 21, 2014

What about doing something with an extention service:

They teach things to local people, but there's still a lot of outdoorsy things too like gardening.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 7:44 AM on January 22, 2014

Response by poster: Many thanks, these are fantastic ideas!

JohnnyGunn - yes, Northern Westchester. She lives in Golden's Bridge.
posted by red_rabbit at 1:31 PM on January 22, 2014

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