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Under direction, plans, organizes, coordinates, and conducts interpretive programs; promotes the proper utilization, protection, and appreciation of the natural resources found in District parks and open space areas. Performs tasks related to the District’s environmental, historical, and cultural resource planning and management; and performs related work as required.

Supervision Received And Exercised

Receives general supervision from higher-level supervisory staff. Exercises direction over lower-level staff.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The Naturalist is responsible for planning, organizing, coordinating, and conducting interpretive programs. Incumbents regularly work on tasks that are varied and complex, requiring considerable discretion and independent judgment to ensure the efficient and effective functioning of the assigned area. Assignments are given with general guidelines and incumbents are responsible for establishing objectives, timelines, and methods to deliver services. This classification is distinguished from the Chief Ranger in that the latter has overall administrative and operational responsibility for open space programs and services.

Essential Duties And Responsibilities

Management reserves the right to add, modify, change, or rescind the work assignments of different positions and to make reasonable accommodations so that qualified employees can perform the essential functions of the job.

  • Plans, develops, schedules, and implements a variety of natural, cultural, and historical interpretive programs for open space areas: leads educational tours, nature walks, and conducts on-site or off-site environmental education and special interest programs.
  • Prepares interpretive materials, including newsletter articles, displays and exhibits, teacher education guides, park flyers, and brochures to depict natural history and cultural resources of the parks and region.
  • Serves as District representative with external organizations; attends and/or speaks at meetings, community and professional functions, and conferences as assigned.
  • Coordinates projects and programs involved in the management, enhancement, and protection of the District’s natural and cultural resources by assessing their status through field observation and research.
  • Conducts research and gathers scientific information regarding site conditions; surveys field sites for flora, fauna, and other wildlife; assists in the analysis of environmental impacts of projects and recreational use on District land; assists in the development and implementation of resource management restoration plans for specific areas, trails, and preserves.
  • Monitors rangeland, forest, and other habitat health conditions, including conducting wildlife surveys, and develops plans for vegetation management projects.
  • Receives and responds to questions and concerns from patrons; identifies issues and resolves problems or refers to supervisor as appropriate.
  • Provides first responder emergency assistance for situations, including, but not limited to, injury, illness, fire, and hazardous water conditions.
  • Cares for animals used in interpretive programs, including feeding, cage cleaning, and health monitoring.
  • Performs administrative tasks, such as attending meetings and training, preparing reports, monitoring expenditures, and maintaining records.
  • Assists supervisor with budget development and management.
  • Assists with District special events as needed.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


Education and Experience:

  • High School Diploma or GED, supplemented by two years or 60 units of college level coursework in natural sciences, ecology, biology, wildlife, or a related field; Bachelor’s degree desirable;
  • Two years of relevant experience.
  • Any combination of training, education, and experience that would provide the required knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Knowledge of:

  • Principles and practices of land use management, resource management, biology, geology, ecology, field conservation planning, site planning, wildlife, and vegetation management.
  • Relevant laws, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures.
  • Relevant natural and cultural history.
  • Methods and techniques of resource protection and restoration.
  • Methods and techniques for effective invasive species management.
  • Methods and techniques of research, analysis, and report preparation.
  • Procedures used in conducting and documenting field observations and monitoring programs.
  • Care and maintenance of live specimens.
  • Principles and practices for providing high level of customer service.
  • Principles and practices of recordkeeping.
  • Occupational hazards and standard safety practices.
  • Modern office practices, methods, and computer equipment and applications.

Ability to:

  • Understand, interpret, and apply all relevant laws, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures.
  • Conduct research projects, evaluate alternatives, and make sound recommendations.
  • Assess status of natural resources through field observations.
  • Monitor changes in natural resource conditions and evaluate causes.
  • Identify and survey local common and rare plants and wildlife species inhabiting the District’s lands.
  • Perform field measurements and mathematical calculations with precision and accuracy.
  • Read, interpret, and apply technical information from maps, manuals, drawings, specifications, layouts, blueprints, and schematics.
  • Prepare clear and accurate reports, records, and other written materials.
  • Maintain accurate records and reports.
  • Independently organize work, set priorities, meet deadlines, and follow up on assignments.
  • Speak effectively in public.
  • Demonstrate strong customer service skills and establish, maintain, and foster positive and effective working relationships.
  • Use English effectively to communicate in person, over the telephone, and in writing.

Licenses and Certifications:

  • At time of appointment, and maintained throughout employment possession of:
    • California Driver’s License with a satisfactory driving record,
    • American Red Cross First Aid, CPR, and AED certification.
    • California Class B Driver’s License with passenger endorsement is desirable.

Physical Demands

Must possess: mobility to work in various parks and open space areas; strength, stamina, and mobility to perform medium to heavy physical work, to work around machines, to climb and descend ladders, to operate a variety of tools and equipment, and to operate a motor vehicle; vision to read printed materials and a computer screen and to distinguish colors in wiring; hearing and speech to communicate in person and over the telephone or radio. Frequent walking in operational areas to identify problems or hazards. Finger dexterity needed to access, enter, and retrieve data using a computer keyboard and/or calculator and to operate tools and equipment. Incumbents in this classification bend, stoop, kneel, reach, and inspect work sites. Incumbents must possess the ability to lift, carry, push, and pull materials and objects weighing up to 30 pounds or heavier weights with assistance and/or the use of proper equipment.

Environmental Elements

Incumbents work in both indoor and outdoor environments with moderate to loud noise levels. May work in controlled temperature conditions, cold and hot temperatures, or inclement weather conditions. Exposure to a variety of plant and animal species. Incumbents will interact with individuals in interpreting and enforcing rules, policies, and procedures.

Working Conditions

Incumbents may be assigned an on-call and irregular work schedule, including weekends, early mornings, evenings, and holidays.

Pre-Employment Conditions

  • Department of Justice fingerprint clearance.
  • Medical exam and drug testing clearance.

Classification Details/History

Date Adopted: 5/31/17 Job Code: PT559 FLSA Status: Non-Exempt Supersedes: Ranger/Naturalist dated 12/10/14 & 3/14/07