Colorado Nonprofit Association

SOIL Lab Education Facilitator

Program Overview: Led by the United Way of SWCO (UWSWC), Team UP AmeriCorps places AmeriCorps members at organizations throughout Southwest Colorado. While these members serve as part of a regional cohort and participate in regional cohort trainings and activities, they spend the majority of their term serving directly at a specific host site organization. Through collaborative service, Team UP AmeriCorps members develop their own professional skills and passions, expand effectiveness of southwest Colorado organizations, and ultimately support people to thrive. Team UP has been utilizing collective impact initiatives since 2015 to collaborate across sectors and promote communication towards common goals within rural Southwest Colorado communities.

The SOIL Outdoor Learning Lab, a project of Durango School District 9R, is a public, outdoor growing facility rooted in community engagement, educational and economic opportunity, multigenerational collaboration, cultural and ecological stewardship, and healthy living practices. Our mission is to bring people from across the community of SW Colorado together around health and sustainability. This includes kinder-college field trips, community garden bed rentals, public workshops, and hosting a wide range of organizations for service learning activities and projects.

Service Position Summary: The SOIL Lab Education Facilitator will be an integral part of the SOIL Lab’s effort to expand our educational programming through local school districts and community members. Because their service involves projects that are new, evolving/expanding, and highly innovative, the member will have a voice in the future of the projects, while also being supported along the way. At present, the outdoor community garden is the site for all education activities at the SOIL Outdoor Learning Lab. Given our climate and the k-12 schools schedule in Durango, an outdoor space can only accommodate educational activities 4-6 months out of the year. In our first year of operation, we have provided educational experiences to over 2000 students and community members. With the goal of expanding our education program offerings, we are currently building a 42’ geodesic grow dome greenhouse. This will provide an additional 1400 square feet of year-round climate-controlled growing and education space. We are seeking to incorporate an Education Facilitator to contribute their energy, knowledge, talent, and skills toward expanding upon our existing garden education programming by incorporating a new education facility, the Grow Dome.

A significant portion of the member’s time will be spent designing and building out the interior of a large geodesic dome greenhouse to be used for prek-college and community education year-round. This greenhouse will introduce opportunities for year-round education here at the SOIL Outdoor Learning Lab. Upon completion of the greenhouse structure construction (anticipated to be August 2024, prior to this position starting), the SOIL Lab Education Facilitator will grow the SOIL Lab’s educational impact by joining us in providing educational experiences for students ranging from preschool through college who come to the community garden and greenhouse for field trips. Lastly, this member will have opportunities to expand community outreach and special events introducing our new Grow Dome and the expanded educational programming to students and community members at large; thus furthering SOIL Lab’s mission to bring people together around health and sustainability. Note that this outreach and special event effort is intended to inform community members of opportunities to meaningfully engage with our programing and will not include this position contributing to any direct effort towards fundraising or grant writing.

Duties and Responsibilities: Team UP AmeriCorps members serve directly at their Host Site organization to develop, implement, and enhance programs, projects, and activities through direct and indirect service. Duties include:

Physical, Emotional, and Intellectual Demands:

Desired Qualifications:

Term of Service – Time Commitment: This is a Three-Quarter time national and community service position requiring, at a minimum, a total of 1200 hours during the year (approximately 40 hours/week.) The position begins September 9, 2024 and ends May 31, 2025. Flexible hours are required, including occasional evening and weekend commitments.

Training and Support Provided: Team UP AmeriCorps members receive significant training and experience in community engagement, project implementation, leadership, diverse populations, and more. Up to 20% of total hours served may be spent in applicable, approved trainings. Members will be supervised and supported by SOIL Lab’s Garden Manager Allison Riederer (ariederer@durangoschools.org), as well as by Team UP AmeriCorps program staff. The PY 24-25 cohort of Team UP AmeriCorps members serving throughout the region will also act as additional resources and support for each other.

Location and Service Conditions: This position is based at 2900 Mesa Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Additional other off-site engagement and partnership activities may be required.