Primary tabs

Naturalist Internship

If you are interested in a rewarding career in outdoor education, and a chance to feel like you are doing a job that truly makes a difference, then consider an internship with Foothill Horizons. 

We are currently accepting applications for the 2023-2024 school year. We wil have rolling interviews each month until positions are filled.


  • The Amazing Staff
  • Training
  • Guidance and Observation
  • Career Support
  • Compensation and Perks
  • Duties and Hours
  • Location
  • References


Foothill Horizons has a staff culture that is built upon support, kindness, and growth.  Our six permanent naturalists have over 70 years of accumulated experience teaching and working as professional environmental educators and share the responsibilities of formally and informally mentoring the interns.  To complete and enhance our teaching staff, we hire 5-6 interns for the fall. Interns must live on site in shared housing.


Interns have proper training and are prepared before taking on a group of their own students. The initial training includes in-depth observation of and participation in our program, thorough staff training with in-services on our curriculum, and team teaching with an experienced naturalist. This extensive training period helps interns to be more successful in their first few weeks of independent teaching. Our six permanent naturalists share the responsibilities of formally and informally mentoring the interns.

Training continues throughout the internship with:
-Workshops provided by permanent staff and visiting professionals
-Visit to another outdoor school
-Personal guidance and observations, which encourage reflection and review of progress


Interns are informally observed soon after they begin teaching independently. Formal observations occur throughout the internship. These observations include conducting a video self-critique. In-depth coaching sessions with our staff follow each observation. Our goal is to give you the tools to become a self-reflective naturalist who can accurately assess your lessons and continually improve.


Training on aspects of job-hunting such as preparing for interviews, assistance with résumé development, and a review of application documents is made available. Our staff maintains strong relationships with other outdoor schools and professional environmental education organizations, and fosters those relationships to help connect our interns to the greater environmental education community.


  • $15/hour – most weeks are 5-day work weeks with ~8 hour days
  • Private bedroom (Climate controlled housing built in 2019)
  • Washer & Dryer in housing
  • Option to eat food prepared for program during the week, and basic staples provided for weekends
  • $300 health stipend
  • Financial assistance towards tuition fees for an AEOE Conference  (check out:


In addition to teaching out on the trails, interns will get the opportunity to lead evening activities including night hikes, campfire and dance. These roles serve as a change of pace and allow interns to gain a holistic understanding of a residential outdoor education program. Interns also spend one Saturday per year training high school students for the counselor role.


Workdays are based on an eight-hour day and a 40-hour week. Compensation is given for overtime. As with any teaching job, interns will prepare lessons and complete some work assignments associated with their training during non-scheduled work hours.


Sonora is an ideal location to live for those who love the outdoors.  Great rock climbing, hiking and biking are all less than a half hour away.  Our staff takes advantage of the nearby wilderness areas, rivers, granite peaks, and mountain lakes in our backyard, the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  For those who like to ski or snowboard, we are within an hour's drive of Dodge Ridge and an hour and a half from Bear Valley Ski Resort.  In addition, Yosemite Valley is only a two-hour drive from Foothill Horizons.


A self-reflective teacher who can:
-Honestly reflect on your own teaching and improving your lessons
-Write and implement engaging lesson plans with clear goals
-Command the attention of large and small groups of students

More knowledgeable about:
-Working with children and understanding stages of development
-Coaching teenagers and providing written feedback
-Education philosophy and practices and the local natural history

Experienced at:
-Working as an integral member of staff comprised of professional environmental educators
-Working independently and being self directed
-Being able to remain calm in changing environments

We are proud of the many former Naturalist Interns who are now enjoying successful careers in the field of environmental and outdoor education as well as other related fields.


We strive to find the balance between Science Learning, Personal and Social Growth and Nature Connection:

"You have just begun one of the greatest 9 months of your life- I promise no school year could ever be this rewarding or this fun. The staff that you work with is going to do everything they possibly can to support you and help you grow." - Liz (Intern 2011-2012)

"The Foothill Horizons internship allowed me to find a place where my personal passion intersects a world need." - Gabe (Intern 2012-2013)


  1. READ THIS: Internship Description & Application Process (PDF)
  2. COMPLETE THIS APPLICATION:  Online Internship Application Form  (it may be helpful to type answers in a document and then cut and paste your responses into the form)


Meet the staff       

Housing Photos                   

What to bring      

Tuolumne County Quick Facts   (Where you will live - Sonora)                 

Stanislaus County Quick Facts  (Where our students live - Central Valley)

Stanislaus County Schools Demographic Data

If you are interested or have any questions,
please call or email Diann Rastetter at:
209-532-0998 drastetter [ahtsym] stancoe [dhotsym] org