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Local teens who love nature and the outdoors—and could use some paid work this summer—are in luck.

Our educators are constantly seeking new ways to offer their hands-on science education while keeping the community safe during the coronavirus pandemic. As part of that effort, we’ve reconfigured our popular EnviroLeaders program to offer paid seasonal employment to not one but two sets of teens.

Under the current plan, one of the summer EnviroLeader teams will focus on restoration work, such as managing invasive species, working in our Native Plant Nursery, and helping with fire control and trail maintenance. The other team will focus more on environmental education and summer camp counseling work at Sonoma Garden Park. Both teams will cross over in workloads and continue to support the agricultural work being done at Sonoma Garden Park.

(In the event that we are not able to provide our Summer Science Camps this year, EnviroLeaders will still work in two teams, doing similar projects at different sites or, if necessary, on different workdays.)

All of our programs will comply with health and safety guidelines, including wearing masks, social distancing and any other necessary protocols. EnviroLeaders will be paid $12/hour for their work!

“I know a lot of teens are burned out on Netflix and screen time and probably looking for something to do, and looking forward to getting back outside,” Education Program Manager Tony Passantino explained. “Hopefully, this will help them and their families, and bring in some income as well.”

Tony added, “We need their support right now in helping to build a more resilient Sonoma, including preparations to reopen our parks, prepare for wildfire season, and plant crops for a fruitful summer harvest.”

The upcoming EnviroLeaders program runs from June 8 to Aug. 7, with teams meeting Wednesdays and Fridays, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., plus a few special event days. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, May 27. To apply, please fill out this online form and email a cover letter and resume to Tony at See this page for more on the EnviroLeaders program.

This isn’t the only ingenious solution to current circumstances that our seasoned educators have come up with! Another example is Science at Home, a free online series providing science-based lessons and activities every Tuesday and Thursday at 12:45 p.m. We are also offering no-commitment sign-ups for summer camps, which at this time are tentatively scheduled to go forward. Under this plan, parents can reserve spots for their children but will not be billed until summer camps are confirmed.