2019 OSMRE Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA)

With Mountain Studies Institute

MSI is searching for a talented, motivated, and self-directed individual to grow our mountain education and outreach programs as an Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation (OSMRE) Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA). The VISTA position will be located in Silverton, Colorado in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Silverton is a beautiful community steeped in mining legacy.

MSI’s 2018 VISTA Shular Roberts works with students to identify macro-invertebrates in the local river.

MSI’s 2018 VISTA Shular Roberts works with students to identify macro-invertebrates in the local river.

The VISTA will continue to build MSI’s Bridging Mountains Network (BMN), a multi-faceted effort to advance understanding and collaboration in the realms of water quality, forest health, and air/ climate. The BMN builds capacity for civic engagement by engaging youth and adults to participate in science and action focusing on our most pressing, local, ecological issues. The VISTA will work with teachers to pilot and expand the newly formed Bridging Mountains data sharing network, a platform for classes and adult volunteers to contribute to and analyze a regional data set. Part of the BMN is a freely available toolbox of curriculum and activities based on MSI’s community driven research, and the VISTA will expand this toolbox. They will also help host a first annual resiliency summit for area youth to share and discuss their findings on local ecological issues related to wildfire and water quality, topics which are highly important to the local economy, health, and environment.

MSI’s VISTA will help restore mine-impacted rivers and streams. S/he will train, coordinate, and lead volunteers in environmental restoration of important local resources such as alpine fens. These will include adult volunteers and student groups participating in service-learning. The VISTA will also support the fledgling Silverton Innovation Expo, started the first year of this VISTA project. The Expo is an economic boon to Silverton and seeks to advance much needed mine remediation technology and procedures. Finally, MSI’s VISTA will build capacity for the Bridging Mountains Network by helping to secure grants, partnerships, and resources, thereby strengthening our core capacity to develop initiatives, and new partnerships for creating and strengthening youth development programs. 

Desired Experience: Education or youth leadership experience | Community engagement or volunteer coordination | Science communication | Science background, particularly in ecology, geology, environmental science, biology, botany, or a related field.

Desired Skills: Strong written and verbal communication | Flexible and positive mindset | Self-directed, organized, and reliable | Deep sense of inquiry | Passion for teaching and desire to build scientific literacy.

Compensation: VISTAs receive a living stipend of about $1,000/month. VISTAs also qualify for assistance programs including Medicaid, SNAP (food assistance), and LEAP (energy assistance), a value of about $600/month. Upon completion of the year of service, VISTAs can choose an Education Award (about $5,000 toward education only) or an End of Service Stipend of about $1,500 cash.

Start Date: March 18, 2019.

Apply: This is an Americorps position. To apply, click the button below and scroll to the bottom.