Tess Majors Endowed Naturalist

Nature Camp seeks applicants for the position of seasonal, resident naturalist for the first half of the summer of 2024.  The Tess Majors Endowed Naturalist is supported by the Tess Majors Foundation, established in memory of a long-time camper, passionate lover of nature, and exceptionally talented musician.

Responsibilities and Expectations:

  • Support the non-formal educational program of Nature Camp at the direction of the executive director
  • Assist instructors in developing and implementing engaging, innovative, experiential activities to facilitate place-based learning and long-term data collection protocols
  • Serve as a mentor to instructors and aid summer staff in the refinement of pedagogical praxis
  • Enhance the knowledge and understanding of the natural history of the central Appalachians by campers and staff
  • Organize and lead occasional natural history walks and other educational offerings outside of designated class time
  • Present two evening programs on an educational topic


  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree or some post-graduate training preferred, ideally in a field relevant to Nature Camp’s curriculum in natural history and environmental studies
  • Familiarity with and knowledge of the natural history of the central Appalachians and mid-Atlantic region (preferably with proficiency in multiple taxonomic groups)
  • Proficiency in and experience with teaching in non-formal, outdoor settings
  • Valid driver’s license and clean driving record within past five years

Terms of Employment:

  • Residence at Nature Camp for five weeks (preferably June 10 – July 13: staff training and First and Second Sessions of youth camp, serving those in grades 10-12 and 8-9, respectively)
  • Two days off per week
  • Housing (private room with shared bath) and meals provided
  • Compensation $1,000 / week
  • Supervised by executive director of Nature Camp

Prospective candidates should submit a cover letter with statement of interest and qualifications, a current curriculum vitae, and names of three persons able and willing to provide personal or professional references to Executive Director Philip Coulling (director@naturecamp.net).  Successful applicant must pass criminal background check and check of sex offender registries.

Nature Camp is an equal opportunity employer which neither discriminates nor tolerates discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, color, gender identity or expression, religious or political affiliation, ethnicity, or natural origin.

Here we’re taught not only to appreciate things as they naturally are, but also to see the opportunity in what we do, and let the world slow down at the same time. This, I believe, is our constant, and the most powerful one of all: the ability to approach the world with refreshed positivism.

Will D., Gloucester, VA
Will D.Gloucester, VA

At a place with such a variety of people, much of what you learn is through conversation and not necessarily what you set out to absorb. I come back each year for an experience impossible to comprehend if not here. I come back to learn how to pursue the commitment we have to better lives for ourselves, our planet, and generations to come. I come back to spend time with some of my favorite people in the world. I come back because I don’t know what my life would be like without Camp.

Maggie J., Fredericksburg, VA
Maggie J.Fredericksburg, VA

Going to Nature Camp is no longer just a want. It is a necessity, an essential part of my summer. It holds a very special place in my heart, and it always will. I always leave with a sense of balance and well-being, having totally soaked in all the wonders and virtues and lessons and friends and learning and nature.

Emily G., Durham, NC
Emily G.Durham, NC

Going to Nature Camp has taught me many things. When I first went to Nature Camp, I could not tell the difference between a death angel mushroom and an oyster mushroom. I also could not have told you the difference between quartzite and limestone. Since going to Nature Camp, I can tell you these things and many more. Nature Camp is truly a wonderful place. From my first day to my last, I have the most fun I will have all summer.

Phoebe W., Fredericksburg, VA
Phoebe W.Fredericksburg, VA

Nature Camp is a true chance for immersion learning. My family has been amazed how many times the academic learning at Nature Camp has been connected to my school and home life.

Josh C., Williamsburg, VA
Josh C.Williamsburg, VA

I feel that there could never be any words to explain my feelings for Nature Camp. It’s a different world there: no TV, radio, cell phone, or anything from the real world. Nature Camp has changed my life forever. I believe that when people cross that tiny bridge going into camp, they become their true selves. They take their masks off and have a break from everything in the world.

Hannah S., Mount Jackson, VA
Hannah S.Mount Jackson, VA

There is just something special about Nature Camp. Maybe it’s the smell of being outdoors, the freedom of being away from your parents, or that you are at a summer for two weeks. I do not think those are the reasons why Nature Camp is so special. I think it’s the people you meet, the science things you learn about, and the pride and confidence you walk away with at the end of the session.

Kelsey G., Fredericksburg, VA
Kelsey G.Fredericksburg, VA

I have attended Nature Camp for four years and have never had a more rewarding experience. Nature Camp has taught me what one person who cares can do to make a difference. The hikes to Table Rock, the salamander searches at Buttermilk Springs, the breathtaking view from Lookout Rock, and of course the Sunday hikes to undiscovered mountain peaks are experiences one cannot have anyone else, and experiences I will remember forever. I have made friendships at Nature Camp that promise to last a lifetime.

Lucy A., Ruckersville, VA
Lucy A.Ruckersville, VA

There is a coveted two weeks in the heart of the summer that is called Nature Camp. It is the best thing that I do all year and is what I most look forward to. I grow mentally there more in two weeks than I do in the rest of the year.

Buck T., Fredericksburg, VA
Buck T.Fredericksburg, VA

For the past three years I have attended Nature Camp and loved it. Most four-year-olds, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, say a fireman, a ballerina, or an astronaut. When people asked me what I wanted to be, I replied confidently, “A nature scientist. I want to save the land.” Ten years later my answer still hasn’t changed.

Veronica P., Williamsburg, VA, Camper
Veronica P.Williamsburg, VA, Camper