Watershed Restoration Specialist

Before You Apply

Peace Corps Response positions are open to returned Volunteers or U.S. citizens with significant professional and technical experience.

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Project Description

A Peace Corps Response Volunteer (PCRV) with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences (Ecology, Forestry, Biology, etc.) or equivalent field experience, experience developing and conducting field-based training with farmers, and advanced Spanish, is needed to serve as a Watershed Restoration Specialist with the Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative (ELTI) in Panama. In 2013, ELTI established their Training Landscapes in the Azuero Peninsula in order to offer courses which provide participants with experiential, place-based learning opportunities designed to facilitate engagement and exchange and support the retention and application of knowledge. In order to expand training opportunities to decision makers in critical regions of the Azuero, ELTI will be conducting a series of field-based trainings for thirty farmers and extension agents from the La Villa River Watershed (LFRW). ELTI will help to address land degradation and support traditional livelihoods in the LVRW by empowering farmers to transition from conventional cattle ranching systems to silvopastoral systems (SPS), which integrate trees, forage shrubs and livestock production and do not require agrochemical inputs. To implement this model, the assistance of a PCRV has been requested to provide follow-up training and mentoring to the thirty individuals selected for the field-based courses, to train the course alumni to become effective trainers via a training of trainer’s series of workshops, and to help to establish 15 model silvopastoral farms in three different regions within the LVRW.

The PCRV will work with ELTI staff to increase awareness and offer locally based solutions to environmental degradation and livestock production in the LVRW by strengthening the ecological restoration capacity of decision makers, establishing model farms with course participants to demonstrate alternative practices, and developing the leadership skills of land-use decision makers so they can be effective transmitters of ecological restoration practices. The overall goal is to increase on-farm productivity and restore the environment in cattle ranching landscapes by combining ELTI’s placed-based, experiential approach to teaching and learning with targeted post-training support to help farmers learn how to establish and manage their new systems and share their experiences with others.

Please note that departure dates and other details of this project could change because of the uncertainties as Peace Corps and local partners resume volunteer operations. Candidates selected for this position will be arriving in Panama together as a group, so while the departure dates for the whole group could change, dates cannot be changed for individual candidates.

Partner Information

Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative (ELTI)

Required Skills

• High tolerance for ambiguity and high level of flexibility – some details of this project could change because of the uncertainties as Peace Corps and local partners resume volunteer operations
• Bachelor's degree (B.A. or B.S.) in Environmental Sciences (Ecology, Forestry, Biology, etc.) or equivalent field experience
• Advanced/fluent in both written and spoken Spanish
• 2 years of experience in at least one of the following: Conducting environmental education and leadership development; Conducting farm planning and soil conservation in watersheds; Developing and monitoring agroforestry systems and forest restoration strategies; Working with farmers and an understanding of agrarian culture
• Experience developing and conducting field-based training with farmers
• Knowledge of tropical ecology, agriculture, livestock production and forest restoration strategies
• Ability to physically work outdoors in extreme heat, humidity and rain

The Peace Corps embraces and leverages the diversity of its volunteers as a reflection of America's diversity. Peace Corps Response is committed to reflecting the diversity of the United States in the professionals we send into the field to support the mission of world peace and friendship. Applicants with diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Serving in Panama

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Panama: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.

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