Environmental Education Volunteer

Before You Apply

You can only have one active Peace Corps Volunteer application, so choose a position that best fits your skills and interest. You have the opportunity to tell us if you’d like to be considered for other openings and more about the ones that interest you most! See application process

Project Description

Volunteers will work on promoting community-based environmental education, primarily in co-facilitating environmental outreach workshops and programs, creating and/or working with existing environmental youth organizations (eco-clubs), and fostering youth leadership. You will work to build environmental awareness within natural protected areas, often conducting environmental outreach/workshops in schools. As part of their community-based environmental education projects, Volunteers will promote and co-facilitate community environmental activities and appropriate green technologies (ecotecnias). As typically low-cost, practical interventions, ecotecnias seek to directly address some of the most basic and entrenched environmental challenges faced by families living in rural communities.

Examples of ecotecnicas include:
• Rainwater Collection Systems: These systems consist of gutters that channel rainwater to cisterns. This technology benefits families in arid rural communities (around 60% of Mexico’s land) and helps them have sufficient water for irrigation of home gardens and maintenance of livestock.
• Food Dehydration Systems: This technology dries fruits and vegetables for long-term storage. This technology improves nutrition and health while taking maximum advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
• Family, School, and Community Gardens: This technology consists of a simple compost system coupled with family backyard gardens. This technology increases nutrition and health, and reduces costs associated with travel to larger city markets.
• Improved Stoves: This technology uses 1/3 of the firewood of traditional stoves. This reduces pressure on local community forests while also lowering the harmful health effects associated with burning firewood within a home setting.
• Waste management campaigns designed to clean up community areas.
• Environmental murals to raise awareness and understanding of environmental issues.
• Tree planting to restore original growth forests and improve soil and water quality.
• Solar cooking, when appropriate, to create awareness of cooking alternatives to wood burning.

Required Skills

Candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:

• BA/BS Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Environmental Education, Environmental Interpretation, Natural Resources, Conservation, or Ecology; with expressed interest in promoting environmental awareness in schools and communities
• BA/BS any discipline with 2 years professional experience organizing/leading environmental education activities
• BA/BS any environmental discipline with a minimum of 6 months experience organizing/leading environmental activities and expressed interest in promoting environmental awareness in schools and communities

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following:

• Professional work experience in environmental education, especially working with youth (e.g., Eco-Clubs, guides, interpreters)
• Experience in community-level planning, organizing, or leadership within the past three years
• Interest and experience in community outreach, training target populations, and working with stakeholders
• Good communication and strong interpersonal skills to establish effective working relationships with counterparts and community members
• Flexibility, adaptability, initiative, emotional maturity and ability to overcome challenges, cross-cultural awareness, resourcefulness and sincere commitment to Peace Corps service

Required Language Skills

Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position.

A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native/fluent speaker of Spanish

Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency. Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).

Additional Language Information

Candidates that have an intermediate level, combined with the required technical skills for the position, are highly competitive. Peace Corps Mexico strongly encourages all applicants to our program to begin studying Spanish as soon as possible. Language skills are key to integration as well as a safe and productive service. The more Spanish you have before arriving will only positively contribute to a productive service.

Living Conditions

Most placements are in central Mexico. Volunteers will either work in rural communities or nearby protected areas assigned by CONANP (the Natural Protected Areas Management Commission), or in medium size cities or rural communities, assigned by CONAFOR (the Forestry Commission) or SEMARNAT's state-level offices. Sites generally range from 1,000 to 10,000 inhabitants. However, some sites are in medium size towns of 5,000-25,000. For those Volunteers placed in medium sized towns, you may travel frequently to rural sites to work on local community projects and to give support to rural-based Volunteers living nearby.

Host family stays are required during the 11-week Pre-Service Training (PST) and initial 3 months of service at site. Host family accommodation during PST in Querétaro provides a private room in a family home with basic furniture and private or shared bathroom facilities. The Volunteer will live with the new host family for 3 months in site. After the first three months of service, other options for housing may include a room in a shared house, a private apartment or house, or a part of a family house. Whenever possible, we encourage Volunteers to continue living with their host family, which will help them integrate in the community.

You can expect to travel/commute via public transportation and to occasionally travel in partner agencies’ vehicles. Most positions require 40 hours a week in relatively unstructured work environments.

Peace Corps Mexico seeks to reflect the rich diversity of the U.S. and bring diverse perspectives and solutions to development issues in Mexico. Once Volunteers arrive at their sites, diversity and inclusion principles remain the same but take on a different shape, in which your host community may share a common culture and you are the outsider. During Pre-Service Training (PST), multiple sessions and guidance will be provided to discuss diversity and inclusion. For more specific information about serving as a diverse Volunteer in Mexico and the support networks in place, please visit https://www.peacecorps.gov/mexico/preparing-to-volunteer/diversity-and-inclusion/.

In most of the central region of Mexico, and throughout the mountainous areas, it can be cold in the evening through much of the year. Daytime highs can get very hot, but a rain jacket and hat are often useful in the evenings. Some cities or towns are known as more traditional and others as more progressive. Rural areas and most small towns of Mexico are characterized by more traditional and conservative cultural and societal values. Volunteers should learn and be respectful of their practices, customs, and way of life.

SPECIAL NOTICE ABOUT CITIZENSHIP: Candidates who are either dual citizens of Mexico and the U.S. or who were born in Mexico and became U.S. citizens after 1998 are not eligible to serve in Peace Corps Mexico. Volunteer safety is of paramount importance, and the protections of U.S. citizenship promote volunteer safety. Under Mexican law, anyone born in Mexico who became a U.S. citizen after 1998 or anyone holding dual U.S. and Mexican citizenship is considered a citizen of Mexico, and not of the United States. If such an individual faced a legal, safety or other emergency situation in Mexico, the Peace Corps' ability to intervene would be limited. If you fit either of these categories, we encourage you to look at other assignments.

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

Medical Considerations in Mexico

  • Mexico may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Adderall.
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified.
  • After arrival in Mexico, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot and to receive mandatory immunizations.

Before you apply, please also review Important Medical Information for Applicants [PDF] to learn about other health conditions typically not supported in Peace Corps service.

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