Environmental Education Volunteer
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
Projects are located in areas of the country with high environmental priority such as protected areas and buffer zones, as well as important river watersheds, including the Panama Canal watershed. Volunteers will work at the community level creating or strengthening groups (youth and adults) with a focus on their environmental needs.
Through their work with youth groups, Volunteers will develop opportunities to train and/or mentor students and youth in leadership and life skills, promote a positive environmental stewardship and encourage a civic participation as well as the importance of accomplishing personal goals. Additionally, Volunteers will actively work to create after-school programs and support youth in various activities.
Through their work with adult groups, Volunteers will develop environmental activities such as organic gardening, nursery/reforestation, waste management and promoting eco- stoves use. They will also work with government agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations to develop sustainable living strategies and techniques that allow community members to live in their communities while conserving their sensitive ecosystems and natural resources.
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
• 5 years’ professional work experience
• 3 months experience working in environmental science, environmental education or related field
•Experience leading formal (in schools) and non-formal environmental education activities, training teachers, working with youth groups, organizing or initiating environmental awareness activities (e.g. recycling campaigns)
• Highly desired environmental education teacher backgrounds or degrees
• Working experience in one or more of the following: climate change/renewable energy, biology, marine biology, natural resources management, reforestation, organic gardening, waste management, agro-ecology
• Professionalism and a strong commitment to teach, basic teaching experience preferred
• Conversational Spanish Language Skills
• Respect of the local education system roles and protocols and willingness to embrace it
• Public speaking and presentation skills
• Willingness to facilitate cultural integration
• Strong interpersonal skills
• Leadership skills
• High level of self-initiative and self-direction, mixed with a good sense of humor.
Required Language Skills
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
Food and Diet:
The Panamanian diet varies according to the region and the ethnic makeup of the population. Most often the diet consists of rice, beans, plantains, yucca (cassava), and corn. Rice and beans (kidney beans, lentils, and black-eyed peas) is the staple dish. Corn is served in many guises but is usually ground, boiled, or fried. Sancocho is a traditional dish (somewhere between a soup and a stew) prepared with a variety of vegetables and chicken. Most rural areas have an array of fruits available, including mangoes, papayas, pineapples, avocados, oranges, and guanabanas (soursops). The availability of garden vegetables, such as tomatoes, sweet peppers, and cucumbers, varies according to the region and the season. The most common meats are chicken and beef, which are often deep-fried or stewed. Fish is available sporadically in coastal regions and riverside communities. Larger towns and cities have at least one restaurant that will be familiar, such as McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, or Dairy Queen.
Some Volunteers are vegetarians, but few Panamanians follow these diets. Many volunteers start a garden in their communities, and sometimes buy food in Panama City or a provincial capital. Most have supermarkets where you can buy a wide variety of foods and imported goods.
Computer and Internet Access:
Internet access in Panama is spreading. All provincial capitals and other large towns have internet cafes. Connection speeds tend to be slow, but the service is reasonably priced and otherwise reliable. Internet access for Volunteers is available at the Peace Corps/Panama office. Almost all volunteers have a computer or tablet. Should you choose to bring electronics, it is your responsibility to maintain and insure it.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Panama: 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 Panama
- Panama 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: none identified.
- Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified.
- After arrival in Panama, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive mandatory immunizations.
Before you apply, please also review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.
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