Natural Resource Conservation Volunteer

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Climate change impacts have been unexpectedly evident and rapid in Mexico in terms of severe weather and varying local climate. Rural communities inside or in proximity to Natural Protected Areas (NPAs) and that are dependent on natural resources and eco-system services for survival are particularly vulnerable. Conserving such natural areas while promoting socio-economic development for the communities in and around them are priorities for the Mexican government. Peace Corps Mexico’s main Mexican host agency, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), has identified priority activities for Peace Corps Volunteers in Mexico: promoting environmental education and youth environmental organizations, appropriate green technologies, and biodiversity, soil, and water conservation practices.

Natural Resource Conservation Volunteers will focus on biodiversity, soil, and water conservation in rural communities and small towns with government agency partners to promote community resiliency and natural resource conservation and co-facilitate the implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation activities.

Natural Resource Conservation Volunteer activities may include but are not limited to:

• Facilitate the sharing of knowledge in basic science of climate change.
• Equip community members with skills to monitor local weather and climate effects.
• Co-plan to address local vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change.
• Co-implement soil and water conservation practices and technologies to reduce community vulnerability to climate change effects.
• Facilitate educational activities for community members to increase appreciation and knowledge of local biodiversity.
• Train community members to monitor local biodiversity.
• Co-facilitate the improvement of habitats to protect local species.

Required Skills

Candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Science/Associate degree in Forestry, Watershed Management, Natural Resources, Environmental Science, Ecology, or related fields -OR-
• Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology, Wildlife Management, Natural Resource Management, Recreation/Park Administration, or related fields -OR-
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in any discipline plus field experience in wildlife biology, wildlife management, natural resource management, national or state park management, forestry, agro-forestry, or tree/plant nursery management

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have experience in one or more of the following areas:
• Soil and water conservation
• Reforestation
• Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD)
• Conservation/restoration of eco-system services
• Eco-tourism development within natural protected areas
• Wildlife monitoring and conservation
• Climate change mitigation and adaptation measures at the local level
• Community outreach, training of staff and target populations, systems improvement
• Working with stakeholders and organizational strengthening of local agencies, municipalities, and government agencies

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 must take a language placement exam 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).

Qualified candidates for this program will meet at least the minimum Spanish language requirement. Candidates that have an intermediate level, combined with the required skills for the position, are highly competitive. Peace Corps Mexico strongly encourages all applicants to our program to continue studying Spanish in preparation for service. 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

The United States and Mexico are so interdependent and share so much more than just a border. Should you be accepted to serve in Mexico, you will have an incredible opportunity to build bridges of peace and friendship between Mexico and the U.S. As a Natural Resource Conservation Volunteer in Mexico you will have endless opportunities to contribute to Goals 2 and 3 of the Peace Corps mission, in addition to your Goal 1 work in your site.

Most site assignments are in central Mexico. Volunteers will either work in small rural communities or small-to-medium size towns. Volunteers placed in medium-sized towns may travel frequently to rural sites to work on local community projects and to give support to rural-based Volunteers living nearby.

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. Layering is a good strategy year round. Mexico also has regional differences, in that 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.

Host family stays are required during the 10-week Pre-Service Training (PST) and during the first three months of service. After living with a host family for the first three months of service, you may arrange to stay with your host family if they are able to continue hosting you, or you can seek other options which may include a room in a shared house, an unoccupied house for rent, or a section of a family’s house. Your host family may be a two-parent family with kids, a grandmother living alone, a single parent who works all day, or any other variation of a host family you can think of based on the people who are willing and able to host a Volunteer in your site.

Mexico is very safe for Peace Corps Volunteers. You will be responsible for your safety, and you will receive professional training and support from Peace Corps staff to develop your own safety strategies. Sites and host families are vetted to increase the probability of a safe and secure service, but incidents do happen. When they do, Peace Corps provides the highest quality support to victims of crime. For your safety and in order for staff to coordinate emergency responses, Peace Corps worldwide policy requires that you report your whereabouts to Peace Corps every time you spend the night outside of your site. Failure to do so may result in administrative separation from Peace Corps service.

Peace Corps Mexico seeks to reflect the rich diversity of the U.S. and bring diverse perspectives and solutions to development issues in Mexico. During Pre-Service Training, 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

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 with 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 opportunities with Peace Corps.

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.

Couples Information

Mexico can accommodate couples serving together as Natural Resource Conservation Volunteers. Therefore, your partner must apply and qualify for the following position:

Natural Resource Conservation Volunteer

Couples can have a very positive and productive experience serving in Mexico. During the 10-week Pre-Service Training, couples have the option of living with the same host family or living separately in order to maximize Spanish language learning. During the first three months of service, couples live together with the same host family. After the first three months, couples may live together in a rented room inside a family’s compound or rent their own modest apartment. Some couples may encounter situations such as being asked questions about having children or being the subject of comments or jokes about being monogamous. During Pre-Service Training, staff and Volunteers address these issues and Volunteers formulate their own strategies to be resilient and adapt to such realities.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please 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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