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National Aviary

Program Specialist


The National Aviary’s Program Specialist is part of a dynamic and energetic Education Department performing all job assignments with a positive attitude that reflects the National Aviary’s mission to inspire a respect for nature through an appreciation of birds. The Program Specialist develops formal, informal, and interpretive education programs and materials, coordinates and facilitates education programs and interpretation, actively participates in bird handling, and supports the volunteer manager to recruit, train and interface with National Aviary volunteers. 


  • Facilitates virtual, on-site, and off-site education offerings (including classes, tours, events, and experiences) for visitors, schools, scouts, organized youth organizations and adult groups.
  • Develops formal curriculum, lessons, activities and materials for education programming.
  • Develops, coordinates and facilitates summer and winter day camp programs for preschoolers, school-aged children, teens and families.
  • Assists with the creation and organization of educational content and materials for special events, graphics and exhibits geared for children and adults.
  • Provides training, support and mentoring to staff, volunteers and interns in program content and delivery.
  • Maintains classrooms and other facilities used for programs.
  • Maintains biofacts, craft supplies, and other materials used for programs.
  • Develops and delivers interpretive educational content in the National Aviary’s immersive habitats.
  • Develops a strong understanding of and employs the principles of basic operant conditioning.
  • Uses National Aviary’s established techniques and protocols for handling and presenting Ambassador animals and for preparation and care of animals.
  • Maintains awareness and understanding of the National Aviary’s animal collection and environment, and appreciates and each animal’s natural history and personal story.
  • Assists with educational planning and programmatic goal achievement.
  • Responds to all incoming general correspondence and prospective and volunteer communications in a timely and appropriate manner.
  • Maintains volunteer and intern files and contact information.
  • Coordinates volunteers including daily activities and communication.
  • Assists the Manager with effective orientation and on-boarding for new volunteers and interns.
  • Supports interdepartmental efforts to increase and improve volunteers’ level of customer service, visitor engagement, professionalism, and avian knowledge.
  • Develops, supports, and monitors volunteer rewards and recognition programs and monthly volunteer spotlights.
  • Prepares and organizes materials for volunteer meetings and orientations.
  • Implements strategies for targeted recruitment, organization, and management of volunteers to meet the needs of the National Aviary.
  • Adheres to all National Aviary protocols and procedures.
  • Interacts with visitors utilizing Aviary Visitor Engagement protocol.

Reasonable Accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for their job. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice.


  • The Education Specialist supervises the work of seasonal staff, volunteers, and interns assigned to their program.


  • Strong teaching, interpretation and presentation skills, as well as the ability to continually interact and communicate with a variety of audiences in a professional and productive manner
  • Ability to adapt and relate appropriate messaging to people of all ages
  • Ability to assess and prioritize multiple tasks and demands
  • Ability to organize and complete projects in a timely manner, using initiative and proper professional judgment; ability to work independently and as a team
  • Knowledge of current pedagogical best practice and education-based content standards
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with volunteers, fellow departments, and the public.
  • Strong communication, organization and project management skills with experience in managing simultaneous projects in a fast-paced environment.

Experience Required

EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE: • Undergraduate degree in Zoological Sciences, Environmental Education, or similar field required. • 3-5 years relevant professional experience in an education department in a zoo, nature center, or other informal learning center. • 1-2 years experience training and managing adult, teen, corporate, and/or intern volunteers a plus. • Previous experience working with live animals in an educational setting preferred; experience with operant conditioning a plus. OTHER REQUIREMENTS: • Satisfactory Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check and Child Abuse History Certification • Satisfactory FBI Criminal Record Check • Valid Driver’s License and ability to pass Department of Motor Vehicles check PHYSICAL DEMANDS: While performing the duties of this job, the employee constantly positions self to prepare classrooms, including setting up technology, tables, chairs, and signage, including under and around obstacles. The employee regularly transports crates and supplies up to 50 pounds. The employee regularly uses utensils and tools including knives, scissors, hoses, and falconry equipment. WORK ENVIRONMENT: Work environments will include climate-controlled office spaces, public areas where the noise level may be loud, and outdoors where work may need to be done in inclement weather conditions, including extremes of temperature and precipitation. The employee is regularly exposed to various disinfecting agents and common allergens such as latex, nuts, and seafood. POSITION TYPE/ EXPECTED HOURS OF WORK: This is a full-time position. The candidate must be able to work on weekdays, weekends, and holidays and occasionally in the evening as job duties demand.

How to Apply

e-mail cover letters and resumes to Jenn Torpie at

National Aviary
700 Arch St
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Phone: 412-323-7235

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