Position title: Conservation Nursery Coordinator
Employer: The Evergreen State College
Hours: 20 hrs/wk, regular business hours
Duration: Position 1: June 15, 2019 to June 30, 2020
Position 2: December 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020
One-year extension dependent upon funding
Location: Sustainability in Prisons Project office (Seminar 2 E2116-2121 and 2128,)
Pay: $15.45/hour; additional funding may be available for thesis work on a SPP topic
Supervisor: Carl Elliott, Conservation Nursery Manager (360) 867-6784
To apply: Send cover letter, resume, and three references to Carl Elliott elliottc@evergreen.edu by 5pm, May 17th 2019


The Sustainability in Prisons Project is a partnership founded by the Evergreen State College (Evergreen) and the Washington Department of Corrections (WA Corrections). Program coordinators work collaboratively with both founding partners, plus various program partners, to advance SPP’s mission and vision:

Mission: We empower sustainable change by bringing nature, science, and environmental education into prisons.

Vision: In response to the dual crises of ecological degradation and mass incarceration, we aim to reduce recidivism while improving human well-being and ecosystem health. SPP brings together incarcerated individuals, scientists, corrections staff, students, and program partners to promote education, conserve biodiversity, practice sustainability, and help build healthy communities. Together, we reduce the environmental, economic, and human costs of prisons.

The conservation nurseries have three-four program coordinators. These positions coordinate the efforts of Evergreen, and WA Corrections, and conservation partners to cultivate plant materials for restoration projects in the Pacific Northwest. Three of the nurseries cultivate plants for the restoration of upland prairie habitat and the fourth utilizes a unique aquaponics system to grow wetland species for riparian restoration. Each facility is staffed by an incarcerated technician crew, WA Corrections staff liaison, and led by an SPP Conservation Nursery Coordinator under the supervision of SPP’s Conservation Nursery Manager. In addition to leading the program at a single nursery site, nursery coordinators assist with tasks at all nursery sites. The position requires strong social, communication, and teaching skills. As a member of the SPP-Evergreen team, the position contributes to team building and advancing SPP as a whole. Specific responsibilities for this position described in bullets, below.

Overall, the primary responsibilities of all SPP program coordinators are to monitor and safeguard program health, and cultivate and maintain positive relationships with all program partners. New hires will be responsible for learning subject-matter expertise, and this effort will be well-supported on-the-job with early and ongoing trainings.

Reporting, Accountability and Advancing SPP

  • Provide updates weekly to supervisor and every two weeks to the team at SPP-Evergreen staff meetings.
  • Actively participate in promoting the staff team and the organization as a whole, including:
    • Participating in team meetings
    • Creating and collaborating on outreach and dissemination materials
    • Identifying and acting on relevant opportunities for inter-program support and enhancements
    • Presenting on SPP to varied audiences in multiple venues
    • Considering and contributing to proposals for new funding for SPP programs
  • Maintain good communication through regular updates with team members at each site.
  • Update task lists and keep current in a format agreeable to coordinator and supervisors.
  • Provide reports detailing accomplishments and progress as required by funding sources.
  • Reference and update program protocols
  • Write blog entries and other website content about events and accomplishments

Program Coordination, general

  • Monitor and safeguard overall health of the programs; participate in ongoing program improvement and problem solving
  • Cultivate and maintain positive relationships with all program partners (e.g. guest experts and their organizations) and DOC staff at host prisons
  • Develop and update outreach and support materials to promote programs within and beyond WA Corrections
  • Basic administrative tasks such as: print and copy materials, order supplies, and schedule meetings

Conservation Nursery Tasks

  • Participate in nursery operations on site once or twice a week to assess program needs, check in with program partners, and overall ensure program success
  • During weekly visits, work alongside the incarcerated program participants (technicians) for a full work day (i.e. a minimum of 6 hours) to promote crew moral
  • Demonstrate a professional, positive attitude and strong work ethic; lead by example
  • Oversee the training and education for all nursery technicians:
    • Provide tool and equipment safety training in conjunction with WA Corrections
    • Independently generate original curricula for the cultivation of native plants, horticultural techniques, and Salish lowland prairie and wetland ecological restoration; suggest amendments and write curricula aligned with your personal skills and interests
    • Facilitate at least twelve hands-on workshops throughout the year: cover topics such as cultivation techniques appropriate in a nursery setting (in pots, in garden beds or in the aquaponics system), seed ecology, weed identification, integrated pest management (IPM), plant identification, botany, habitat recovery strategies, and endangered species recovery
    • Provide weekly or bi-weekly workshops on cultivation protocols on all contracted species during the growing season
    • Lead and facilitate science seminars with inmate participants
    • Track all educational offerings according to SPP protocols
    • Suggest lecturers for the general prison population throughout the year
  • Accommodate the prison’s hiring requirements/process and provide suggestions for optimizing the processes
  • Track and record all sowing, stratification, and cultivation protocols:
    • Follow checklist to record all stratification, sowing, germination, establishment, cultivation, and inventory data
    • Oversee facility planting calendar of the sowing priorities and all data collection
    • Direct the collection and analysis of cultivation data; oversee and ensure the quality of data collection and record keeping
  • Identify pest and disease issues; record and report to project supervisor; research and implement disease and insect control
  • Inventory supplies and equipment; occasionally deliver heavy materials as needed
  • Inform program supervisor of any changes to project scope, physical site, or infrastructure needs
  • Adapt to issues as they arise, including structure modifications and overall project scope
  • Communicate effectively with WA Corrections staff regarding projects, work plans, and general schedule for facility visits
  • Assist the Conservation Nursery Manager to follow WA Corrections regulations with clearances for visitors, chemicals, supplies/equipment, media, and offender interactions
  • Help identify appropriate research projects involving offender technicians, and other students
  • Assist in and develop original research supporting the goals of the conservation nursery and SPP as needed
  • Prepare program “fact sheets” and posters for media, visitors, conferences, and outreach events


  • Direct the work of volunteers and undergraduate interns who provide general program and research support as needed
  • Supervise the technician crews on conservation nursery tasks
  • Maintain active crew tracking in accordance with SPP protocol
  • Work with WA Corrections staff and project supervisor to evaluate crew members by reviewing their performance and skills assessment check list; suggest possible improvements and changes to the program, scheduling, crew assignments, or staffing
  • Facilitate and coordinate meetings with WA Corrections partners to evaluate and improve the program
  • Provide weekly work priorities for WA Corrections crew, WA Corrections staff, conservation cooperators, and volunteers


  • Work in a collaborative, engaged community of incarcerated individuals , corrections professionals, scientists, researchers, faculty, staff, and students
  • Provide valuable contributions to SPP programs
  • Assist in offering environmental education
  • Present the project at conferences, publish articles, and actively share knowledge with other groups about engaging the incarcerated community in conservation and education.
  • Provide valuable contributions to SPP programs and contribute to the establishment of the SPP Network

Required Qualifications

  • Currently enrolled in an Evergreen graduate program
  • Available to work 19 hours a week, mainly during office hours Monday-Friday (some hours may be flexible)
  • Subject-matter and technical expertise are desirable, but can be taught on the job and are not required
  • Excellent social and communication skills are essential.
  • Current driver’s license and available and reliable vehicle for trips to prisons in western Washington (mileage will be reimbursed)
  • Willingness and ability to work safely in a correctional setting and to communicate and collaborate with Corrections staff and supervisors to address concerns and respond to inmate requests; employment contingent on successful Correction’s security clearance (so program access is possible!)
  • Ability to lift and moving heavy materials, trays, and flats from 20-50 lbs.
  • Willingness and ability to follow directions, collaborate on projects, and give and hear feedback