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Park Naturalists

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This is a Demand OccupationA Demand Occupation is defined as follows.

The hierarchy for qualification is the Regional Demand
(the occupation had a entry wage equal to or greater
than 90% of the Economic Development Region (EDR) negotiated
wage as an average of all LWIA’s in the EDR AND at
least 25 annual average job openings in the EDR);
State Wide (the occupation qualified for at least
5 of the Regional Demands and thus was added to all
ten EDR lists); Career Cluster (the occupation is
listed on at least one of the six career clusters
Illinois has identified as priority [data is available
under the career clusters on the The National
Association of State Directors of Career Technical
Education Consortium website at ]), and Regional
Request (an LWIA received approval of a request to
add an occupation code to its EDR list based on substantiative
data and information supporting a need in the region).
NOTE: Only those occupations with a Source of Regional
Demand or State Wide will be eligible for incentive
bonus award under the Minimum Training Expenditure
policy requirements.

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Park Naturalists - Occupation Overview

  • Develop a variety of educational programs
  • Study the animals and plants in parks
  • Work outdoors and indoors
  • Typically work a standard work week
  • Have a bachelor's degree
  • Work for government agencies
  • Earn $61,907 per year (Illinois median)
  • Earn $61,100 per year (national median)

Park naturalists develop programs to teach park visitors about natural areas.

Park naturalists research park environments and develop educational programs. These programs teach visitors about the historical, cultural, or environmental history of parks. Naturalists use several methods to deliver information to the public. They lead park programs such as nature walks, outdoor skills, or nature crafts. They visit school classrooms to teach children about plants and animals. They write articles, newsletters and press releases.

Naturalists may take pictures or videos of places in the park to create audio-visual displays. They create interactive visual displays for visitor centers. They also create handouts so visitors can take self-guided tours. All of these programs help people understand the park and its habitat.

Park naturalists study the animals and plants in parks. They keep track of the types of animals that live in parks and where they live. Naturalists also consult specialists to learn about birds or animals that may be in danger. Through these conversations, park naturalists may develop ideas that they want to use for their educational programs.

Park naturalists perform routine maintenance on park structures. At larger parks, naturalists may supervise staff during the busy summer season. At smaller parks, they may use volunteers to help lead programs. Some naturalists work at private agencies writing grants to raise money for parks.


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