Head Naturalist

Maui Ocean Center Published: November 1, 2019
Maui, HI
Job Type
Education / Natural Resources/ Restoration /
(Number of Job Posting Views: 3)

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~ Our mission at Maui Ocean Center is to foster understanding, wonder, and respect for Hawaii’s marine life with local residents and visitors from around the world. ~          

We invite you to visit our park and develop an understanding and appreciation for Hawaii’s unique marine environment. Explore local culture as you encounter animals that live in Hawaii — many of which are found nowhere else in the world — and learn about the close relationship that exists between Hawaiians and the sea.

Character of the Position

Nature, scope and organizational relationships:

Under the supervision of the Education Director, the Head Naturalist observes, critiques and evaluates the Marine Naturalist team’s performance while creating and implementing training programs to ensure quality in presentations, proper branding and messaging. The Head Naturalist acts as a back-up for all Marine Naturalist duties including but not limited to; presentations, special tours, private tours, sleepovers, evening events and outreach. In addition, the Head Naturalist carries out administrative tasks to include assistance with scheduling, researching new educational content and the development of new programs & presentation materials. Serves as a liaison between Education and Curatorial team members with regard to joint presentations. Head Naturalist exhibits a positive attitude, enjoys working with the Naturalist team as well as the public and exemplifies professional and ethical behavior at all times while furthering the mission of the organization.

Major Duties & Responsibilities

(Average, Statements that reflect measurable results)

60% Percent of Time

Regularly observes Naturalist presentations and interactions with visitors. Monitors effectiveness of rotations and coverage in park to ensure the most positive impact on guests. Makes solution oriented recommendations to Education Director based on observations. Ability to supervise, lead and direct Naturalist team to achieve desired results through coaching and guidance. Develops a system to document performance of team through use of various tools (presentation analysis, video & audio recording, frequent feedback etc.) Able to work independently without direct supervision. Works well with others including the public, co-workers, volunteers, interns and stakeholders. Able to carry out all regular Marine Naturalist duties. Above all, HN acts as back-up for all Marine Naturalist duties.

20% Percent of Time

Assists with various programs including but not limited to; Sea Talks, Sleepovers, Crafts, Community Outreach, Petroglyph Activity, Night Events and Sales & Marketing initiatives (e.g. explore stations, dedicated naturalist tours, and outreach).

Collaborates with PR & Marketing to ensure educational material on website, social media sites, blogs etc. is up to date and relevant. Assists with annual review of department functions including job descriptions, training manual, budget needs, staffing levels, demographic trends, and signage. Responds to guest complaints and assist in resolving problems including visitor concerns or park wide service issues, etc. Escalates issues up the chain of command if unable to handle at Head Naturalist level.

20% Percent of Time

Orders and maintains supplies for department. Stocks crafts as necessary, completes weekly reports, and maintains accurate time sheets. Keeps work areas safe, neat and orderly. Travel as required.

Supportive Functions:

  • In addition to performance of the major duties and responsibilities, this position may be required to perform a combination of the following supportive functions, with the percentage of time performing each function to be solely determined by management based upon the particular requirements of the organization.
  • Supports the Education Director in carrying out the functions and goals of the department, especially in the absence of the Education Director including oversight of Marine Naturalists. Reports to the MOD should assistance be needed.
  • Acts as MOD once every 6 weeks on the weekends.
  • Assists management with additional projects and program development as needed.
  • Maintains a professional appearance in adherence with dress codes and grooming guidelines.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • An undergraduate degree in marine biology, environmental science, education or related field.
  • A minimum of one (1) years’ previous full-time work experience in the areas of eco-tourism, education, environmental science or related fields.
  • Must be proficient in using computers and various software applications for collecting & recording data, reporting, research, creation of educational content and the design of signage.
  • Ability to manage and effectively lead a team.
  • Exceptional guest service skills including public speaking and written communication skills.
  • Ability to read, write and comprehend the English language.
  • Adhere to Maui Ocean Center Ethics and Conflict of Interest policies as well as other policies as laid forth in the employee handbook.
  • Must be available for full time work which can include evenings, weekends, holidays and overnight functions on and off the property.
  • Ability to remain calm and alert especially during emergency situations and heavy park activity, following emergency protocol as set forth in policy.
  • Ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions including; wind, rain and full sun.
  • Must be comfortable with the use of electronic devices in the work place including but not limited to radios, DVD players, Media Players, portable amplification devices etc.

Physical Requirements:

  • Frequency Key: Rare – up to 1 hour; Occasional – 1-3 hours; Frequent – 3-6 hours;
  • Constant – 6-8 hours

The frequency of physical activity is as follows:

  • Constant – standing, near vision, far vision, hearing, and talking.
  • Frequent – walking, sitting, crouching/bending/stooping, reaching, grasping, and pushing/pulling
  • Occasional – climbing stairs and lifting/carrying up to 40 lbs., travel

To Apply

  • Please click "Apply on Company Website" and follow instructions.
  • Please mention how you learned of this opening.

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