Summer Naturalist

Job Overview

Every year, ACES offers an intensive Summer Naturalist program at ACES at Hallam Lake, our visitor center and 25-acre nature preserve in the heart of downtown Aspen. Summer Naturalists receive valuable training and experience while leading guided hikes and conducting environmental education programs at Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, the Maroon Bells, ACES sites at Hallam Lake, the Catto Center at Toklat, and Rock Bottom Ranch, and at various other iconic locations around Aspen. Many of ACES employees first come to the organization through the Summer Naturalist position, including many of our small administrative staff.

The Summer Naturalist program has dual purpose. First, ACES aims to provide the best possible learning and working experience to Naturalists. The second goal is to offer informative and inspiring educational interactions through ACES’ guided tours and classes.

Since 1985, over 400 Naturalists have participated in this respected program, many moving on to meaningful careers as teachers, wildlife biologists, university professors, environmental lawyers, veterinarians, non-profit administrators, sustainability experts, and more. More than 80% of all ACES employees first come through the Summer Naturalist position, including much of our small administrative staff who focus on programming, public relations, development, and finance.


  • Lead interpretive nature walks at Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, and the Maroon Bells in the White River National Forest
  • Assist with management of the Hallam Lake visitor center and 25-acre nature preserve
  • Learn about Rocky Mountain ecology
  • Teach environmental education programs for children
  • Conduct bird of prey programs with ACES’ resident injured birds of prey
  • Educate the public on ACES efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through renewable energy projects
  • Involvement in special projects including indoor plants and live animals, indoor trout stream and rearing troughs, garden and guided trails, and birds of prey program


  • Degree or focus of study in the natural sciences, environmental education, or related field
  • Strong communication skills
  • Self-motivated with a sincere interest in the environment
  • Experience working with the public
  • First Aid & CPR certification (completed by June 3, 2024)
  • Must be a US citizen

Dates of Employment

June 3 – September 2, 2024 (June 3 – 14 mandatory staff training)


  • $300 weekly stipend
  • Shared housing provided within walking distance of ACES
  • Weekly food box from ACES Rock Bottom Ranch
  • Tuition-free participation in one or more of ACES Naturalist Field School courses

Naturalist Summer Assistance Program

  • Beginning summer 2022, hired Summer Naturalists will be eligible for an additional $200-$2000 of funding to help with expenses associated with the position.

Check out photos from the program here!

Application Deadline

An online application will be available starting October 15, 2023. The application deadline is February 15, 2024

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is an Equal Opportunity Employer. ACES does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, genetic information, veteran status or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and organizational need.