Volunteer Job Description

Master Composter Volunteer Job Description

Purpose:
Master Composters (MCs) are highly skilled composters who educate and enthuse the public about the benefits and methods of composting. The Master Composter Program includes training sessions both in the classroom and through volunteering in the community.

Anticipated Audience:
Master Composters primarily work with adults. There are opportunities to work with youth.

Responsibilities:

o Attend meetings to plan events, share information and prepare for presentations

o Plan and co-teach classes, slide shows and compost demonstrations

o Set up and staff interactive compost displays at community events

o Manage or participate in demonstration site work (manage compost; maintain bins/site)

o Do research to update or create fact sheets and write articles for the public

o Provide technical assistance for on-site composting efforts

Expected Results:
Master Composters actively promote the practice of composting in Tompkins County, thereby helping to divert compostable materials from the waste stream.

Training (Total 40 Hours):

Classroom Sessions (20 hours)
Ten 2-hour classroom sessions are held one evening per week from February to May. Topics include the importance of composting, the science and the mechanics, as well as outreach and education skills. Presentations by specialists and trained MCs provide varied instruction on theoretical and applied aspects of composting. MC trainees receive access to online informational materials for future reference.

A deposit of $60 is collected at the beginning of training to cover the cost of materials. Three scholarships are available for candidates of merit. The training deposit is fully refunded upon completion of volunteer hours after training (see section below) thereby making the Master Composter Program FREE.

Practical Internship (20 hours)
During training, 20 hours of practical internship are required. This internship complements and reinforces the material learned in class and includes assisting with those activities listed in the Responsibilities section (above), class homework and experiments, and the creation of a compost mini-presentation. The Compost Fair at the end of training is planned, organized and staffed by the training class. As such, it is a mandatory component of the internship.

Volunteer Hours (Minimum of 20):
After completion of training, new MCs are asked to complete at least 20 volunteer hours by the end of the year. Activities include those listed in the Responsibilities section (above). While the practical internship involves learning by working alongside program staff, after training MCs assume responsibility for program activities. New volunteers often team up with MCs or program staff to coordinate education activities. New projects or initiatives are welcome, but must first be approved by the Program Manager to ensure that they fit within the larger program mission.

Program Support:
After training, program staff support MCs in their education and outreach activities for the remainder of their service. Program staff send out information at least monthly about upcoming volunteer opportunities and how to sign-up for them. Communication between MCs and program staff is expected to occur in both directions.

Reporting:
MC trainees are responsible for entering their practical internship hours online as they are completed. Similarly, after training, MCs are responsible for entering their volunteer hours online as they are completed. Program staff have access to, and may also input hours for volunteers when those hours have already been reported (i.e. on an event summary form).

Time Commitment:
Each trainee is expected to:

o Attend all classroom sessions (20 hours) - if a conflict arises, alternative means of instruction should be arranged with program staff

o Complete the practical internship (20 hours) during the training period, which includes: completing class homework & experiments, planning and participating in the Compost Fair and creating a compost mini-presentation

o After training, complete the minimum number of volunteer hours (20 hours) by the end of the calendar year

Qualifications:

o Basic interest in composting and community outreach

o Curiosity to expand understanding of the composting process

o Enthusiasm to share compost knowledge and skills with others

o Good communication skills - verbal or written

o Willingness to participate in a variety of Program-sponsored events

o Ability to honor the minimum time commitments to the Program

All Tompkins County residents are eligible to apply.

Benefits:

o Acquire new knowledge and skills shared by composting experts

o Reduce waste and produce some wonderful humus for gardening

o Improve teaching and leadership skills through community education

o Gain a personal sense of satisfaction by initiating community composting efforts

o Make new friends and work as a team with others who share similar interests

Level of Background Screening Required:

o Cornell Cooperative Extension Long Term volunteer application

o NYS Sex Offenders Registry & National Criminal History check

Last updated August 11, 2017