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Spotlight on the Sunlight: Jobs that get you Outdoors
Spotlight on the Sunlight: Jobs that get you Outdoors 960 635 MPatton

One of my first real jobs out of college had me sitting in a cubicle (yes, the dreaded cubicle) facing a wall that was painted a bright, cheerful yellow. The sunny yellow of the wall didn’t do much to mitigate the fact that I wasn’t  seeing actual sunlight.

If that weekend itch to get out into nature, go hiking, kayaking, or just hang out with friends around a bonfire starts to become a week-long sting, a career in the great outdoors may be calling you. A lot of outdoor careers are in the sciences or recreation but you don’t have to be field botanist or a survival expert to find a career that incorporates the outdoors and your interests.

Sports Instructors:

Ski and snowboard instructors usually work in the hospitality industry or for a sports complex or training center. Instructor roles tend to rely more on history and experience than educational background. Ski and snowboard instructors generally also assist with trail maintenance and ski patrol and instruct people at all levels of ability. IMG_0135Instructors will need a good skill level and a working knowledge of gear, environment, and terrain, as well as weather patterns.


Gardening, landscaping, and running a nursery or greenhouse can get the sun on your back and the dirt under your fingernails. If you’re interested in running your own small business, this could be the opportunity you’re looking for. Owning and operating a landscaping company or a nursery gives a people person with a natural sales talent the opportunity to work outside, be creative, and work with people.

Nature Guides:

If hiking, trekking, and camping is your thing look into being an outdoor or recreational guide. Outdoor guides may require certification in certain areas like white water rafting and wilderness first aid. Nature guides work in a myriad of businesses: hospitality, travel, scouting, summer camps and with corporate outing ventures, much like United Eventures, to get groups of people from all walks of life engaged in outdoor activities.


Nature and art are closely entwined. Nature and wildlife photography can take you outside in a variety of landscapes and environments. Photography can be a dynamic and adventurous complimentary career; it’s not uncommon for guides and sports instructors to use body cameras to capture film and stills of their stunts, guide trips, and treks for promotional purposes. If you’re more of a people person, wedding and family photography can give you the opportunity to see new and interesting locations while helping families create memories to last a lifetime.

Environmental Impact:

Working in the green industry can take you outside for a cause. Surveying, forestry, and Ranger positions can keep you poised to make an environmental impact. A career in forestry allows you to help manage and clear forests in a sustainable and restorative way and promotes conservation, restoration, and stewardship of public and private lands. Some jobs in forestry require a Bachelor’s Degree or two-year certification. Some ranger positions require a background in law enforcement while others are geared towards educating the public on things like wildlife, outdoor safety, and environmental impact.

Better than a sun lamp.

Better than a sun lamp.


Not everybody can just ditch their day job and run off into the sunset after going all Office Space on the fax machine. Find a project or nonprofit agency that gets you outdoors and giving back. Volunteer for a team clean of your local park, or assist with trail maintenance on popular local hiking trails. If you’re interested in finding volunteer opportunities by you, check out VolunteerMatch or with your state or local parks and recreation department for what volunteer opportunities are available.


If the mountains are calling and that sunlamp on your desk isn’t doing you any favors, get out there. The world is waiting.

water, games, outdoors, heat, summer, activity
Beat the Heat with Cooling Outdoor Activities
Beat the Heat with Cooling Outdoor Activities 960 720 Emilie

With today being the first day of summer, and the temperature reaching the mid 90s, you might be picturing a summer in which you barely leave your air conditioned house. But just because it’s hot out doesn’t mean that you can’t get some exercise outside. Hot temperatures open up a door for activities that wouldn’t be half as fun otherwise! So grab a water bottle and some water proof sunscreen, and head outside for these great activities!

1. Water Gun Fight. Water gun fights are great because they let you cool down even though you’re running around in the heat! Grab your water guns and even some water balloons. Try forming teams and have an ongoing summer competition amongst members of your family.

2. Visit some waterfalls. Take a hike at Van Campens Glen. It’s a shady trail, and only 1.6 miles round trip, so you won’t mind hiking it even on a hot day. Plus, the hike reaches a small waterfall and gorge, perfect for cooling you down! Or, go to Buttermilk Falls, which stands as the highest waterfall in NJ at 200 feet. There is also a pond at the end, and the best part is the hike can be as short or as long as you want it! There are stairs going to the waterfall right next to the parking lot so that you don’t have to hike at all, or you can choose hiking routes that are 5 miles, 6.4 miles or 7.5 miles long.

3. Play flashlight tag or play with fireflies. On these warm days, sometimes it’s best to get outside when the sun has set. Try some nighttime games once the temperature has cooled down by playing flashlight tag or chasing after fireflies! What better way is there to welcome in the summer?

4. Give your dog/car a bath. Grab some water and suds and give your pooch or vehicle a much needed bath. It’s just a matter of time before you have as much water on you as your dog or car does! You’ll walk away feeling productive, but also cooled down. Or if you don’t want to give your dog a bath, try getting a small kiddie pool and play with Fido in the pool!

5. Rent a canoe or kayak. Try renting a boat at the one of many jersey canoe and kayak rentals, such as Mick’s Canoe Rental where you can kayak on the rivers of Wharton State Forest, or the Princeton Canoe and Kayak Rental which provides you access to Carnegie Lake. These rental places provide you both the boats as well as places to actually use them!

6. Play Marco Polo even if you don’t have a pool! As long as you have a yard and a water gun, you can play Marco Polo. The person playing Marco can use a water gun, and instead of tagging people, they simply need to squirt others with the water gun. Soon everyone will be wet and having fun!

7. Make a giant DIY Slip N’ Slide. The DIY Slip N’ Slide by The Relaxed Home School uses some simple, easy to get items like a plastic roll and pool noodles in order to create an amazing slip and slide! This will give you a higher powered, much larger slip and slide than one you would buy at the store, and without breaking the bank!

8. Tie Dye some t-shirts. Grab the tie dye and get creative with t-shirts or bandanas for your whole family. It’s sure to be a fun activity, and you can hose each other down afterwards to get any dye off of you. Better yet, make some smoothies or lemonade to drink as you make your shirts.