Maple Sugar Maker

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Burlington, VT, United States

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5 days ago

The National Audubon Society is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. We work throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state, regional, national, and international programs, nature centers, and chapters have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. As a sentinel species, we recognize that the fate of birds is inextricably tied to the fate of us all.

Audubon has more than 700 staff working across the United States and seven countries in 17 state and regional offices, 41 nature centers, and 23 wildlife sanctuaries. Together as one Audubon, we aspire to alter the course of climate change and habitat loss, leading to healthier bird populations and reversing current trends in biodiversity loss.

Audubon is committed to a culture of workplace excellence, where our talented and diverse staff are deeply engaged, with a strong sense of belonging. The birds Audubon pledges to protect differ in color, size, behavior, geographical preference, and countless other ways. By honoring and celebrating the equally remarkable diversity of the human species, Audubon will bring new creativity, effectiveness, and leadership to our work throughout the hemisphere.
Position Summary:
The Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington, Vermont provides conservation education for schools, families, adults, teachers and the public. The Center also offers a summer day camp program for children ages 3 to 13. Audubon education programs provide people with direct experiences in nature. Our programs are outdoors, science-based, interactive, and lead participants to take action to help protect birds, other wildlife and their habitats. The Center conducts scientific research in the form of avian monitoring and is a bird-friendly, land management demonstration site. We have a working, education-based sugarbush that produces between 75 and 100 gallons of bird-friendly syrup each year. Thousands of people visit the sugaring operation annually to learn about bird-friendly maple syrup production.

The Sugar Maker is a seasonal part-time position, hired in mid-February through mid-April. This position will work with Audubon staff to ensure a safe and successful operation of the 600 tap maple sugaring operation at the Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington, Vermont. Audubon uses buckets to gather sap to highlight the traditional gathering method. Specifically, responsible for preparing the sugarhouse for the season, including setting up the arch, evaporator pan and all other sugaring facilities to ensure the production of maple syrup will take place with the first sap run. The Maple Sugar Maker will keep the sugarhouse in presentable condition both inside an out at all times. The Sugar Maker will work with volunteers and the Maple Sugaring Assistants on a regular basis to coordinate the gathering of sap. The Sugar Maker reports to the Center Director. They must be available and willing to answer questions and demonstrate the maple sugaring process to students, teachers and other visitors to the Center. Responsible for the timely breakdown, cleaning and closing of the sugarhouse at the end of the season.

$16.00 to $17.00 / hr
Essential Functions:
  • Work directly with the maple sugaring assistants to run the day-to-day sugaring operations at the Center.
    • Responsible for developing an efficient system for sap gathering, wood stacking and boiling for the duration of the sugaring season.
  • Help to distribute buckets in the sugarbush prior to tapping day.
    • Work with the sugaring assistants to scatter buckets and lids at the bases of healthy, maple trees prior to tapping day in late February. Responsible for keep an accurate record of all areas of the sugarbush tapped.
  • Assist with the tapping of the sugarbush.
    • Responsible for helping to coordinate and participate in tapping of the sugarbush. May be responsible for leading a group of volunteers and giving clear instructions on how to tap a tree.
  • Set-up and safety check of the sugarhouse prior to the first boil.
    • Responsible for cleaning the pans, assembly of the smokestack, stacking and splitting of firewood, wiping down of counters and other surfaces, repairing any equipment that may need it, general cleaning and setting up of the evaporator. Safety checks of all equipment and the sugarhouse will be completed prior to the first boil. Any safety concerns must be reported to the Center Director immediately. The Sugar Maker will maintain the sugarhouse in a safe and presentable manner for the season.
  • Determine when the sap will be gathered and coordinate the gathering effort.
    • Responsible for regularly communicating with the Sugaring Assistants to discuss the sap gathering schedule. The Sugar Maker will notify the sugaring assistants and any volunteers 24 hours in advance (when possible) to inform when the sap will need to be gathered.
  • Bucket gathering, bucket washing and sugarhouse clean-up.
    • Responsible, along with Sugaring Assistants, for the pulling of taps and buckets from the trees; washing, drying and neatly stacking the buckets in the sugarhouse; and thoroughly cleaning the pans and flipping them up-side down for safe storage. The smokestack will be taken down and stored indoors and the opening in roof must be covered. All sugaring tools will be cleaned and accounted for and the sugarhouse must be closed for the season and left in a clean, safe and presentable fashion both inside and out.
  • Work with volunteers, students and visitors to the Center.
    • The Sugar Maker will work with volunteers on a regular basis during the sugaring season on various aspects of the sugaring process. School groups and other visitors to the Center (of all ages) visit the sugarhouse on a regular basis throughout the season. The Sugar Maker is responsible for the safety and well-being of all visitors to the sugarhouse and is responsible for answering questions and demonstrating the sugaring process to the general public as well as organized groups.
  • Work at our Sugar-on-Snow Parties.
    • The Sugar Maker will work in the sugarhouse at our two community-wide Sugar-on-Snow Parties on Vermont’s Maple Open House weekend in March (March 25-26). Responsible for demonstrating the sugaring process and will be available to answer questions throughout the day.
  • Tractor care and maintenance.
    • Responsible for safe and responsible operation of Audubon’s tractor as well as routinely checking all fluids
  • Perform all record keeping related to maintenance of sugaring supplies and the production of maple syrup.
    • Responsible for tracking all syrup produced by date, time, grade and # of gallons canned after each boil. Sugaring tools/materials need to be accounted for at the end of the season and a list of new materials that will be needed for the following season will need to be completed.
  • Shut down the Sugarhouse at the end of the season.
    • Responsible for cleaning and disassembling the sugarhouse equipment, including the evaporator, sap storage tanks, and all other sugaring tools at the end of the season with help from the Maple Sugaring Assistants.
  • Other duties as assigned.
Qualifications and Experience:
  • At least two years of maple sugaring experience.
  • Experience driving a tractor is preferred.
  • Enjoys interacting with the public and has a friendly demeanor.
  • Experience managing volunteers is helpful.
  • Maintain a cooperative and productive working relationship with all Audubon personnel.
  • Must have reliable transportation to and from the Center.
  • External relationships include the public, school groups and maple sugaring volunteers.
EEO Statement:
The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
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