Maple Sugaring Assistant

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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 research in the form of avian monitoring and is a bird-friendly land management, demonstration site for the public. We have a working, traditional maple sugaring operation that produces between 75-100 gallons of syrup each year. Thousands of people visit the Center’s sugaring operation annually to learn about our wood-fired, bird-friendly process of maple sugaring.

The Maple Sugaring Assistant is a seasonal part-time position hired in mid-February and ending in mid- April. They will assist the Sugar Maker in all aspects of the maple sugaring operation and to support the Audubon Center staff in the preparation and implementation of community-wide Sugar on Snow Parties. Specifically, responsible for prepping equipment and preparing the supplies to tap the sugarbush, setting up and cleaning the sugarhouse, gathering sap throughout the season, stocking the sugarhouse with wood as needed and cleaning all sugaring supplies and equipment in the sugarhouse at the end of the season.

$15.00 / hour
Essential Functions:
  • Stack all sugaring firewood.
    • This position is responsible for the stacking of the large sugarhouse woodpile if there is wood to be stacked at the beginning of the season. The sugarhouse must be fully stocked with wood on a regular basis for the sugar maker throughout the sugaring season.
  • Prepare Equipment and Tap Sugarbush.
    • The sugaring assistant is responsible for preparing taps, buckets and other equipment needed to tap the sugarbush. The assistant responsible for tracking how many trees are tapped and for monitoring the condition of the taps and buckets as well as the productivity of the trees.
  • Assist with the tapping of the sugarbush.
    • The sugaring assistant is responsible for helping to tap the sugarbush on tapping day. He/she may be responsible for leading a group of volunteers on tapping day and giving clear instructions on how to tap a maple tree.
  • Prepare Sugarhouse for Maple Syrup Production.
    • Includes scrubbing and cleaning the pans, stacking firewood, wiping down counters, setting up the evaporator with the Sugar Maker and maintaining a tidy and presentable appearance inside the sugarhouse.
  • Gathering Sap.
    • This work includes gathering sap from all of the trees in the sugarbush each time the sap runs. The Sugar Maker will call the sugaring assistant to let them know when the sap will need to be gathered. We tap close to 600 trees. The work is physical in nature and can take up to a full day if there are not any volunteers to help gather. The sugaring assistant must be willing and able to drive a tractor in order to gather the sap. The gathering may happen on any day of the week, and may need to be gathered several days in a row. The work is weather dependent.
  • End of Season Cleaning.
    • This work includes the pulling of taps and buckets from the trees, washing, drying and neatly stacking the buckets in the sugarhouse and then scrubbing the pans and flipping them up-side down for safe storage for the year. Smoke stack must also be taken in and opening in roof covered. All sugaring tools must be cleaned, and the sugarhouse must be left in a clean, safe and presentable fashion. Much of this work is done with volunteers or a second assistant.
  • Work with Volunteers.
    • The sugaring assistant may work with volunteers on a regular basis during the sugaring season. If the sap runs during a Sugar on Snow Party, the sugaring assistant may be asked to gather with the public throughout the event.
  • Tractor Care and Maintenance.
    • This includes regularly checking the diesel, oil and other fluid levels in the tractor. If there is a problem with the tractor, it must be reported immediately to the Center Director.
  • Work at Sugar on Snow Parties on March 25 and 26 as needed.
  • Maintain a cooperative and productive working relationship with all Audubon personnel.
  • The sugaring assistant reports to the Center Director and works closely with the Sugar Maker and/or a other Sugaring Assistants.
  • External relationships include the public and maple sugaring volunteers.
  • Other duties as assigned.
Qualifications and Experience:
  • Maple sugaring experience preferred.
  • Holds a valid driver’s license.
  • Must have a flexible schedule and be able to work beginning mid-February through late-April.
  • Must have experience driving a tractor with a trailer attached
  • Willingness to work outdoors in all types of weather, including rain, sleet, snow etc.
  • Must possess the necessary motivational and physical skills to work doing hard labor for several hours at a time.
  • Self-motivated, detailed-oriented with the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • Must be knowledgeable about, and committed to, the Audubon mission and the conservation of birds, other wildlife and their habitats.
  • Must be comfortable using hand and power tools as well as the sugaring equipment.
  • Ability and willingness to drive a tractor with an attached trailer.
  • Able to shovel, chop ice and stack firewood on a regular basis. Able to lift, reach, climb, push, pull, carry and smile even while gathering sap in foul, cold weather with or without accommodation.
  • This job requires a great deal of physical strength and the ability to lift more than 50 lbs at a time on a regular basis with or without accommodation.
  • Able to attach a trailer to a tractor.
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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COVID Policy:
All new hires must be fully vaccinated prior to their start of employment unless they are pre-qualified by HR for exemption.