Maple Sugar Maker

US-VT-Huntington
Type
Seasonal, Part-Time
Job Category
Education/Outreach/Teaching
ID
2018-3427
Huntington
VT

Overview

Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action.  By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive.  And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level.  What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 23 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country.  Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).

 


 

Position Summary

The Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington, Vermont provides natural science education for schools, families, adults, teachers and the general public. The Center also offers a summer day camp program for children ages 4 to 12.  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 also conducts scientific research in the form of avian monitoring and is a land management demonstration site for the public. We have a working, education-based sugarbush that produces approximately 100 gallons of syrup each year. Thousands of people visit the sugaring operation each year to learn about the process of maple sugaring.

 

The Maple Sugar Maker will work with staff to ensure successful operation of the 600+ tap maple sugaring operation at the Center.  The program utilizes a bucket sap collection system and s/he will be 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 a presentable condition both inside an out at all times and will work with volunteers and the Maple Sugaring Assistant on a regular basis to coordinate the gathering of sap. S/he must be available and willing to answer questions and demonstrate the maple sugaring process to students, teachers and visitors to the Center on a regular basis and is responsible for the timely breakdown and “closing” of the sugarhouse at the end of the season.

Essential Functions

  • Work directly with the maple sugaring assistant 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.
  • Distribute buckets in the sugarbush prior to tapping day. Work with the sugaring assistant 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 trees that are 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.  A safety check of all equipment and the sugarhouse itself must be completed prior to the first boil. Any safety concerns must be reported to the Center Director immediately. The sugarhouse must be maintained by the Sugar Maker in a safe and presentable manner (both inside and outside) for the season.
  • Determine when the sap needs to be gathered and coordinate the effort. Responsible for regularly communicating with the sugaring assistant to discuss the sap gathering schedule.  The Sugar Maker will call the sugaring assistant 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 assistant, 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 must also be taken down and stored indoors and the opening in roof must be covered.All sugaring tools must 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 three community-wide Sugar-on-Snow Parties held on weekends in March and April. Responsible for demonstrating the sugaring process and available to answer questions throughout the day.
  • Tractor care and maintenance. Responsible for safe and responsible operation of tractor as well as routinely ensuring all fluids (diesel, oil, hydraulic) are at proper levels. The tractor is always stored in the shop at the end of the day and the key should be hung in the established location. If there is a problem with the tractor it must be reported immediately to the Center Director.
  • 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.   
  • Clean-up and Breakdown of Sugarhouse at the end of the season. Responsible for taking the lead on sugarhouse cleaning and breakdown including the evaporator,  sap storage tanks, and all other sugaring tools and equipment at the end of the season. 

Qualifications and Experience

  • At least two years' experience boiling and running all aspects of a successful maple sugaring operation.
  • Ability to boil during weekday mornings while school groups are visiting is a plus!
  • Must be self directed, confident and able to make decisions in the absence of specific directions, to include the ability to make decisions requiring good judgment and complete knowledge of subject matter, including task sequencing, maintenance/repair procedures and safety procedures.
  • Must have a friendly, outgoing personality and enjoy working with people of all ages and backgrounds; experience working with children and the general public preferred.
  • Must have experience and be comfortable 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.
  • Must be knowledgeable about, and committed to, the Audubon mission and the conservation of birds, other wildlife and their habitats.
  • Must be comfortable around hand and power tools as well as all sugaring equipment.
  • Must hold a valid driver's license and also be available to work late February- April.
  • Basic proficiency in Microsoft Office applications required.

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