• Cook County Habitat Restoration Crew Chief

    Job Locations US-IL-Chicago
    Seasonal, Full-Time
    Job Category
    Land Stewardship
  • 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, 22 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country.  The Audubon Great Lakes program is dedicated to building a culturally diverse organization and strongly encourages applications from people of color and women. Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). 



    Position Summary

    Under the direction of Audubon's Stewardship Coordinator, the Crew Chief will lead Habitat Restoration Interns in restoring the ecological health and integrity in prairie, savanna and woodland habitats at various preserves in Cook County. This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in crew management and land stewardship responsibilities, as well as develop leadership and organizational skills. The Crew Chief will be expected to balance crew management in the field with daily administrative duties. 


     The commitment is a full-time, 40 hours per week, seasonal position that runs from June through October. The 40-hour work week requires commitment to Monday through Friday, 7am-3pm schedule with the flexibility to work occasional weekends to support community outreach and stewardship. The Crew Chief will report to the Stewardship Coordinator and should commit to the full length of the internship. This internship is being offered by Audubon and is in partnership with the Forest Preserves of Cook County. 


    This internship offers:

    • Paid Internship with competitive compensation.
    • Reimbursement of mileage/transit to and from meeting sites.
    • Work t-shirts and muck boots provided and/or reimbursed by Audubon.
    • Certifications, field trips, licensing reimbursed by Audubon.


    Essential Functions

    The Habitat Restoration Crew Chief will receive on-the-job training and develop skills in a variety of practices related to the management of natural habitats, including:


    • Communicating regularly with Audubon, Forest Preserves and other partner staff and crews regarding weekly scheduling, inter-intern workdays, mapping of projects, request for assistance on site and any necessary updates by phone and email.
    • Lead a crew in the implementation of ecological management and restoration of Forest Preserves sites, while working alongside crews as a teammate.
    • Brush and weed management by using a wide variety of tools, including: backpack herbicide sprayers, chainsaws, brushcutters and hand tools.
    • Restoration techniques, including plant identification, planting native plugs, seed collection, processing and dispersal, and when applicable, controlled burns.
    • Ability to test for and obtain IL Herbicide Applicator License, and obtain certifications in Brushcutter/Chainsaw Feller 1 and Chicago Wilderness Prescribed Burn training courses.
    • Learn effective collaboration by working alongside additional restoration crew leaders and crews, volunteers and Forest Preserves staff.
    • Attend educational trainings and events to gain exposure to other conservation organizations and professionals for the purpose of future job placement.
    • Interaction with members of the public visiting the natural area during occasional weekend volunteer days and work week.

    Qualifications and Experience

    • Must have access to a car for transportation to work sites.
    • Recent graduate of an institution of higher learning OR previous experience in habitat restoration preferred.
    • Ability to motivate and lead a small team, follow instructions, make independent decisions, and maintain team work ethic and spirit.
    • Ability to quickly study for and pass the Illinois Herbicide Applicator Test (review materials will be provided).
    • Experience with, or ability to quickly learn, safe usage of basic maintenance tools including: hand tools, brushcutters and chainsaws.
    • Ability to work in inclement weather conditions, withstanding extreme temperatures, heavy mosquito presence and difficult terrain.
    • Ability to lift, carry and move heavy objects up to 50lbs.
    • Ability to perform repetitive tasks with attention to detail.
    • Ability to follow instructions and use independent judgment in decisions, as needed.
    • Willingness to work a flexible schedule, including some weekends, as applicable.
    • Strong interest in conservation and/or working outdoors.
    • Must be 18 years or older with ability to work 40 hours per week, June-October.



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