Education Assistant with the Audubon Society
May 26 through August 21, 2014
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, 43 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 46 states, and 700 staff across the country. Audubon is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).
The Education Assistant represents Seabird Restoration Program (SRP) to the general public as a narrator aboard seasonal puffin and wildlife-watching cruises, and as a greeter and museum interpreter at the Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland, Maine (PPVC). Education Assistants bring the story of SRP’s 40-year history to children, adults, and families, and help people to understand the necessity for this applied conservation work, as well as to inspire them to become personally involved in conservation action as donors and citizen activists.
After a three-day orientation session in Bremen (Maine), the Education Assistant will be assigned to an island research station for approximately two to three weeks at the start of the field season to participate in all aspects of research, monitoring and management. This provides hands-on experience and understanding of the mission and methods of the Seabird Restoration Program necessary for the educational component of this position. Island work may include (but is not limited to): bird counts and weather data collection, 3-hr observation stints from small blinds, bird handling, measuring, banding, data entry and assisting with habitat management projects. During that time, the intern will live on a seabird island with 2-5 other researchers and participate in various aspects of research and seabird management activities. Personal tents (2-person size, not provided) are used for housing on the seabird islands. Wood platforms for tents are provided. A sleeping bag and ground pad are also required, but not furnished. Primitive camping conditions include no running water and use of composting toilets. Solar panels provide limited electricity. Drinking water, food and propane for cooking are brought via boat and carried to the field camps.
The remainder of the employment period focuses on public education aboard two commercial puffin-watching cruises and at the PPVC in Rockland. Tours run daily; and though working hours are limited to 35, weekend work will be required. Weather permitting; there are eleven trips each week, split between education personnel once assistants are trained. The Education Coordinator will train the Education Assistant who will take on different parts of the narration and work toward developing a strong grasp of the materials. When prepared, the assistant will narrate solo.
Shared housing (private bedroom, shared kitchen, bath and dayroom) is located at Audubon ‘s Todd Wildlife Sanctuary, located at 12 Audubon Road, in Bremen, Maine. This is also the location of the SRP seasonal office and residences. D ue to program requirements and the early start of the workday, housing at the Sanctuary is required.
In mid-June, the Education Assistant will begin to take on responsibilities at the PPVC in Rockland on a two-days-per-week basis under the direction of the center’s Manager. They become familiar with the exhibits, store inventory and point-of-sale system, and how to greet guests, etc. S/he will also aid in logistical work in support of the field program. These duties, which typically are necessary on a daily basis, include: driving and picking people up at various project locations; assisting with food shopping and packing food for the offshore island field sites; cleaning and restocking informational brochures in the sanctuary’s public greeting area; conducting early morning conversations with island supervisors as part of daily check-ins; maintaining the housing’s “common space,” etc.
The Education Assistant may help design and present to local children and their families a weekly outdoor exploration program, to be held at the Todd Wildlife Sanctuary. This full-time temporary position runs from May 26 through August 21, 2014. Food and worker’s compensation are provided by Audubon.
Participate in field work including, but not limited to, bird counts and weather data collection, 3-hr observation stints from small blinds, bird handling, measuring, banding, data entry and assisting with habitat management projects at an assigned island research site using binoculars (not provided) and spotting scopes (supplied) to aid in the collection of data as specified by the Island Supervisor; Train with Education staff to learn: Audubon and early SRP history; how to identify Gulf of Maine seabirds; natural history of the Maine Coast with the goal of working independently as tour interpretive narrator; Serve as interpreter, field naturalist and store-keeper aboard commercial puffin-watching tours departing from New Harbor and Boothbay Harbor to Eastern Egg Rock, offshore in Muscongus Bay; Train with the Project Puffin Visitor Center Manager to learn: operation of remote wildlife cam equipment; operation of point-of-sale system; Visitor Center interpreter and inventory management procedures; Maintain inventory and sell books and seabird-related items aboard the commercial tours and at Project Puffin Visitor Center; Help create and then present a weekly outdoor education program to local children and their families, on our Todd Wildlife Sanctuary in Bremen, Maine; Promote SRP’s mission, and encourage tour participants and PPVC visitors to financially support the Program; Assist mainland staff with logistics, which includes driving to boat docks, bus and limo stops as needed; Assist mainland-based staff with procurement of supplies, packing groceries, research supplies and mail in waterproof island transport bags; cleaning and filling water jugs for resupplying research stations, etc.; Greet and guide new Seabird Restoration Program volunteers with shopping for, and packing of supplies for the remote island field camps.
Qualifications and Experience:
Currently pursing or recent graduate of Bachelor’s program focusing in Environmental Education, Environmental Studies, Biology, or similar. Must have an outgoing, gregarious personality, previous experience in environmental education, bird-watching, and teaching public programs necessary. A deep appreciation for wildlife conservation is a must, as well a strong writing and communication skills. Proficient in Microsoft Office applications; familiarity with spotting scopes, point-of-sale register system, camping equipment a plus. Ability to climb over rugged terrain and lift approximately 50 lbs; willingness and ability to camp in extreme weather, sit in small observation blinds with limited visibility for three-hour observation periods, and spend time at sea on boats also required. Must possess a valid driver’s license, as well as personal pair of binoculars, two-person tent and sleeping bag/pad.