Center Manager- Francis Beidler Forest
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).
The Audubon Center and Sanctuary at the Francis Beidler Forest (Beidler) is a critical asset in Audubon South Carolina’s network, located in Harleyville, South Carolina in Dorchester, Berkeley and Orangeburg Counties (in the fastest growing counties in the country). At Beidler, the general public should be able to learn through interactive exhibits, programs and lectures about Audubon’s priority conservation programs, including watershed protection and restoration, forested wetlands, bird friendly forestry, longleaf pine restoration, native plants and climate resiliency strategies. Beidler features a 1.75 mile boardwalk through a virgin cypress-tupelo forest (with trees over 1,000 years old), a canoe/kayak trail system, a guest cottage, a lakeside house, and almost 18,000 acres of habitat that are managed and restored as part of Audubon’s Climate Stronghold and Working Lands program. Beidler is open year round and offers different programs according to season. Fall and spring are full with scheduled school groups, Tues-Friday. Summer is scheduled with camps. Hunting and fishing club leases are also maintained. A medium-size gift shop in Beidler provides support for the center’s educational programs applied conservation work. There is additional programming opportunity to bring people, families, groups to Beidler Forest to learn about Audubon’s initiatives, on the ground nature based tourism, and re-connecting people to nature through the arts. There is opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion as we are seeking designation as an Important Site on the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom with National Park Center. The goal is to help transform Beidler Center from a nature center to a regional hub of influence on conservation advocacy issues, and to engage colleges and universities in continuing with existing and new conservation research.
Reporting to the Executive Director, the Center Manager is analogous to that of an ambassador, representing Audubon’s Beidler Forest Visitor Center (Beidler) as a cornerstone of Audubon South Carolina and as an integral part of National Audubon’s 43 Centers nationwide. S/he is expected to be a visionary thinker who can bring new programming opportunities to increase attendance, increase diversity of participants, and increase sphere of influence at the local level. The Manager also perform daily tasks that ensure the center operates smoothly and visitors have positive experiences that can lead to more engagement with Audubon and its national programs. This includes identification and implementation of new programming, and coordinating staffing of all education, conservation programs and scheduled events, managing small gift store (updating inventory data, fulfilling on-line order sales, restocking gift shop merchandise) and assisting with center and office administration functions. Special projects, like teaching educational programs, will also be vital role as the on-site Audubon ambassador. The Center Manager will need to learn all the priority projects and understand the relevance of Beidler within each program (Climate, Working Lands, Water, Bird-Friendly Communities and Coastal Program). Ideally, they would oversee creating an on-line store and an Artist in Residence Program as new initiatives, and identify/implement new ways to expand participation at Beidler. They are responsible for sound fiscal management of Center operations.
Additionally, the Center Manager should be prepared to plan and take part in special events that are held at the center. This may include, but is not limited to, staying late for the night lectures and community outreach meetings, fundraisers, special events, and participating in special activities designed for children, providing interpretation for scheduled group visits, etc.
This position is a full-time and the work schedule is 5 days on and 2 days off. Some weekends and evenings are required.
Public Programs and Outreach
- Be passionate about conservation and engaging people in high-quality experiential learning in nature, and have an interest in promoting and engaging diverse communities and multi-age audiences. Understands the strategic value of Beidler as ASC’s principal place-based asset, and understands that each visitor is a potential donor, volunteer, advocate and someone who might go home to their community and participate/promote Audubon’s recommendations for bird-friendly/climate resilient communities. Work with Executive Director, Center, and State staff to plan, implement and evaluate guest experience in the center and on-grounds. Oversee and supervise the development, implementation and delivery of a wide variety of general visitor education activities. Work with Education and Center staff to oversee and supervise the development, implementation and delivery of education programming created for school groups, community groups including homeschool groups. Ensure science, policy and conservation goals are emphasized meaningfully and appropriately in visitor and education programs. Design and implement educational programming for children. Work with Director of Bird Conservation/Engagement to incorporate climate related activities into curriculum and advocacy training (e.g. sending postcards and thank you notes to elected officials by school groups and visitors). Interest and ability to develop and promote Beidler to be as much of a demonstration site for many of our sustainable development and climate solutions, bird-friendly management recommendations, and know how to communicate with elected officials, general public and media on relevance of our demonstration activities to the larger conservation imitative.
- Coordinate efforts with staff and the national marketing team to publicize the Center and its programs by maintain up-to-date information on the website, utilizing social media (Facebook, etc.). Greet visitors serving as an interpreter sharing the story of Beidler Forest and the statewide Audubon initiatives as part of the Atlantic Flyway Strategy and hemispheric conservation with energy and enthusiasm during normal business hours at the Center and at special events. Operate the retail point-of-sale system to process merchandise sales and manage inventory of local sustainable products. Assist with annual retail stock inventory. Promote all Conservation Programs and encourage Beidler visitors to support Programs Oversee and supervise the day-to-day activities of Seasonal Education Staff, grow the Seasonal Naturalist program to encourage summer college and graduate school interns. Organize and attend special event lectures and assist with refreshment preparation Develop an active volunteer core to engage community people, to help add capacity to critical administrative, outreach, interpretative and tour groups. Hire/Train new volunteers and seasonal education assistants on visitor interaction protocols. Ensure volunteers are processed in accordance with National Audubon Society policies and procedures. Coordinate all staffing to ensure proper coverage for the center and special events. Coordinate/manage daily housekeeping tasks, including but not limited to washing windows, sweeping and vacuuming, cleaning and restocking restrooms, and dusting exhibits and retail shelves. Evaluate opportunity to redesign Center building, possible expansion, and update interpretation experience.
Qualifications and Experience:
- Bachelor's degree in an environmental education, environmental studies, biology, recreation management, nature-based tourism or business administration. 5-7 years of experience leading interpretive/environmental education in traditional and nontraditional settings, as well as 1-2 years’ in staff management and facility operations, required. An equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered. Excellent interpersonal skills, passionate about conservation and Audubon’s mission to protect birds and the habitats they need now and in the future. Must possess strong interpersonal and emotional intelligence; a dependable leader who can inspire and motivate teams. Team player with a sense of humor, flexible and adaptable, comfortable greeting, interacting and presenting to individual visitors, as well groups up to 40 persons. Commitment to high quality customer service. Takes the initiative, have ideas for expansion, experience managing staff or program and willingness to learn. Retail sales and point of sale systems experience is highly desirable. Tech-savvy, including proficiency with Microsoft Office applications and web-based systems. Experience with Salesforce and EveryAction highly desired. Familiarity and/or experience working in the non-profit fundraising area desired. A flexible approach to work schedules, with the ability to work some weekends and evenings as needed. Position has some physical requirements, such as coordinating outdoor activities, ability to walk the 1.75 mile boardwalk, canoeing/kayaking, program facilitation and event set up. Familiarity with live video cams and prior experience operating audio-visual equipment is highly desirable. Familiarity and interest in sustainable designs, low carbon solutions and help integrate into Beidler. Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion in staffing, and program engagement.