Saw Crew Member - Summer 2024
Title: Chainsaw Crew Member
Location: Based out of Harrisonburg, VA
Start Date: May 27th, 2024
End Date: August 13th, 2024
Status: This is a full-time, seasonal 450-hour AmeriCorps National Service position.
Compensation: $400/week living stipend, $200/week housing stipend, AmeriCorps Education Award on completion
Appalachian Conservation Corps:
Appalachian Conservation Corps (ACC) works to connect young people to critical conservation service work across Appalachia and neighboring communities in Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, DC, and Pennsylvania. As a corps program, ACC partners with public land managers to identify, plan, and complete projects that improve public access, habitat quality, and economic development. ACC is a program of Conservation Legacy, a nationwide network of conservation service organizations. Our programs focus on service, place-based learning, life skills development, appreciation of diversity, civic responsibility, and career development. ACC also provides an opportunity for members to learn about the local environment and issues affecting it and introduces individuals to recreation and resource management careers. ACC welcomes national applicants, but also emphasizes the engagement of local individuals who represent the communities in which they serve.
The chainsaw crew member position is an entry-level role on a beginner chainsaw crew. Crew members are supported on a variety of levels, by their crew leaders, program staff, project partners, and Conservation Legacy staff. This crew will be trained in and expected to safely use chainsaws, crosscut saws, and other trail tools to complete a variety of conservation projects in partnership with local public land managers. The chainsaw crew provides a supportive learning environment where members work with, learn from, and grow with one another while gaining skills and certifications to propel them into a career in environmental stewardship. While prior experience with the outdoors or outdoor work can be helpful, it is not a necessity for this position. We ask that crew members embrace learning opportunities, face challenges, and build community with their crew.
Projects take place across the Appalachian Region, including work with the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, and other land managers. During their time in the field, crew members camp overnight and work outdoors in all types of weather conditions, performing heavy manual labor related to environmental conservation and restoration projects. These hands-on projects include visitor access improvements, trail construction and maintenance, habitat restoration, invasive species treatments, historic restoration, disaster relief, and much more. Most projects require hiking out to remote work sites for the day with tools, equipment, and day pack.
Typically, crew members will meet at the ACC Office in Harrisonburg, travel in a crew vehicle to their project site and remain in the field for 9 days at a time, followed by 5 days off. While in the field, crew members work 8-10 hours a day. The day starts with a stretch circle and safety meeting and includes two fifteen-minute breaks and a half hour break for lunch.
Prior to their start date, selected crew members must begin their background check process and complete an online enrollment process which includes completing e-forms, uploading IDs, and enrolling with AmeriCorps. For those with limited access to online platforms, accommodations may be available and can be discussed during the interview process.
Crew members with ACC serve on a crew with 4 crew members and 2 crew leaders who provide project expertise, mentorship, training, and support for the success of all participants. Food is provided while in the field. Crews work together to plan meals and complete all necessary chores (cooking, washing dishes, etc.). Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated if known ahead of time. Many evenings include group discussions on conservation topics.
ACC supports a culture of feedback and growth. Crew members will set goals at the beginning of the season and review their performance through both self-evaluation and a review with their crew leader in the middle and at the end of their season. Evaluations will cover areas such as professionalism, responsibility and leadership, communication, engagement, productivity, safety, and equipment use. Crew members will also be asked to evaluate their crew leaders’ performance, the overall program, and their experience at the end of their term.
ACC is an independent, non-residential program. Crew Members are responsible for their own housing, food, and transportation when not in the field. While members will be asked to supply as much of their personal equipment as possible, loaner gear will be available if needed, especially for more expensive items such as tents and sleeping bags. A gear list is provided upon acceptance into the program. Please ask immediately if there is loaner gear you require. In addition to providing food while in the field, ACC will provide group camp equipment, tools, protective gear, and transportation between ACC Offices and project sites.
Crew members are asked to work hard, stay positive, and be flexible with changing schedules, weather conditions, and project needs. This is a seasonal position; Crew Members are expected to fully commit to the experience, expectations, and timeline.
- $400/week living stipend, $200/week housing stipend, paid bi-weekly
- AmeriCorps Segal Education Award upon successful completion of service term (award amount varies based on length of commitment and can be used for paying off federal student loans or paying tuition for a Title IV accredited college)
- Possible student loan forbearance
- Member Assistance Program – 3 free sessions of support with a counseling or work-life balance specialist
- Uniform shirts, helmet, work gloves, eye protection, and other necessary safety equipment is provided
- On-the-job training
- Depending upon the academic institution and program, crew member positions may fulfill internship requirements
- Professional development opportunities (mentorship, resume support, alumni listserv, etc.) and exposure to natural resource career paths
- Must have first aid and CPR certification or be willing to earn before start date
- Be between the ages of 18 and 30 (exception for veterans up to age 35)
- Have US Citizenship or Legal Permanent Residency status
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Pass background checks: all offers of positions are conditional upon completion of an acceptable check of the National Sex Offender Public Registry and Federal and/or State criminal background check
- Must be eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Education Award (individuals are eligible if they have not already completed 2 full years of AmeriCorps service, or 4 AmeriCorps service terms, whichever comes first – please contact us if you are unsure of your eligibility)
- No previous experience is required, but a general comfort and previous knowledge of working/living in an outdoor setting is helpful.
Participant Essential Eligibility Requirements
Essential eligibility requirements for the program must be met. If you are unable to meet certain requirements, we may be able to assist you with some modification unless it alters the fundamental nature of the program, compromises the health and safety of participants or staff, or places an undue financial or administrative burden on the organization. These requirements are written the same for all positions and therefore may not apply directly to your particular position.
Participation and Expedition Behavior
- Work effectively as a member of a team, despite potentially stressful and difficult conditions. This may require problem solving on an interpersonal or group level as well as a willingness to accept differences
- Contribute to a safe learning environment; no harassment of others will be tolerated for any reason.
- Willingness and ability to complete all aspects of the program including conservation projects, education, training, and national service. Members must commit to participating in all crew/team activities, including service days in local communities where applicable.
- Effectively communicate ideas and concerns as they arise directly to supervisors, colleagues and organization staff.
- Have the ability to learn necessary skills and apply them to effectively carry out the service work requirements
- Appropriately represent ACC and AmeriCorps to the public and project partners at all times.
Safety and Judgment
- Effectively communicate danger to others in the form of either a warning of danger others may be encountering or a notification of personal distress, injury or need for assistance. You must be able to do so at a distance of up to 50 meters and in conditions with limited visibility or loud background noise such as darkness or high winds.
- Effectively perceive, understand and follow directions by others so that you can successfully execute appropriate and perhaps unfamiliar techniques to manage hazards. These directions may be given before the hazard is encountered or may need to be given during exposure to the hazard.
- Stay alert and focused for several hours at a time while traveling and working in varied weather conditions
- Perceive and comprehend significant and apparent hazards, including those hazards previously identified by others.
- Respond appropriately to stress or crises.
- If taking prescription medications, participants must be able to maintain proper dosage by self-medicating without assistance from others.
Environmental Ethics and Outdoor Skills
- Learn and practice ‘Leave No Trace’ techniques
- Learn and safely perform fundamental outdoor living/travel and work skills as appropriate to the project.
- Remain adequately hydrated, fed, and properly dressed to remain generally healthy and safe, avoiding environmental injuries.
- Live in a physically demanding, possibly remote environment for an uninterrupted period of up to several weeks. Conditions of this environment may vary significantly and may include severe weather. Some remote locations may require at a minimum one hour, but perhaps in excess of 12 hours, to reach the nearest advanced medical care.
- In accordance with a drug free workplace, alcohol and drugs are prohibited while participating in AmeriCorps and program activities and while on organization property.
Equal Employment Opportunity
This program is available to all, without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or expression, political affiliation, marital or parental status, genetic information, and military service. Where a significant portion of the population eligible to be served needs services or information in a language other than English, the recipient shall take reasonable steps to provide written material of the type ordinarily available to the public in appropriate languages.
This position is located in Harrisonburg, VA. View the Google Map in full screen.