Vermont Educational Programs

Darla Belevich

VC Staff

Darla taught outdoor skills and physical education to generations of college students, introducing them to the joys of the outdoors in trips to Merck Forest, the Adirondacks, the Grand Canyon, among other destinations. 

Her hobbies include kayaking, rock-climbing and gardening.

Visitor Center staff member

Kim Davis

VC Staff

Eager to be engaged in the community, current events, and lifelong learning, Kim volunteers at Rupert’s Kitty Public Library, and is a member of the library’s reading group.

Stephanie Breed

VC Staff

Locals will surely recognize Stephanie’s familiar smile: before working part time in the VC, she owned and ran the Dorset Exchange Consignment Gallery — and of course, she is a local girl. She is delighted to join the crew at Merck, and we are delighted to have her!


farm work vt

Dylan Durkee

Farm Manager

Dylan grew up on his family’s dairy farm. As a farm kid, he learned all aspects of farm management, animal husbandry and crop care; he has broadened his skill set with experience working for an electrical and general contractor. 

Dylan’s passion is to raise healthy livestock and to manage the land in a sustainable manner. 

Hay wagon team
Tim Duclos employee

Tim Duclos


Growing up exploring the woods and waters of Vermont, Tim has long been inspired to conserve and protect our natural resources. With a BSc and MSc in the field of ecology, and experience working with a variety governmental and non-profit institutions, he is excited to apply his interests in land management, scientific research, environmental education, and civic engagement at Merck. 


Merck Forest staff member

Chris Hubbard


Chris spent decades as an educator and traditional folk artist. She’s brought that experience to bear in expanding Merck’s educational programs.

Chris and her husband have a small farm and enjoy sea kayaking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

kids learning
Family fun in southern VT

Cara Davenport

Program Manager

In an exciting development, Cara has moved from apprentice into a new role: as our newly-appointed Program Manager, she will bring her  passion for integrating  conservation, community, and outdoor work to a new generation of students. 


Merck forest employee
Marybeth Leu

Communications Coordinator

Marybeth joined us in 2015. She has over two decades of experience in the high-tech industry.

In her free time Marybeth loves scuba-diving, woodworking and puttering in the garden.

Liz Ruffa employee

Liz Ruffa


Liz Ruffa joins Merck Forest’s leadership team as its first Institutional Advancement Director.  From 2014 – 2018, Liz launched and expanded Northshire Grows, a regional food systems network specializing in farm and food education and business viability services.  Liz has also worked with Common Good VT,  VT Arts Council and VT Sustainable Jobs Fund since joining Vermont’s mission-driven sector. She serves on the Vermont Foodbank’s Board of Directors, was appointed in 2018 by Gov. Scott to the Vermont Community Development Board, and is a member of the Town of Dorset’s Select Board.  She lives with her family in East Dorset. 

Kathryn Lawrence

Kathryn Lawrence


Kathryn joined us in 2010. Her professional experience in finance and business is essential to our team.

Kathryn lives in Pawlet with her husband Rick, where they tend vegetable gardens, horses, cats and chickens.

Merck Forest staff

Rob Terry


Rob has taught in a number of experiential outdoor programs, and his passion is to foster in our  visitors the desire to connect in meaningful ways to the natural landscape at Merck Forest. 

He and his wife Anna enjoy introducing their two children to new adventures in the outdoors.



Seasonal Recreation Management Assistant


June 1st through September 30th (2 days/16 hours a week); start and end dates somewhat flexible and possibility for extension.




Merck Forest & Farmland Center, Rupert, Vermont



Position Description:

Merck Forest & Farmland Center is looking for a part-time seasonal Recreation Management Assistant (RMA) to play a key role in the upkeep of our recreational infrastructure during the summer and early fall field season.

The successful candidate will work under the direction of our Conservation Manager to both address cyclical maintenance needs as well as complete particular capital improvement projects. Cyclical needs involve the regular clearing of downed-trees with a chainsaw, as well as general maintenance and monitoring of trail corridor and tread conditions.

This individual will also be responsible for maintaining and monitoring conditions within our cabins on a regular basis and addressing any needs that may arise; this includes regular cabin checks/upkeep as well as identifying and addressing particular issues of damage or misuse of our cabins. We also process and deliver nearly 50 cords of firewood each summer to our cabins; a project which the RMA will play a key role. On occasion, the RMA will also assist with conservation related field work — most notably manual invasive plant removal, and possibly, forestry related work. An important component of this position will also involve recruiting and leading volunteers (both groups and individuals) to accomplish a variety of field projects in these arenas as well; stacking firewood, trail work, invasive plant removal, etc. Capital improvement projects on the docket for this year include increasing trail wayfinding and interpretative signage, updating signage in cabins, building and installing six new outhouses, building enclosure cages around our wood-sheds, and replacing two footbridges.


  • Ideal candidates are those having completed, or are in the process of completing, an advanced degree in the field of recreation management, resource management, environmental conservation/science, or similar environmentally focused discipline.


  • Demonstrated experience navigating and operating safely and effectively both independently and collaboratively in a dynamic, often remote, field-based setting.
  • Ability to follow oral and written directions and maintain quality communication with peers and supervisor.
  • Experience with, and interest in, recreational trail and cabin maintenance.
  • Experience with or ability to learn rough carpentry.
  • Experience safely operating a chainsaw as well as a variety of hand and power tools.
  • Experience and ability recruiting, organizing, and leading volunteers in the field to accomplish work projects.
  • Familiarity with conservation/environmental threats and concerns.
  • Ability to identify a handful of invasive non-native plants common to Vermont
  • Valid driver’s license and ability to drive large truck and side-by-side vehicles on rough trail and road.
  • Positive attitude and ability to adapt to changing work plans and priorities.
  • Ability to lift upwards of 50 lbs and hike long distances (as much as 8 miles a day) in a variety of field conditions.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office programs, as well as ArcGIS and use of GPS a plus.

To Apply:

Please submit via email, in a single PDF document: cover letter describing your skills and interests specific to this position at Merck Forest, resume, three professional references (with contact info), and your availability for June start and September end dates to Tim Duclos, Conservation Manager (tim[at]

Applications are due by Monday, June 1st, and accepted on a rolling basis thereafter until position is filled; interviews will begin shortly after June 1st.

Board of Trustees


George Hatch

Wenham, MA

Vice President

Ann Jackson

Dorset, VT


Kat Deeley

Lake Pleasant, MA


Keld Alstrup

Manchester Center, VT


Jeromy Gardner

Sandgate, VT


Jim Hand

Manchester Center, VT


Mark Lourie

Rupert, VT


Sam Schneski

Guilford, VT


Sue Van Hook

Cambridge, NY


Brian Vargo

Bennington, VT

Partners & Collaborators

Farm Based Education Network

Farm-Based Education Network


Environmental Volunteers

Northeast Organic Farming Association

Northeast Organic
Farmers Association

Northeast Woodland Training

Rutland Area Farm and Food Link

Rutland Area
Farm & Food Link

Solo wilderness

Solo Wilderness Schools

Vermont certified organic

Vermont Certified Organic

Vermont Huts Association

Vermont Huts Association

Vermont Land Trust

Vermont Land Trust

Vermont pure Maple Syrup

Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association

Many people contributed photos for inclusion in this website: Darla Belevich, Tim Callahan, Melissa Carll, Chris Hubbard, Katie Connor, Ethan Crumley, Kat Graden, Angela Kilpatrick, Aaron Lamp, Kathryn Lawrence, Marybeth Leu, Heather Richardson, Anna Terry, Rob Terry, Karl Uy. We appreciate your contributions.

Thank You!