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The American Bear Association

  • 4303 U.S. 53, Orr, MN
  • www.americanbear.org

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Apply by Mar 01, 2022



min experience

salary range

$40k - $40k / year

Additional Job Details

International Applicants Allowed?
Work Visa Sponsoring Available

Job Overview

Director Position




Many years ago, a Minnesota logger made a decision that would greatly affect black bears and the attitudes people have towards this often-misunderstood animal. It was then that Vince Shute chose to stop shooting the bears that broke into his cabins. He tried a more peaceful approach and the strategy worked – no more break-ins. Vince claimed, “the bears aren’t mean, just hungry!” Thus, began Vince’s long and celebrated life with black bears in a tiny corner of the north woods near Orr, Minnesota.


Generations of black bears still visit his former homestead, now designated as The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary. The American Bear Association (ABA), a non-profit organization, was formed to manage the sanctuary and to promote a better understanding of the black bear through education, observation and experience. The ABA provides an unprecedented opportunity for visitors, educators, and photographers to observe and study black bears at the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary. Through education, the ABA raises awareness of the needs of black bears and promotes increased tolerance and appreciation for this often-misunderstood species.


Position Overview


The Director is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Sanctuary and Visitor Center in Orr. In collaboration with the ABA Board of Directors, the Director formulates the sanctuary’s vision, goals, and strategic plans and works to carry out that vision. The Director is the primary mentor to staff, interns and volunteers.


The ABA is seeking a highly skilled, passionate and motivated applicant for a full-time, year-round Director position. Must be able to work safely and efficiently while meeting tight and varying deadlines. This position will ideally begin immediately upon hiring.


Since the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary is a unique place, training and equipping the individual that fills this position is a high value and will be given priority. The duties to be performed by the director will include, but will not be limited to:


General Expectations:

  • Report to Board of Directors and keep them up to date.
  • Adhere to Sanctuary policies, procedures, and protocols.
  • Foster an open and inclusive work environment by modeling the ABA values, consistent with the vision, mission and strategic goals of the organization.
  • Demonstrate professional respect, empathy and kindness toward coworkers, donors and volunteers.
  • Educate the public about black bears, ecology, behavior, practical environmental conservation and land stewardship.
  • Continually devise and implement ways to promote VSWS/ABA to increase membership and drive improvement goals.
  • Maintain and manage key aspects of business operations including but not limited to staffing, advertising, marketing, communications, inventories, supplies and logistics.
  • Educate interns on bear behavior, biology and ecology. Teach management team to educate, lead and supervise 20+ VSWS interns in the areas of sanctuary operations, bear safety and public wildlife education.
  • Supervise bear feeding regiment



Hours and Compensation: Work schedule will generally be 50-60 hours per week from May-October; however, hours and days worked will be dictated by bear behavior and, therefore, will sometimes require longer days. Work schedule for November-April is typically 32-hour work week. Compensation is salaried.


Application Procedure: Submit a PDF containing a cover letter, your current resume, and contact information for at least 3 professional references to [email protected].

Special Benefits

Housing may be included. All meals included. Bonuses may apply.

Minimum Requirements

Must be 18 or older. Qualified applicants will possess a Bachelor of Science Degree, a passion for wildlife and particular bears, a desire to educate and an understanding of small business operations.

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