Sustainable agriculture, forest management and year-round experiential learning opportunities

Teaching and demonstrating the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland

Education/Farm/Forestry Apprenticeship Program


Merck's Apprenticeship Program provides an opportunity to be immersed in the day-to-day operations of a working farm and sustainably-managed forest, while learning the concepts and practices of place-based education. 

This position is a great opportunity for recent college graduates interested in pursuing a career in farm-, forestry-, or environmental-based education, or those wanting to work in the non-profit sector. The program runs for nine months, from mid-February through mid-November.

Program Areas:

  • Theories and practices of education

  • Leadership of school and volunteer groups

  • Program development for children and adults

  • Involvement with community events and workshops

  • Farm planning and production. Skills include driving and farming with draft horses, animal husbandry, gardening, tractor operation, and facilities & equipment maintenance

  • Maple sugaring
  • Forest management and trail maintenance
  • Opportunities for professional development

Vermont minimum wage for 40 hours/week, on-site housing, farm-raised eggs and meat when available, and access to garden space for growing vegetables.

Applicants must be at least 21 years old and be dedicated, motivated, physically active people, who enjoy working outdoors in all types of weather. Applicants need a strong willingness to learn, and openness to teach others. A valid driver's license is required, as is the ability to safely lift up to 50 pounds.

Teaching experience and experience working on a farm with equipment and/or animals is preferred, but is not necessary. No pets are allowed.

What past interns are saying:

"During the year, the depth and breadth of opportunities for learning have blown my mind. At work, I've cried in frustration while learning how to harness and drive the horses or when that darned piece of equipment just won't work; and I've laughed while chasing muddy pigs around the farm yard, working in the woods with the teen trail crew, playing farm games with kindergartners or simply eating lunch with the farm staff. I've found peace in the sugarbush, hayfields and berries, and been given a run for my money with the goats and rams. One of my most adventurous commutes occurred in March, when Old Town Road iced over so badly that we had to slide to work most of the way from the Lodge on our behinds. The same day, the wind was so strong that it blew me into a snow bank. Working at Merck has been nothing if not new, daring and wonderfully funny at times.

I can say with certainty working here has taught me more skills that will be relevant to my future than any other employer. Yes, we work with livestock and grow high quality food, engage with the public as well as drive tractors and make hay -- all of which have been extremely satisfying. I can now comfortably use a chainsaw and a crosscut saw. And working with draft power has been one of my favorite parts of the apprenticeship. But the less flashy aspects of the apprenticeship have also been valuable. Before January, I had no idea how to fix most broken implements, or do basic carpentry, or maintain vehicles or use a plow truck. Those skills, which should be a part of high school or college (and are not) will be relevant to me for the rest of my life. "

"Living at the lodge has been idyllic, and I will shamelessly rave about living at the lodge this year. I remember last year before I found this job, dreaming about what my perfect cabin in the woods would be like; a wooden structure with a woodstove, big kitchen, possibly solar panels for power and that is exactly what I found at Merck. I really can't imagine finding included housing this nice ever again.

The farm has been the backbone of my day to day routine this year. Chores bookend every day, and I have learned so much from this farm. It's hard to list all of the skills I have gained this year that I did not know how to do before. It is really an amazing opportunity for someone like me who wants to work outdoors and farm in the future to be able to work as an apprentice for the year and have staff members take the time to teach me the skills that I don't know...

After experiencing this apprenticeship, I feel much more confident and capable at problem solving and taking on new challenges. I think much more holistically when evaluating whatever task I happen to be working on, and I have enjoyed the encouragement and support of my teachers here who give me plenty of opportunities to learn, try, fail, and succeed."


Youth tapping a tree
Intern with Pigs
Apprentice in Garden
Intern on Farm
Intern on Wagon

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We are not affiliated with, nor do we receive annual support from Merck & Co. Inc.
We are not part of any government agency. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent
allowed by law and are greatly appreciated!

Banner photo courtesy of Dan Sullivan
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