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Mosaics in Science Program - Position Description

Public Land Name: Badlands National Park
Position Title: Quarry Paleontologist
Agency: NPS
Position ID Number: 2012014
Location: Interior, SD
Position Description: The GeoCorps participant will assist the park paleontologist with the excavation of an Oligocene age fossil quarry. They will document, map and excavate fossils with a minimum of damage and disturbance. The intern ensures that accurate notes and documentation accompany all fieldwork, writes summaries and briefings of on-going activities, and provides information to the public on park paleontology and geology in a thoughtful and creative manner. They will consolidate and prepare fossil specimens, adaptively using manual, electric and air-powered tools. This position is offered through the Geological Society of America's GeoCorps America Program in partnership with the National Park Serviceís Geoscientists-in-the-Parks Program.
Materials to be produced by participant: The GeoCorps participant will excavate and prepare several fossils from the park quarry, which will be accessioned into the park museum collection. They will also assist with the drafting of the park quarry map which will be used to study the quarry in the future.
Qualifications: The applicant must have completed at least three years toward a degree in the geosciences. A graduate degree is preferred but not required. The applicant should have strong knowledge, coursework and/or field experience in paleontology, with preference given to knowledge of the White River Badlands. The ability to excavate and prepare vertebrate fossils is a plus. The applicant should be prepared to work outdoors in harsh weather, especially hot, dry, and windy conditions. Applicant must have a valid driverís license and a good driving record. Prior to starting this position a government security background clearance will be required.
Position Dates: May-September, with flexible start/end dates.
Position Duration: 12 weeks
Stipend: $2,750
Travel Allowance:
(For non-local candidates)
Housing Allowance: $0
Housing Details: The park will provide housing at no cost to the participant. The housing is apartment style. Kitchen, bath, dining, living room and bedroom, are shared with one other person. Apartments are located in the park. The participant should bring their own bed linens and kitchen supplies.
The dominant geologic feature in the park is the Brule Formation of the White River Group, a colorful sequence of rocks that form the Badlands Wall. Deposited within the Brule formation are fossilized remains of an ancient ecosystem that flourished around 30 million years ago. During the Oligocene Epoch, many forms of mammals became abundant and diverse. Researchers, through studies of fossils from the park, are constantly adding to the knowledge of the evolution of life on earth.
Work Environment: This position is field-based. The participant will need to bring hiking boots and clothing appropriate for fieldwork in a hot, dry climate (broad brimmed field hat, long sleeve light colored shirts, breathable lightweight field pants, field pack and water bottles etc.). Field work will be on rugged terrain, harsh vegetation and no shade. Temperatures in Western South Dakota in the summer can top 100 degrees. Afternoon thunderstorms with heavy rains, possible hail, and lightning are common in late July and early August. Participant will work out of the Badlands National Park Resource Management Office just behind the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. The visitor center is located 9 miles south of Interstate 90, at Exit 131. The Cedar Pass Lodge which includes a restaurant and gift shop is located just west of the Visitor Center. The closest city, Wall (pop. 800), has a grocery store, hardware store, clinic, restaurants, and several gas stations. Expanded amenities are in Rapid City (75 miles). There is a regional airport in Rapid City (United, Delta and American). A personal vehicle is required to access the nearby towns for groceries, etc.
# of current Applicants: 12

If you have questions about the application and selection process, please contact Matthew Dawson.  If you have questions about any aspect of the position — description, qualifications, housing, dates — please contact the primary or secondary contact below. The Primary and Secondary Contacts will not accept application materials sent to them via e-mail, mail, fax, etc. See the full Mosaic program details at the Mosaics in Science home-page.

Contact Name: Rachel Benton
Title: Paleontologist
Street Address: Badlands National ParkP.O. Box 6
City/State/Zip: Interior, SD 57750
Phone: (605) 433-5261
Contact Name: Brian Kenner
Title: Chief of Resource Management
Street Address: Badlands National ParkP.O. Box 6
City/State/Zip: Interior, SD 57750
Phone: (605) 433-5260