GSA home

join | donate | contact us

[Mosaics in Science Program Home Page]

Mosaics in Science Program - Position Description

Public Land Name: Wind Cave National Park
Position Title: Field Paleontologist / Preparator / Curator
Agency: NPS
Position ID Number: 2012054
Location: Hot Springs, SD
Position Description: The GeoCorps participant will assist the park Physical Science Specialist with the ongoing paleontological site inventory program; document sites through photography and on-site data collection; and prepare, catalog, and curate all significant specimens collected during cyclic fossil surveys. 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 produce new locality reports, which will be added to the park paleo locality database. In addition, they will prepare, catalog, and curate all significant fossils collected.
Qualifications: The applicant must have completed at least three years toward a degree in the geosciences. A graduate degree in paleontology 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 Oligocene White River deposits. The ability to use GPS equipment is a plus. The applicant should be prepared to work outdoors in harsh weather, especially hot, dry, and windy conditions, and to hike over rough terrain, carrying loads up to 30 pounds. The applicant should be able to work well independently in an office setting, with little supervision. 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, start/end dates & schedule flexible
Position Duration: 12 weeks
Stipend: $2,750
Travel Allowance:
(For non-local candidates)
Housing Allowance: $0
Housing Details: This position does not provide free housing, nor a housing allowance. This position would be well-suited to a local student or professional who can commute to the work-site a few times a week and then complete the data analysis and reports remotely (from a home, work, or school office). The work schedule is flexible in order to help accommodate the housing/commuting situation.
Deposited within the Brule formation, of the White River Group of the Oligocene Epoch, are the fossilized remains of an ancient ecosystem that flourished near a couple large lakes around 32 million years ago. The park has around 2,800 acres of White River deposits. Paleo sites occur in small exposures found in windows in the prairie grass. To date, twenty one paleo sites have been discovered within the park.
Work Environment: This position involves 1/3 field work and 2/3 lab-based. For the field work, the participant will be part of a two-person field team and will work out of the Wind Cave National Park Visitor Center. Government vehicles will be available for field work. Field work will be performed in a park environment where the terrain is moderate to steep and uneven, with cobbles hidden within the prairie grass. Encounters with wildlife, such as bison and rattle snakes, are likely. Field work will involve moderate to strenuous exertion with long periods of hiking at an elevation of about 4,000 ft. 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.). 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 also work on their own in a preparation lab, preparing, cataloging, and curating fossil specimens.
# of current Applicants: 7

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: Rod Horrocks
Title: Park Physical Science Specialist
Street Address: Wind Cave National Park 26611 US Highway 385
City/State/Zip: Hot Springs, SD 
Phone: (605) 745-1158
Contact Name: Greg Schroeder
Title: Chief of Resource Management
Street Address: Wind Cave National Park 26611 US Highway 385
City/State/Zip: Hot Springs, SD 
Phone: (605) 745-1190