GSA Online Application System



Public Land Name:
Nebraska National Forest – National Grasslands Visitor Center

Position Title:
CLOSED Geology Interpretive Assistant

Agency: USFS

Position Type: GeoCorps

Position ID Number:

South Dakota, Wall

Accepting Applications? No

# of current Applicants: 28

Position Description:

Each project can accept up to 100 applicants. GeoCorps applicants can apply for multiple projects per season. Applicants must complete a cover letter for each project for which they apply.

For current applicants: You are considered a project applicant once you have successfully added the project to your profile while you are logged into your application form. The added project would appear under “POSITIONS YOU HAVE ADDED” for the GeoCorps America Program. You are encouraged to add projects before you complete your application components. In order to be fully considered for any position, you must complete all application components before the application deadline passes on 28 January. Login to your GeoCorps application profile to check the status of your application components, and make sure to complete any remaining items before the deadline passes.

The National Grasslands Visitor Center (NGVC) is seeking applicants for a paid 16-week summer Geology Interpretive Assistant project. The NGVC is located in Wall, South Dakota and shares the story of America’s National Grasslands with tens of thousands of annual visitors, building public understanding and support for sustainably managed public prairies. The position's primary duties involve developing and presenting formal and informal interpretive programs on a variety of topics, such as archaeology, paleontology, geology, biology and ecology, as well as the human history of the grasslands; along with answering visitor questions about recreational opportunities on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland, Badlands National Park, and other area public lands. Programs will be presented in a variety of venues, including inside the visitor center, the outdoor Living Landscape, and in the field. The participant will assist with development of interpretive and public information materials such as guidebooks, handouts, exhibits, and news releases. Assist in development and presentation of programs for school and after-school audiences. Answer visitor questions in person, via phone, or email for area public lands and the National Grasslands as a whole. Develop web and social media content, including audiovisual media, related to the National Grasslands. The participant will perform daily opening and closing procedures at the center, assist with general office tasks; and may be required to perform some general/routine maintenance on site, including some cleaning inside the visitors center and landscape work in the Living Landscape, mostly minor pruning and weeding. This project is offered through the Geological Society of America's GeoCorps America Program, in partnership with the Lands, Minerals, and Geology Washington Office of the USDA Forest Service.

The program encourages participants to follow the same guidance provided to all USDA Forest Service employees and partners, which is to follow CDC guidance and stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters that protect against the new and most prevalent variants.

Goals, outcomes, and deliverables:

  • Provide high-quality visitor service and interpretive programs.
  • Maintain and distribute visitor and program attendance metrics.
  • Produce a geologically-themed educational lesson plan/activities for children and school tours, including distance learning elements.
  • Develop or substantially revise geology-related interpretive programs and publications, depending on participant’s skills and interests.

Agency involvement (project oversight, mentoring, team building, etc.):
The NGVC Director will supervise and mentor the participant, who will at all times be operating under agency programs and protocols. The participant will be part of a diverse team staffing the center, alongside the director and up to five interpretive rangers, and the team will work together to accomplish the center’s mission of communicating the values of America's national grasslands to the public.

Professional development & learning opportunities: (trainings, certifications, networking, etc.):
Orientation, safety training, and other necessary training for projects and essential duties. Training in basic interpretive guiding and developing public communication skills. Additional required trainings in defensive driving, Civil Rights, and workplace safety. Education in archaeology, history, natural resources, paleoecology, and paleontology of Buffalo Gap National Grassland and the surrounding areas (to include Badlands National Park) as well as the other 19 National Grasslands and the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Opportunities to meet and shadow Forest Service specialists, including range specialists and wildlife biologists. The participant will receive career development guidance and mentoring from agency staff.

Leadership Development:
The participant will be a full-fledged member of a diverse team operating a high-profile public lands visitor center, with many of the same duties and responsibilities as agency staff. In this role, the participant will have the opportunity to develop and lead their own interpretive projects, potentially including physical products, electronic media, etc. depending on the participant's skills and interests. They will participate in interagency programs that bring together the NGVC with two National Park Service units, creating opportunities to engage and lead across jurisdictional, governmental, and cultural boundaries.

Presenting Project Results:
The participant may be asked to present the outcomes from their project to the supervising mentor and Forest Service staff near the conclusion of the position. The participant is also encouraged to present the results of their work at a GSA Annual Meeting or GSA Section Meeting.

Physical/Natural Environment:
The National Grasslands Visitor Center is located in downtown Wall, South Dakota, co-located with the offices of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland’s Wall Ranger District, just down the street from famous Wall Drug. Wall is along the I-90 corridor adjacent to the BGNG and Badlands National Park. Rapid City, the main “metro” area, is located 55 miles to the west on I-90. There are several other special destinations nearby: Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Custer State Park, Black Hills National Forest and Black Elk Wilderness Area to include Black Elk Peak, Indian Creek Proposed for Wilderness Area, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Devils Tower National Monument, to name a few. The NGVC is located about one hour away from the Nebraska state line and Oglala National Grassland which includes both Toadstools Geologic Park and the Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center; and about two-and-a-half hours away from Chadron State Park near Chadron, NE, Fort Robinson State Park in Crawford, NE, and Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Harrison, NE.

Work Environment:
The position requires both office and some outdoor work. The participant will spend a majority of the time inside the NGVC, but will also provide outdoor “roving” interpretation on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland and Badlands National Park, and occasionally give evening presentations.

• Major or significant coursework in geology, anthropology, archaeology, paleontology, history, natural resources, education, or interpretation is preferred. • Previous experience in interpretive instruction or teaching is preferred but not required. • Basic experience in geology, archaeology, anthropology is also a plus. • Basic knowledge of public outreach and communication tools and techniques to identify audiences and messages. • Be able to resolve problems independently during the course of the work. The mentor will provide assistance in resolving problems that have unusual or unfamiliar conditions, methods, or concepts. • Ability to develop, prepare, and present programs, including research and fact-checking. • Ability to follow established guidelines or verbal and written instructions from the mentor. • Work well as an individual and with a team. • Handle high-stress situations well and provide excellent customer service on a daily basis. • Ability to stand for several hours, and/or hike several miles occasionally.

Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident (Green Card holder). Applicants must have a valid driver's license from a U.S. state or U.S. territory (i.e., Puerto Rico) and a good driving record. Prior to starting this position, the participant will need to pass a background check either with the host agency, GSA’s staffing partner, or both.

Applicants must be eligible to participate in Public Lands Corps, which means applicants must also:

  • Be between 18-30 years old inclusive during the timeframe they would finish the project (military veterans are permitted to be up to 35 years old during participation)
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
Compliance with Public Lands Corps eligibility requirements is defined by the legislation supporting Public Lands Corps opportunities (16 U.S. Code § 1723 - Public Lands Corps program). Read more about the benefits and requirements of participating in Public Lands Corps with the USDA Forest Service.

Vehicle / Driver's License Requirement (If applicable):
Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident (Green Card holder). A personal vehicle is strongly recommended for touring/transportation and for errands (groceries and other essentials).

Position Dates:
June – September 2024 (start/end dates flexible; extension may be possible)

Position Duration: 16 weeks

Hourly Wage: $15.00/hour

Housing Details:
The participant will be provided government housing at the Wall Ranger District bunkhouse and will receive housing reimbursement. Depending on what COVID mitigation policies are in place at the time of the position sleeping space may be private, however common areas including kitchen, living room/lounge, and bathroom are shared. The participant is responsible for their own meals and transportation. Limited groceries and services are available in Wall; full-service shopping and services are located in Rapid City, 55 miles west via I-90. Carpooling to Rapid City for shopping trips may be possible.

If you have questions about the application and selection process, please contact GSA's GeoCorps managers.  If you have questions about any aspect of the position — description, qualifications, housing, dates — please direct them to the contact(s) listed in the project description. Remember, application materials can only be submitted online. The project contact(s) will not accept application materials sent to them via e-mail, mail, fax, etc. See the full program details at the GeoCorps homepage.

Kelsey Bean
National Grasslands Visitor Center Manager
708 Main St
Wall, SD 57790
 (605) 279-2125

Madisen Grenstiner
Lead Interpretive Ranger
708 Main St
Wall, SD 57790
 (308) 432-0330