Science Communication Research Associate

The Great Basin Insitute

Kimberly, Oregon

Job Type: Internship

Salary: $28.83/hr

Start / End Dates: 30 week appointment beginning in July 2024

The Great Basin Institute, in cooperation with the National Park Service, is recruiting 1 Science Communication Intern for John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, in Kimberly, OR. Under the direction of the Paleontology Program Manager, the selected candidate will communicate with the public about the science and natural and cultural resources of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (JODA). The intern will develop an application for a Research Learning Center at JODA, work with paleontology and natural resources staff to create figures, maps, and publication, assist staff with mandatory NEPA civic engagement and public scoping for Environmental Assessment, assist with other NEPA documents and the pre-NEPA process for other projects, and work with interpretative staff delivering interpretive programs for site visitors. This intern will also participate in interpretive writing of waysides and exhibits as well as producing and reviewing social media posts for the site. Visitor outreach events will give the intern a chance to expand visitor interests and understanding of the monument. The intern will also provide interpretive opportunities to the visiting public focusing on the significance of Cenozoic fossil resources at JODA as well as the human stories and modern environments of the area. This will include presenting formal interpretive patio and popup programs, guided walks, digital presentations, social media posts, and roving trails. Training is provided to understand and apply NPS interpretive techniques and methods. The intern will also visit and work at each of the three monument units. Time is also provided to research and compile the content for interpretive and educational programs with the help of a mentor and supervisor. The intern’s background and interests, as well as current park needs, will determine specific special projects the intern will carry out to help expand visitor services. The desired outcome would be for the intern make connections with the public regarding science and resource stewardship with the NPS as well as JODA.

Duties Include:
• Preparing a Research Learning Center application for the park.
• Preparing and designing wayside panels to be installed in the park.
• Authors original articles, brochures, waysides, exhibits, social media content, interpretative videos, and scientific figures for a variety of lay and technical audiences.
• Assists with updates to the park website related to science communication.
• Serves as editor for reports, plans, manuscripts, brochures, waysides, exhibits, social media content, interpretative videos, and partners popular articles written by division and park staff and partners.
• Assisting with NEPA public scoping and civic engagement efforts.
• Assisting with visitor center operation through giving science based programs and talking with visitors through informal contacts.
• Working with a diverse interdisciplinary team at the park as well as throughout the region.
• Complete science communication training.

This position is primarily office based but will require some moderate physical exertion including hiking with up to 15 lbs of gear up steep slopes and over uneven terrain. Office work will be in the Thomas Condon Paleontology and Visitor Center which is the visitor center and museum for the monument. This position will be provided with office space and computer access for their work. Field environments can be extreme, including steep terrain, prolonged sun exposure, high temperatures, and large daily temperature fluctuations. Required field gear includes good hiking boots, a day pack, and water bottles. Suggested field clothing for hot dry weather includes a hat, lightweight long sleeve shirts, and tough long pants to withstand wear and tear on sharp rocks. This position may need to drive a government vehicle to research field sites and to attend meetings.

Contract Timeline:

• 30 week appointment beginning in July, pending successful completion and passage of a DOI Background Investigation;
• Full-time (40 hrs/wk)


John Day Fossil Beds NM is situated in the John Day River Valley and surrounding lands. There are three separate units (Sheep Rock, Clarno, and Painted Hills) which are between one and two-hour drives away from each other. The area of paleontological interest consists of over 10,000 square miles cooperatively managed by the NPS, BLM, and USFS. Elevation in the region varies from 1,500 feet to 9,000 feet. Vegetation includes sagebrush/bunchgrass steppe, junipers, and forests of firs, ponderosas, and aspens. Weather in summer tends to be hot and dry with little precipitation and high temperatures regularly exceeding 100 degrees F. The area is remote and rural, with several nearby towns (population <200 people) and more distant towns of several thousand. Limited grocery shopping options are available in smaller towns near the monument (~10 miles distant), but the nearest grocery store, pharmacy, and hospital are about 45 miles from park headquarters (Sheep Rock Unit). More facilities and services are available in the Bend area which is about 120 miles from the Sheep Rock Unit. The closest airport is in Redmond, OR, about two-hour drive from the Sheep Rock Unit. Other airports are in Boise, ID, Pasco, WA, and Portland, OR.

Compensation and Benefits:

• Wage: $28.83/hr
• Housing is not provided
• Medical, dental, and vision insurance available at no cost
• Paid leave and holidays
• Access to Prodeals

Qualifications / Experience Level Required:

  • Bachelor’s degree and at least one year of graduate school in earth science, paleontology, geology, biology, natural resource management, environmental science, science communication, or related discipline, or a combination of relevant education and field experience;
  • Enthusiasm about the position, with interest in and knowledge of science communication, public engagement, and public speaking;
  • Excellent organizational skills;
  • Reliable, team-player with strong leadership and communication skills;
  • Possession of a clean, valid, state-issued driver’s license.

Housing: No



Application Closes: 07/16/24

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