Position Title: Science Communication Assistant
Park Unit: Wind Cave National Park
Location: Hot Springs, South Dakota
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 20 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 01/06/2025
Flexible Start Date: YES

Weekly Stipend: $565.00
Relocation Allowance: $400.00

CURRENT NUMBER OF APPLICANTS: Under 75 (This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first.)

This position is a science communication and education intern. Primary duties will be creating educational videos/media content to be hosted on a touchscreen in the visitor center. The intern will use content (i.e. photos, video clips) that are already available and will create media products that adheres to accessibility for all (i.e. alternate text, and hearing and vision impaired) content. The focus is to educate visitors about current research by scientists and biologists at the park. The intern will create content that gives visitors a “behind the scenes” look at endangered black-footed ferret monitoring and research, bison landscape use of the park, and cave exploration. Intern will also assist in elk reduction operations (optional but not mandatory), winter elk counts, black-footed ferret snow tracking surveys, sharp-tailed grouse lek surveys, and golden eagle nest monitoring which will provide the intern a well-rounded experience of science communication and field experience.

To maintain a resilient grassland ecosystem, we must protect the web of life that exists within this ecosystem. The endangered black-footed ferret is a difficult animal for visitors to see because they are nocturnal, yet a fundamental component of the grassland ecosystem and significantly intertwined with the prairie dog. However, much of this in-depth knowledge is unknown or unseen by visitors to the park. The first component of this project will provide video of the black-footed ferret, spotlight work that is on-going by park staff, and the research occurring to stop plague from decimating ferret and prairie dog populations. It will provide the visitors a connection to the animal, educate the public why the ferret and the prairie dog remain imperiled species, and what the park is doing to save the species. The second media product will explain how bison use the prairie and prairie dog colonies, and how fire impacts bison landscape use. The 3rd product will take a video created by University of Iowa cave researchers and make it 508 compliant (accessible for all). These products will have a significant impact on educating visitors about these keystone species, and the significance of Wind Cave exploration and research.


  1. Black-footed ferret 3-5 minute video
  2. Bison landscape use media product 3-5 minutes
  3. University of Iowa cave research and exploration product: 3-5 minute video
  4. Data entry of wildlife surveys conducted to assist the wildlife biologist in population trends.


Required skills include: a biology degree, environmental science, or wildlife degree; a good attitude, strong communication skills, valid driver license, basic computer skills (e.g. Microsoft Word and Excel), and the ability to work independently. Desired skills include: writing skills, science communication experience, previous exposure to wildlife biology, and the ability to hike over rough terrain for short distances (up to approximately 3 miles) in a variety of environmental conditions. The best candidate would have experience with field biology, report-writing, and media content creation.

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident (“Green Card holder”). Prior to starting this position, a government security background clearance will be required. The applicant must be available to participate for 20 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

This position will primarily be in an office setting; however numerous field opportunities will be available.

The duty location of this position is Wind Cave National Park, Hot Springs, SD. The 33,970-acre park includes the sixth longest cave in the world with 150+ miles of surveyed passages. Approximately 70% of the park is mixed-grass prairie with the remaining area ponderosa pine forest. Numerous wildlife roam the park including bison, elk, mule deer, pronghorn, black footed ferrets, prairie dogs, and coyote.

Wind Cave National Park is located in the southern Black Hills of southwest South Dakota, approximately 5 ½ hours north of Denver, CO. Medical and dental services, shopping, restaurants, and churches of most faiths are available in Hot Springs (12 miles) and Custer (20 miles). The full-service community of Rapid City, SD (pop. 60,000) is 60 miles away. Winter weather ranges from sub-zero temperatures to 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit for highs.


  • Applicant must have a valid driver's license to drive a government vehicle.
  • A personal vehicle is REQUIRED for this position.

Park housing is available and will be provided at no cost to the participant. Single unit or 2-bedroom park housing is readily available during the winter months. Housing units have a bedroom, living room, bathroom and kitchen. It comes furnished with a single bed, dressers, coffee table, couch, stove/oven, kitchen table, refrigerator and microwave. Participant will need to provide their own bedding (single bed), shower supplies, and all kitchen items (dishes, silverware, cooking items, etc.). Laundry area is shared. Wi-Fi is minimal but you may purchase Wi-Fi through the local telephone company. Seasonal interpretive staff will be in housing and the housing coordinator often assigns units next to each other to build relationships between staff. You may request a single or 2-bedroom unit.

Science Communication, Bison, Endangered Black-Footed Ferret

This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications, or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first. Once you begin applying for a position, the application must be completed in one sitting. You cannot save and return later to complete it. Applicants can apply for up to five Scientists in Parks Intern positions per winter. You need to complete a separate application for each position in order to be considered. You should receive a confirmation email after successfully submitting an application. Sometimes institutional email filters/settings can redirect or block emails related to the application. We recommend watching spam, junk, and promotional email folders in case your service delivers messages there. Please visit How to Apply for additional resources and information about applying (i.e., learn what materials to have ready for applying, find a worksheet that previews application questions, etc.)