Position Title: Ecology Assistant
Park Unit: Northern Great Plains Network
Location: Rapid City, South Dakota
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 52 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 10/28/2024
Flexible Start Date: YES

Weekly Stipend: $665.00
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.)

The Northern Great Plains Inventory and Monitoring Network (NGPN) is a subunit of the National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Program is responsible for monitoring ecological ‘vital signs’ in thirteen National Park units across Wyoming, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. ‘Vital signs’ are environmental indicators that help us determine if the ecosystems within our National Parks are healthy.

The position will work on data management tasks to assist the network, working with network staff to develop replicable data workflows including importing data into IRMA and EQuiS. The intern will get the opportunity to critically evaluate data, update SOPs, assist with creating data packages and data dictionaries and collaborate in the reporting process.

Data dictionaries and packages can be created. Web content on the ‘What We Monitor’ section of the NGPN website needs to be created for the Stream Channel protocol as well. Some web-based reporting content can also be created.

Macroinvertebrate monitoring has been on-going at Agate Fossil Beds since 1989. A cooperator at Wyoming Natural Diversity Database is the PI for the project. The recent data consists of .csv files. We would like to import data into water quality portal and develop a process for annual bulk upload.

This position will help you further develop your programming and project management skills. Day to day tasks will involve creating excel sheets that serve as the cross-walk between our data reporting sheets and EQuiS/water quality portal, updating outdated SOPs that now use different programs and equipment. There may be a field component to this position. This is an opportunity to make a lasting and meaningful contribution to natural resource management in parks served by NGPN.

The intern will have a unique opportunity to contribute to the understanding of natural resources at NGPN parks by assisting in data management and data sharing.


The primary product will be data products for natural resource monitoring at NGPN. When products are functioning correctly, you will have to opportunity to co-author resource briefs and technical publications under the mentorship of NGPN staff. We will also encourage and prepare the SIP intern to present the results of their project at local, regional, and national NPS meetings.


As a candidate, you will have a demonstrated ability to be able to use ArcPro, Excel, Access, and R in ways usable by the federal government. You should also possess excellent oral, electronic, and written communication skills that will allow you to collaborate with National Park Service staff. Required skills include: a good attitude, ability to work independently and be self-starting, good communication skills, valid driver license, and the ability to hike over rough terrain for short distances (approximately 1 mile) in hot and cold weather. Desired skills include: natural resource, GIS or natural resource degree or major, writing skills, basic computer skills (e.g. Microsoft Word and Excel), familiarity with GIS, science communication experience, and the ability to work independently. The best candidate would have experience with database management.

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 52 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

The SIP intern will largely be working with monitoring datasets. The intern will develop some automated QA procedures and create a process for data import into water quality portal. The intern will also work with the data manager, creating data dictionaries and developing data packages. The position will take place in the office, though there can be day trips as needed.

Rapid City is South Dakota’s second largest city with approximately 75,000 residents and is the gateway to the Black Hills area of South Dakota. Rapid City offers early childhood programs, public schools, private schools, and a technical college. Rapid City offers entertainment opportunities at the Civic auditorium, superior health care facilities, beautiful neighborhoods, and endless outdoor recreational opportunities such a skiing, rock climbing, camping, and kayaking. Rapid City is within a 90-minute drive of four national park units (Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Jewel Cave National Monument, and Badlands National Park), and South Dakota’s crown jewel state park- Custer State Park. Summer is warm, dry, and sunny. July and August are the warmest months of the year when daytime temperatures climb into the 70s and 80s—and sometime 90s. Breezy winds and low humidity levels help make the hot days comfortable. January and February are the coldest months of winter. Daytime temperatures average in the 30s, but Chinook winds can warm temperatures into the 50s and 60s. Average monthly snowfall ranges from five inches in Rapid City to 15 inches in the Black Hills.


  • Applicant will not need to drive a government vehicle.
  • A personal vehicle is recommended for this position.

Park housing is NOT available. The intern will be responsible for finding housing in the nearby area. Rentals may be found in Rapid City and surrounding communities, if desired. Rentals generally start at $900/month.

data management, reporting, natural resources, web content, field work

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.)