Position Title: Paleontology Assistant
Park Unit: Saguaro National Park
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 12 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 01/27/2025
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 participant will assist with inventorying palaeontologic resources of both districts of Saguaro National Park. They will also collect museum specimens of paleontological resources for the Western Archaeological and Conservation Center. Primary duties, responsibilities, and tasks include: utilization of geologic maps of Saguaro National Park for field planning and work, identify and record paleontological resources in remote off trail locations, monitor and photograph fossil sites to assess current condition, develop a database of paleontology resources, input data into a database, and create informational interpretation materials and digital media posts. Opportunities may also exist to apply the participant’s specialized skills to related projects that have potential to benefit the park’s resource management program.

The position will contribute toward the conservation, management, research, and interpretation of the paleontological resources of Saguaro National Park. A paleontological inventory has never been completed at the park. This study will considerably expand our understanding of our fossil resources. We currently have very few museum collections of the paleontological resources of our park, and this project will expand our collection considerably. This project will train youth participants to monitor, analyze, and develop management strategies for geologic resources on public lands. They will follow existing and develop new protocols for monitoring paleontological resources. This project will enable youth participants to work alongside NPS subject matter experts and introduce them to potential career pathways in the NPS. The experiences and challenges of this project will help build future leaders in the field of resource management.


Specific project goals are 1. Complete a preliminary inventory of the East and West districts of Saguaro National Park 2. Create a database to input and store data 3. Expand our museum collections, 4. Create informative interpretive materials to share with staff members and visitors, and 5. A comprehensive resume will be developed for the intern with staff help to prepare for future resource management careers.


Applicants should be advanced undergraduate or graduate students whose educational background and career objectives are in paleontology. Applicants must have completed basic undergraduate course work toward a degree in geology or natural resources, with an emphasis in paleontology, have strong leadership and team building skills, and the ability to work with a diverse workforce. Applicants must be physically able to hike long-distances, on- and off-trail with a pack in rugged terrain and extreme temperatures. Applicants must have good data organization skills and be detail oriented. Applicant must have a valid driver’s license and be willing to operate government vehicles on a regular basis. Successful applicants will have an interest in outdoor fieldwork and enjoy recreating outdoors. Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness First Aid preferred but not required.

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 12 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

Natural environment: The park is adjacent to Tucson, a city of nearly one million people. There is no public transportation to the park unfortunately, but the park is only a few miles from major population centers. From the park, a grocery store is about a 20 minute drive. Tucson has a very mild in the winter, average winter temperatures are around 70 F. Nighttime and wintertime temperatures can vary drastically, with night time temperatures reaching 20-30 F lower than daytime highs. Interns should be prepared for temperature extremes. Physical requirement: It is anticipated that most of the work will be in the field, with approximately 20% in the office. The intern will often hike multiple miles a day, often off trail in steep and rugged terrain. Applicants must be able to carry a 50lb backpack. In the field, there are spiny plants, dangerous animals such as rattlesnakes, and extreme temperature fluctuations. We have extensive safety training before we start fieldwork and safety is the highest priority. However, it's important that applicants realize that they must have the capacity, in advance, for the intense physical difficulty involved.


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

Park housing is NOT available. The intern will be responsible for finding housing in the nearby area. The city of Tucson is a couple miles outside of the park boundary. Interns and staff members regularly commute from Tucson to Saguaro National Park. Most commutes by car are between 15 and 30 minutes. There is no public transportation to the park. Median studio apartment rentals in Tucson are $783/month. There are dozens of options for short term rentals on websites like Airbnb for $700-1000/month.

Inventory, paleontology, natural resources, geological resources, geology

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.)