Position Title: Biology Assistant
Park Unit: Northern Great Plains Network
Location: Rapid City, South Dakota
Number of positions available: 2
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 26 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 04/28/2025
Flexible Start Date: NO

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.)

NOTE: This position is for the 2025 season to run from late April 2025 through October 2025. 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 collection tasks to assist the network. The intern will collect plant abundance and diversity data using network monitoring protocols and accurately identify Northern Great Plains vegetation to the species level in the field. Intern will enter data following quality assurance procedures into established databases.

Intern will have the opportunity to work on a unique project related to botany in the Northern Great Plains. Possible projects include creating a key to a family, guide to improving riparian plant id, guide to a park’s certain community of species, webmap, or resource brief, according to the intern’s interests.

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 collection and botanical identification.


The primary product will be botanical data collected in the parks. 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, Microsoft office Products, field guides, and botanical keys. 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, plant id, 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 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 26 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

The SIP intern will largely be helping collect vegetation data at 11 network parks. The position will be largely in the field, taking day trips and overnight trips to parks in the region. Work will be in backcountry settings under difficult conditions. These positions work 10-hour days and require constant travel to parks within Nebraska, Wyoming, South and North Dakota. Crew members will be required to hike off-trail with heavy packs, sometimes in extremely hot weather or through thick vegetation. The position will spend approximately 10-20% of time performing computer and office work, the majority of which will be done after the field season. The anticipated field season is May through September, with some office work at the beginning and end of the season.

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 must have a valid driver's license 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. Park housing is not available. Rentals may be found in Rapid City and surrounding communities, if desired. Rentals generally start at $900/month.

botany, fieldwork, natural resources, survey, monitoring

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.)