CALL FOR ASTRONOMY PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS
Bryce Canyon National Park, 2016 season
Bryce Canyon, Utah, has one of the few remaining magnitude 7 dark skies in the country. The park has been a focus of stargazing for decades and is becoming well known to park visitors for its nighttime scenery. The program has steadily expanded and is now a robust and professional effort made possible by park rangers, astronomy clubs, and skilled volunteers. Close to 30,000 visitors attend an astronomy lecture, evening stargaze, solar viewing, or the astronomy festival each year. Additionally, the park actively manages and promotes dark skies through light pollution education.
The park is seeking qualified volunteers to commit to 1-3 months during the period August through October. If you would like to be a part of a fast paced, team-oriented public astronomy program and share the splendors of the night sky with the general public, consider sending your resume. The ideal applicant is gregarious, communicative, self-motivated, knowledgeable, approachable; and a good public speaker. Applicants should also be flexible, willing to learn new methods, and be able to adapt to an established public program that is somewhat unlike a traditional star party. Volunteers will be expected to support the NPS mission, night sky protection, and partnerships with astronomy clubs and the community while maintaining enthusiasm and refraining from espousing political or religious viewpoints. Job will require working with crowds and a diverse public in both independent and team modes. No stipend is provided but free housing or RV hookups are available.
Primary tasks include preparing for and giving evening stargazing events 3-4 times a week, solar viewing 3-4 times a week, and assisting with astronomy program logistics. Other tasks include staffing the information desk in the visitor center, roving the park and making informal visitor contacts, short presentations to the public, and miscellaneous duties to support the interpretation division and park activities. Presenting formal evening programs may be an option; please inquire. The typical work-week is 32 hours, though it may vary from 24 to 40 hours. Special programs at nearby parks and communities occasionally necessitate short travel in government vehicle. Volunteers will receive at least 2 days of training, a uniform, and the satisfaction of being part of a growing and high-energy stargazing program that makes emotional and intellectual connections with tens of thousands of visitors each year.
The park owns two 11” SCT, two 8” SCTs, a 3” refractor, and a H-alpha solar scope. Volunteers are welcome to bring their own equipment, and many do, but the park cannot be responsible for damaged personal equipment. Volunteers are expected to gain a good knowledge of telescope operation using a variety of optics and mounts, and basic telescope maintenance. The park does not have a permanent observing facility, so frequent set-up and take-down is required with some moderate lifting.
Bryce Canyon lies near Capitol Reef and Zion National Parks and is perched atop the spectacular canyon country in southern Utah. The park is best known for its peculiar orange hoodoo geologic features. Daytime temperatures range from 55-90°F while nights drop to 25-55°F. The park is at an average elevation of 8000’, so altitude sickness (shortness of breath, lethargy, fitful sleep), may be an issue for some persons. Bryce is remote, being 30 minutes to a town with limited services and 90 minutes from a small city (Cedar City). The park employs approximately 70 staff in the busy summer months.
Housing and RV sites with hookups may be available for astronomy volunteers at no cost. Housing is typically small cabins or apartments and may be shared with another staff person. Quarters are simple and spartan, so you will need to bring household items. Pets are not allowed in park housing. Land-line phone service is available for free; cell reception (Verizon, AT&T, AllTel, Sprint, etc.) is spotty and wireless internet is available for volunteers at the Visitor Center.
Selections will be made based on:
Selections will be made by review of resumes and phone interviews.
Resume should include:
Send resume and questions to:
Cynthia Donaldson, Park Ranger
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