Astronomy Volunteers

Logan Pass star parties provide incredible dark skies, lots of telescopes, and an opportunity to experience one of the darkest places in America.
Logan Pass star parties provide incredible dark skies, lots of telescopes, and an opportunity to experience one of the darkest places in America.

Photo by John Ashley

 

2022 Astronomy Volunteer Positions


The Positions
Glacier's astronomy outreach and education program began in 2008. The program has grown to become one of the National Park Service's premiere astronomy programs. Glacier's volunteer astronomers help over 10,000 visitors view the sun and night sky every summer. Astronomy volunteers are patient communicators who are able to help a diverse audience learn about astronomy. During nightly sky tours and telescope viewing, astronomers interact with many who are completely new to the night sky. Astronomers also assist with large events like our Logan Pass star parties. Our astronomers provide guided sky tours of Native American and Greek constellations and use park-owned telescopes to show visitors the wonders of deep space. Astronomers on the east side of the park also present programs using the park's Dusty Star Observatory and 20 inch telescope located in St. Mary. These positions work closely with the public in an outdoor setting and in a variety of weather conditions including heat, cold, wind, and smoky skies. Additional training in interpretive skills, customer service, park operations, and other professional development opportunities may also be available.

If COVID-19 mitigations are still advisable, the astronomy program may be adjusted to utilize a variety of strategies to keep COVID-19 exposure risks to staff and visitors as low as possible. Mitigation strategies could include electronically assisted astronomy, limited audience sizes, canceling star party events, and use of personal protective equipment such as masks or safety glasses.

This program is supported by the Glacier National Park Conservancy.

Required Skills and Interests

  • Background in astronomy education
  • Ability to set up and use both celestial and solar telescopes
  • Experience in manual and/or GoTo telescope operation
  • Ability to clearly communicate values of dark skies and find and describe astronomical objects
  • Good customer service skills
  • Ability to work independently and live in a remote area

Desired Skills and Interests

  • Ability to communicate the “big picture” of dark skies and how this relates to protecting national parks
  • Curiosity and friendliness
  • Ability to conduct night sky constellation tours
  • Experience providing astronomy programs for the public through star parties or other events
  • Experience with electronically assisted astronomy

Position Dates
Positions run from approximately June 20 through September 4. Beginning and ending dates may be flexible. We prefer to have volunteers for the entire two month period, but will consider shorter durations. Work schedule is five days per week with afternoon solar programs and nighttime celestial programs.

Position Locations
These positions (up to 4) are located in either the Hudson Bay District at St. Mary (east side) or the West Lakes District at Apgar (west side) of Glacier National Park.

Stipend
Astronomy volunteers are reimbursed for living expenses at the rate of $200 per week. A $400 travel allowance is also provided. The park also provides name tags and uniforms, plus $125 to defray the cost of other uniform items.

Housing
Volunteers in St. Mary (east side) are provided with trailer pads with utilities, but may need to provide their own RV. Separate bathroom and shower facilities are not available for trailer sites. For positions in Apgar (west side), government housing may be available. Trailer spaces with utilities in a nearby private campground are also available and are covered through the program. When applying, please let us know the size of your RV and the preferred service amperage.

Application Information
A resume, cover letter, and contact information for three professional references (name, title/position, phone, and e-mail) should be submitted via email to glac_astronomy@nps.gov by March 4, 2022. If selected, a federal background investigation will be required.

Park Contact
For more information or to submit an application, please contact glac_astronomy@nps.gov.

Last updated: November 19, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier , MT 59936

Phone:

406-888-7800

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