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

 

2021 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 new Dusty Star Observatory and 20 inch telescope. 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.

Astronomy programs may not be offered in 2021 due to COVID-19 exposure risks for staff and visitors. As the park plans for 2021 operations, all park programs are taking COVID-19 exposure risks into consideration. If offered in 2021, the astronomy program will likely include a variety of strategies to keep exposure risks as low as possible. These adaptations may include offering smaller programs and/or using cameras and monitors to display objects rather than eyepieces. If providing formal astronomy programs is not advisable in 2021, this volunteer opportunity may not be offered.

This program is supported by the Glacier National Park Conservancy.

Required Skills and Interests

  • Background in astronomy education preferred
  • Ability to set up and use both celestial and solar telescopes
  • 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
  • Familiarity with TheSkyX and astrophotography
  • Experience with camera-assisted observing

Position Dates
Positions run from approximately June 21 through September 5. 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 $350 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.

Application Information
A resume, cover letter, and contact information for three professional references (name, title/position, phone, and e-mail) should be submitted to the park via e-mail by March 5, 2021. See contact information below. A federal background check will be required.

Park Contact
For more information or to submit an application, please e-mail Debby Smith, Hudson Bay District Interpreter.
Click here for e-mail link.

Last updated: November 23, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936

Phone:

(406) 888-7800

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