Interested in volunteering? John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is always looking for qualified volunteers to assist park staff. Our volunteers have discovered just how beautiful the area is in addition the John Day region being a world-class paleontological resource. The volunteer program is growing as well. Below are position descriptions and some logistics that potential volunteers need to know about ahead of time.
Like most parks, the monument's volunteer program is not able to offer payment or stipend, and except as noted, there is no housing provided by the park.
RV/Trailer Pads - At this time there are no available RV pads near the monument and none inside the monument that are available with full hookups and long term rental arrangements. This page will be updated in the winter of 2014/15 if RV pads come available locally. For some positions below that involve more than 30 hours per week of work, the cost of a trailer pad with hook-ups (water, sewer, and electric) could be covered if available. Volunteers that stay in the area need to provide their own personal transportation between the monument and where they are staying.
Most positions are located at the Sheep Rock Unit of the monument, and many of the positions are seasonal in nature; the tenure of each position may be up to one year. All volunteers must complete required training for the NPS, the monument, and the job. Some positions require background checks. All volunteers are expected to wear NPS VIP identification (such as a badge or pin) and volunteers who have regular contact with the public may be required to wear a volunteer uniform; uniforms and identification will be provided by the park. Full job descriptions are available for positions listed below.
Questions? Want to apply? Contact the Volunteer Coordinator at (541) 987-2333.
Natural Resouce Management
Resource Management Assistant: This position consists primarily of fieldwork and is seasonal in nature. Volunteer duties include recognizing and mapping non-native species. Volunteer works with NPS employees to remove non-native plants, add protection screens around young riparian plants, and help accomplish other similar tasks. The volunteer may also collect data on park plant species, including prescribed fire effects on vegetation. The trailer pad may be available for this position.
Group Projects: (6 to 12 person group) There are a few group projects in landscape restoration that may be completed in a few hours or up to several days of work. Projects may be available only during specific seasons. Youth groups will need an adult supervisor. Parental consent forms must be completed and returned to the Volunteer Coordinator Before arrival. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator for more information. Some reimbursement for camping costs at local campgrounds may be available.
Visitor Center Aide: The Visitor Center Aide opportunity is available during the spring through fall months, and involves helping to staff the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center and/or the Cant Ranch Historical Museum at the Sheep Rock Unit of the monument.
The volunteer will answer visitor questions, operate AV equipment and a cash register, and may choose to develop formal or informal interpretive programs or work on other interpretive projects. The volunteer may also hike on this unit's five miles of trails to monitor conditions, greet visitors, and note needed repairs.
Knowledge and interest in history, geology, biology, and/or paleontology is desired. Each volunteer's tenure will last a minimum of one month. The trailer pad may be available for this position.
Paleontology Assistant: Volunteer Paleontology Assistants are accepted by referral only and must possess skill in working with irreplaceable, extremely fragile fossil specimens and familiarity with basic field or laboratory tools, materials, and methods. Paleo certification through a museum or other organization is desirable.
The Paleo Assistant aids park paleontology staff or permitted researchers in activities related to field paleontology, which may include: prospecting for vertebrate, invertebrate, plant, or trace fossils; collecting of loose or out-of-context material; consolidation and recording of in-situ fossil material; collecting geological samples for scientific study; and assisting park staff in the excavation of in-situ fossils. Alternatively, the volunteer may help park staff with laboratory and museum activities, which may include removing matrix and preparing specimens for display or study; washing and labeling specimens; casting and molding; data entry; and using proper techniques for moving specimens from one curatorial space to another.
All JODA Paleontology volunteers will work under the direct supervision of a NPS paleontology staff member and must be approved by the Chief Paleontologist. All volunteers must follow established safety procedures for lab activities, fieldwork, and museum work. Familiarity with basic field or laboratory tools, materials, and methods is desired.
The volunteer should possess the endurance to hike moderate distances over uneven ground in hot, dry conditions as well as the ability to carry approximately 40 pounds of gear or specimens for varying distances. The trailer pad may be available for this position.
Maintenance Assistant: The volunteer Maintenance Assistant supports the Maintenance division by completing agreed upon tasks or projects, which may include trailwork, groundswork, housekeeping/cleaning, painting, carpentry, or other activities. The length of service will depend on the nature of the project and will be agreed upon in advance between the volunteer and the supervisor.
The monument will provide tools and personal protective equipment; the volunteer must provide his/her own water bottles, packs, gear, and clothing and footwear appropriate to working conditions. The trailer pad may be available for this position.
Library Assistant: The Volunteer Library Assistant will aid in completing specific projects in the monument's library: these may include cataloging materials into a computerized database program, organizing and shelving reprints and articles, setting up library shelves, creating PDFs from paper materials, and performing basic book maintenance.
The volunteer should have some prior education, training, or experience in library science or information management and the ability to work for a sustained length of time at a desk with a computer in a room without windows.The trailer pad may be available for this position.