"I really like working for the Park Service. I never really thought of it as a career option, but as soon as I got here, it was really motivating to work with a lot of people who have similar ideals and are really passionate–you know, really concerned about what they do. It's not just coming in to a 9-5 type-job; people are really excited about what they do. So, it rubs off on you." - Damon Joyce, NPS Physical Scientist
Damon analyzes audio data and builds recording systems that are placed in parks to learn about the natural sounds that make up a park's soundscape. One of the big challenges he faces is how to get a remote recording system to work miles from any power outlet or wi-fi signal. When he analyzes the recordings later, he has heard many different kinds of wildlife sniffing, bumping, or even chewing on the microphone. Recently, Damon developed an application for people to use to log sounds they hear in parks–such as wildlife, airplanes, or people talking.
Damon's academic career initially focused on alternative energy, but a diploma program in environmental science and an internship with Mojave National Preserve redirected his path. At Mojave National Preserve, Damon was introduced to monitoring soundscapes. It wasn't long before he got a call from the Natural Sounds Program, whose mission is protect, maintain, or restore acoustical environments throughout the National Park System.
"We've gone through several hiring rounds trying to find field techs, people to go out and do some of the stuff in the field...There's a lot of people who have a field-heavy background, where all they've done is field work but not much lab work, or we've [found] people who've had a lot of lab experience, but no field work. I would say to try and get as much interdisciplinary experience as possible. So if you were, as I was, the lab geek who was usually in the lab working with and testing equipment, try to get out into the field because a lot of things go differently in an uncontrolled environment."
Watch Damon's video interview below.
Last updated: January 4, 2016