Museums of Western Colorado

Paleontology Field Assistant

Museums of Western Colorado

Job Title: Paleontology Field Assistant
Division/Department: Paleontology
Supervisor: Curator of Paleontology
Exemption Status: Non-Exempt
Positions Supervised: Volunteers, Public Participants

Pay Rate: $12.56/hour


Position Overview:
The Paleontology Field Assistant will provide an engaging and enjoyable experience for participants on public excavations; provide logistical and scientific support for field work; assist with museum outreach events, such as Dinosaur Day; and provide support for lab and exhibit work at the Dinosaur Journey Museum.

Examples of Duties:
The Paleontology Field Assistant works under the guidance of the curator of paleontology and paleontology field coordinator and assists museum volunteers and paying participants during excavations. Other duties may include work in museum collections, exhibits, or in the paleo lab. This position is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in basic quarry mapping, field exploration & collection techniques, communicating science to the public, collections management skills, and museums’ role the stewardship of fossils on public lands.

Work can be physically demanding and primarily outdoors, often in adverse weather conditions, including heat, biting gnats, and wind. The Paleontology Field Assistant may be required to hike in rough terrain in a hot, dry climate sometimes carrying heavy loads up to 40 pounds. Quarry work requires long periods of bending, stooping and working in cramped positions. Work may be conducted in remote areas of public lands.

About the Position:
This is a seasonal/temporary, part-time position (35hrs/week) that is primarily field-based. The successful candidate will be outgoing and work with a team to lead excavations that promote stewardship and engage the public to recover fossils in established quarries, mostly within the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation. The Paleontology Field Assistant will be responsible for training and mentoring public dig participants as citizen scientists and record data relevant to each site, including map coordinates and fossil identifications.

This position is for 10-12 weeks starting in June and continuing through the middle of August. Exact start and end dates are negotiable. This is position has a salary of $12.56 per hour.

About the Area:
This position is based out of the Dinosaur Journey Museum in Fruita, CO, located 10 miles west of Grand Junction on Interstate 70. Housing (at no charge) may be provided in a camp trailer with full hook-ups and facilities near the museum. A personal vehicle is not required; however, applicants are advised that a personal vehicle or bicycle will help accessing services in Fruita, such as groceries, doctors, and other amenities. Public transportation and bike routes are also available in the Fruita/Grand Junction area.

Education and Skills Required:
• Bachelor’s degree in paleontology or geology is preferred, but those close to completion of their degrees will be considered.
• A valid driver’s license. The successful applicant must also complete a mandatory museum-provided passenger van operation course.
• Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate science to a broad age range and education level of public visitors.
• Must be able to lift up to 40 lbs. and work outdoors in excessive heat and uneven terrain.
• Good organizational skills, handwriting, and note taking.
• Familiarity with Colorado Plateau geology and paleontology is helpful, but not required.
• A copy of field notes taken during museum excavations must be deposited at the museum prior to departure.
• Must pass pre-employment criminal and driving background check.

How to apply:
Send a cover letter, resume or CV, and the names, email addresses and phone numbers for two references via email to: Julia McHugh (jmchugh@westcomuseum.org). Documents should be in .pdf (preferred), .docx, or .jpg format. Hard copies will not be accepted.