Volunteer for Science Affairs Questions and Answers
Revised August 2016
Volunteer for Science Affairs Q&A
The afterward advice provides updates on the Beforehand for Science Affairs and answers to the best frequently asked questions. Questions ambit from accepted matters, such as the able anatomy to use for a beforehand account agreement, to added circuitous issues, such as whether volunteers may be acclimated in chancy assignments. The Beforehand for Science Handbook provides added abundant advice on the Beforehand for Science Program. The Handbook is accessible at: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/sw/documents/volunteerhandbook.pdf
1. What is the analogue of a volunteer?
A beforehand is authentic as any individual, aborigine or noncitizen, who performs a account for the USGS on a autonomous base and receives no pay from the USGS (except acceding for accidental expenses). It does not amount if the alone receives pay, appointment credit, bookish credit, or added types of advantage from sources alfresco of the USGS as connected as the USGS does not atone the alone for the casework performed.
All volunteers allegation complete the Anatomy OF-301A. (Survey Manual SM 500.23 5 B)
The Beforehand for Science Affairs includes Scientist Emeriti. Added advice on the USGS Scientist Emeritus Affairs is accessible at https://www2.usgs.gov/quality_integrity/emeritus/default.asp.
2. How do individuals become volunteers?
The aboriginal footfall in the action of acceptable a beforehand is for the action baton to authorize and assurance Anatomy OF-301A in Webforms (SharePoint) at https://webforms.usgs.gov/OF301a/Forms/AllItems.aspx . Beforehand activity, hours, and costs are tracked through Webforms, and the action baton is amenable for befitting that advice adapted at the end of anniversary division for official advertisement purposes.
The OF-301A anatomy is important. The “Volunteer Casework Acceding for Natural Resources Agencies” (OF-301A) is acclimated as the official certificate for the accepting of beforehand service, and clearly establishes the alone as a volunteer. The Acceding allegation be able by the USGS action administrator requesting the casework of the volunteer, and allegation be alive by the action administrator and the volunteer. Affectionate or guardian approval is adapted for accessory volunteers. For some activities, the approval or accedence of assurance admiral is required. The Acceding should be maintained in the appointment or affairs files for 3 years afterwards abortion of beforehand service.
The OF-301A anatomy allegation be completed and alive afore the alone can accomplish any beforehand casework for the USGS. The acceding allegation accommodate a abrupt description of the casework to be performed and acceptance of any chancy altitude or added situations that may affect the individual’s bloom or safety, and a job description allegation be attached. The alone allegation additionally acknowledge whether he or she knows of a medical action or concrete limitation that may abnormally affect his or her adeptness to accommodate those services.
3. What is the role of the Beforehand Manager?
The Beforehand Manager/Coordinator, or their Alignment (indicated on Folio 4 of the OF-301A form), is amenable for befitting the aboriginal alive adamantine archetype of the Beforehand Agreement, added any added accordant affidavit such as adapted agreements, amount receipts, logs of hours worked, etc. The hardcopy Beforehand Acceding with aboriginal signatures should be maintained in the appointment or affairs files for 3 years afterwards abortion of beforehand service. The Human Resources Appointment does not accumulate adamantine copies of the Beforehand Acceding or of any added documentation. Webforms is the official arrangement of almanac for tracking beforehand agreements, activity, hours, and expenses.
4. Are there requirements for approval concrete exams or job hazard analyses?
When it comes to beforehand bloom and safety, volunteers should be managed the aforementioned as employees. Volunteers are included on the DOI assurance net website and are accountable to OSHA/safety protections and blow administration efforts. (See https://safetynet.doi.gov/) However, except in absolute attenuate cases, managers and admiral may not accredit duties that betrayal volunteers to high-hazard alive altitude or concrete hardships.
When centers or offices authorize beforehand jobs breadth hazards do abide (such as operating machinery, underwater diving, etc.), they can crave a clearance concrete abased on the beforehand abstraction job hazard assay for the specific job. Job hazard analyses are the albatross of the centermost or appointment establishing the acceding with the volunteer(s), and should be based on a absolute accurate and abundant job description included in the official OF-301A Beforehand Agreement. For added advice on job hazard analyses, see:
For documenting concrete exams for volunteers, we should be appliance the accepted DOI medical assay approval anatomy because it requires PII abstracts collection. This anatomy is on http://internal.usgs.gov/ops/safetynet/index.html site.
See Chapter 2 in the Beforehand Handbook for added advice on safety, risks, and chancy conditions.
5. Is the alive adamantine archetype OF-301A Beforehand Acceding anatomy sufficient?
No. An cyberbanking Webforms OF-301A Beforehand Acceding anatomy allegation be initiated, and the completed adamantine archetype Beforehand Acceding anatomy (with signatures) allegation be scanned into the Webforms OF-301A anatomy (see Folio 3 of form). Cyberbanking copies of the alive adamantine archetype of the OF-301A Beforehand Casework Agreement, added any updates to the Acceding or added documentation, allegation be absorbed on Folio 3 of the cyberbanking form. Due to the achievability of accountability for advantage for appointment injuries, or for purposes of claims beneath the Federal Abomination Claims Act, it is analytical that the cyberbanking OF-301A Beforehand Casework Acceding acquire the complete job description absorbed to Folio 3 of the form. The job description allegation accurately accompaniment the ambit of the volunteer’s accustomed activity. This Acceding allegation be adapted whenever that ambit of action changes, and an adapted job description needs to be attached. If this is a beforehand group, attach a complete account of beforehand participants, and attach alive affectionate approval for anniversary beforehand beneath the age of 18 (also on Folio 3).
Note: You may attach as abounding files as you like to the cyberbanking Beforehand Acceding form. However, if you book out the form, you will allegation to book out anniversary one of the absorbed files alone because accessories to the anatomy are not printed automatically with the form.
Also agenda that on Folio 4, E, there are 3 spaces to accommodate names of individuals who may acquire apprehend and address admission to the OF-301A anatomy for advertisement purposes, such as advertisement hours. Back any of those individuals leave or are no best associated with the volunteer’s work, it is important to aish those abeyant and alter the alone accesses so that hours can abide to be appear for admittance in official USGS and DOI reports, job descriptions updated, etc.
6. What are the aegis and computer admission requirements for volunteers?
Questions on absolute concrete admission to computers and systems should be addressed to the USGS Help Desk.
USGS action about assay requirements and aegis processes for contractors and added affiliates, including volunteers, is accessible here: http://communities.usgs.gov/blogs/news/2012/10/05/updated-guidance-on-physical-security-and-logical-information-technology-access-requirements/. For specific requirements and procedures, amuse accredit to the account referenced on that page.
Volunteers all allegation some array of accomplishments investigation.
Current OPM advertisement ante for accomplishments investigations are accessible at: http://internal.usgs.gov/ops/security/opm.html. The Amount Centermost for whom the beforehand is accouterment casework pays for the investigation.
Volunteers accepting Acreage Admission Alone will allegation a SAC (a agreeably adjudicated Federal Bureau of Assay (FBI) fingerprint check).
Volunteers with Supervised or Unsupervised admission to accessories alter in requirements according to the cardinal of beforehand canicule they work.
To admission USGS network(s) or internet, volunteers allegation to use a GFE (government furnished equipment) computer. A beforehand allegation acquire a DOI Admission Agenda and a GFE computer with a agenda clairvoyant if he or she needs to admission USGS network(s) or internet afterwards September 1, 2015.
The articulation to the DOIAccess Agenda Appeal Anatomy is at https://doiaccess.doi.net/app/ – Appeal New Agenda is in the top band of options. (This refers to the identification card, not a allegation card.)
The articulation for who to acquaintance to get a DOI Admission Agenda as able-bodied as advice on the 9-3056, the OF 306, and added aegis matters, by areas of the country is at http://internal.usgs.gov/ops/security/faqssecurity.html#con1
Employees abiding as volunteers allegation to aboriginal complete the Anatomy 9-090 (Employee Approval Form) process. The anatomy is accessible online at https://webforms.usgs.gov/Pages/default.aspx. The abiding beforehand allegation again abide a 9-3056 webform at https://webforms.usgs.gov/Pages/default.aspx and complete an OF 306 (Declaration of Federal Employment) form.
If you acquire questions apropos aegis forms or process, amuse acquaintance the aegis adumbrative for your breadth at http://internal.usgs.gov/ops/security/faqssecurity.html#con1.
For added advice on aegis or computer access, amuse acquaintance Sarah Bemis in Aegis at 703-648-7395, or at [email protected]
7. What are the procedures for bringing above advisers aback as volunteers?
If a accepted agent will be abiding as a volunteer, they MUST complete the 9-090 avenue action afore acceptable a volunteer. The 9-090 action triggers a arrangement of security, safety, and accessories processes. Failure to complete the 9-090 action causes problems with Alive Directory, which feeds into several added aegis systems and processes, and the retiree would be accustomed to abide with aegis accesses that they should no best have. If the 9-090 is delayed, again the agent will aloof acquire to go through the action later.
There is a box on the 9-090 that should be checked, advertence that the agent is abiding in a beforehand aural 2 weeks, and advertence what their role will be according to the choices in the bead bottomward box. All the abiding retirees acquire to do to re-enable their email is put in a appeal with the Account Desk. Back that action is initiated, they are candy in DOI Access, removed as an employee, and brought aback in Alive Directory in their new role.
The 9-090 anatomy is accessible online at https://webforms.usgs.gov/Pages/default.aspx. The agent abiding as a beforehand allegation again abide a 9-3056 Webform at https://webforms.usgs.gov/Pages/default.aspx and complete an OF 306 (Declaration of Federal Employment) form.
8. How do we handle allegation cards for volunteers?
Volunteers chase the aforementioned biking rules as advisers and are adapted to booty the aforementioned training afore accepting a allegation card. As abounding volunteers defective allegation cards acclimated to be employees, they took the training afore they got their cards so best are accustomed with the biking regulations. Finance aloof removes their purchasing ascendancy if they had it and decreases the biking absolute on their allegation card.
New volunteers who were not advisers are beatific the aforementioned articulation to the training and adapted to complete it afore accepting a card. For added advice or questions on government allegation cards, acquaintance Margaret Seaboy (USGS Allegation Agenda Coordinator) at [email protected], or (703) 648-7350.
9. How do we handle biking for volunteers?
For questions on biking for volunteers, amuse acquaintance Biking Action at [email protected] for guidance.
10. How do we clue hours formed by volunteers?
Volunteer hours formed allegation be ascribe by or for anniversary beforehand as anon as anniversary division ends, and afore the 10th of the ages afterward the end of that division (Page 4).
Make assertive anniversary beforehand has entered 3 bodies on folio 4 (section E) of the Webforms OF-301A. These contacts will acquire admission to the volunteer’s anatomy to alter it, address hours, etc. It is important to accumulate those 3 contacts, the Beforehand Manager/Coordinator, and the Action Baton adapted back changes are fabricated or contacts leave in adjustment to accommodate connected admission to the anatomy for afterlight and advertisement purposes.
11. Do we acquire to conciliate or aish volunteers?
12. How do we conciliate a volunteer?
When a beforehand (including emeritus) terminates their beforehand agreement, they are adapted to admit the Anatomy 9-090 (Employee Approval Form) no afterwards than 2 weeks above-mentioned to break from the USGS. The 9-090 is accessible at: https://webforms.usgs.gov/Pages/default.aspx. The amid beforehand allegation additionally about-face in all Government claimed acreage and added “official” items for which they are responsible, such as Government allegation card, appointment keys, Government ID, Government-issued passport, parking pass, etc., and allegation cash all outstanding debts owed to the Federal Government and to the Government allegation agenda contractor. All computer admission allegation be removed from all Department of the Interior (DOI) and USGS centralized systems. (Survey Manual 344.16 – Agent and Non-Employee Approval Procedures, Date: 1/4/10)
In addition, the abandonment volunteer’s Beforehand Acceding allegation be concluded in the Webforms OF-301A on folio 2 beneath “Termination of Agreement” by entering the date the acceding is concluded in the “Agreement Concluded on” field. Otherwise, the acceding stays active, and abeyant volunteers skew our Beforehand counts for official advertisement purposes.
13. Can we advertise beforehand opportunities externally?
Yes. The USGS is allotment of www.volunteer.gov, a new interagency Web aperture for beforehand recruitment. The Aperture enables Beforehand Coordinators to column positions online and to assay applications submitted from volunteers throughout the nation. Amuse acquaintance Pam Agnew, [email protected], the Bureau Beforehand Coordinator, for abetment in advertisement new or advancing beforehand opportunities.
14. How are beforehand opportunities ascribe into the Volunteer.gov site?
The bounded program’s Beforehand Manager/Coordinator inputs the announcement. The Bureau Beforehand Coordinator can set up admission to the befalling allocation of the Web armpit for Beforehand Manager/Coordinator, who will again acquire a countersign adequate interface for entering announcements and advice on beforehand opportunities.
15. How do volunteers acquisition opportunities on Volunteer.gov?
Volunteer opportunities may be searched by the afterward criteria: beforehand activity, breadth of opportunity, able date of the opportunity, the allotment partner, and by keyword search.
16. What does the beforehand do afterwards anecdotic a abeyant opportunity?
An alone who wants to administer for a beforehand position may acquire an befalling on the account and again assay the abundant description. The abundant description will accommodate instructions as to how to administer for the position. Once the appliance is completed, the bureau Beforehand Coordinator will be notified of the abeyant volunteer.
17. If there are several applicants for a beforehand assignment, allegation the appellant who seems to acquire the best abilities on cardboard be chosen?
No. It is the supervisor’s accommodation to ample the position based on several considerations; including experience, education, interest, motivation, and claimed interview. The administrator is not adapted to ample the position based carefully on the abilities of the individual.
18. Allegation a adapted anatomy be acclimated to certificate the accepting of beforehand services?
Yes. Volunteers applying through Volunteer.gov allegation additionally complete a Anatomy OF-301A, Beforehand Casework Acceding (Rev 2010), in WebForms (found beneath Added Forms). The Acceding allegation be able by the USGS action administrator requesting the casework of the beforehand and allegation be alive by the action administrator and the volunteer. Affectionate or guardian approval is adapted for accessory volunteers. For some activities, the approval or accedence of assurance admiral is required. The Acceding should be maintained in the appointment files for 3 years afterwards abortion of beforehand service.
19. Is it all-important to adapt the Anatomy OF-301A, Beforehand Casework Agreement, for addition who will beforehand for alone a few hours?
Yes. The alive Acceding is the official certificate that validates beforehand account in case of an abrasion or abomination claim. The Acceding protects both the beforehand and the USGS.
20. May noncitizens participate in the Beforehand for Science Program?
Yes. A face may beforehand for the USGS provided the alone is:
Foreign nationals may not be arrive by the USGS to admission the United States or any added country for the purpose of accommodating in the Beforehand for Science Program. A administrator or administrator adulatory to acquire beforehand account from a adopted civic who resides alfresco of the United States allegation acquaintance the corresponding authoritative Barter Visiting Scientist Affairs Coordinator at http://international.usgs.gov/usgs/exchange/index.html.
For questions on visas and volunteers, amuse acquaintance Marle Lucas at [email protected]
21. May acceptance acquire bookish acclaim for their beforehand work?
It is the accommodation of the educational academy whether to accord acclaim for a student’s beforehand work. Admiral of volunteers are usually accommodating to accommodate the all-important job descriptions and assessments of the student’s work. Acceptance are alone amenable for authoritative the arrange with the educational academy and the supervisor.
22. May volunteers advertence their beforehand account acquaintance in their resumes or job applications?
Yes. The experience, knowledge, and abilities acquired as a beforehand are applicative to abounding paid positions in both the accessible and clandestine sectors. Beforehand appointment generally demonstrates claimed initiative, enthusiasm, and adherence to -to-be employers.
23. Does confined as a beforehand for a Federal bureau accomplish it easier to admission a job in the Federal government?
Federal positions are abounding through a aggressive action and are based on abounding job-related factors. The beforehand appointment may enhance abilities for a position, but it does not agreement selection.
24. Will the USGS acquire the casework of a beforehand who is active by an alien source?
Yes. There may be cases in which an employer, such as a able association or a clandestine industry firm, wishes to accord the casework of a paid agent to the USGS. In these cases, the alone may acquire pay or appointment acclaim from the alfresco source, but the USGS cannot atone the alone or the alfresco alignment for the services. The Beforehand Casework Acceding allegation be alive by both the beforehand and the employer who is altruistic the paid services. The Acceding should reflect the name of the alignment and the name, title, and signature of the employer altruistic the services.
25. May a USGS agent volunteer?
Yes. A USGS agent may serve as a beforehand aural the USGS as connected as the casework performed as a beforehand are not the aforementioned types of duties for which the agent is paid. For example, a hydrologic artisan may not beforehand to aggregate hydrologic data, accomplish and compute streamflow measurements, or accomplish arena baptize abstracts back this appointment is about an basic allotment of the official duties.
26. May the USGS acquire beforehand casework from addition beneath 18 years of age?
Yes. Volunteers beneath age 18 allegation acquire the signature of a parent(s) or guardians(s) on the Beforehand Casework Acceding and allegation complete the “Emergency Care of Minors” medical absolution anatomy amid at: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/sw/documents/minorchildcare.pdf. The anatomy additionally specifies who to acquaintance in case a accessory beforehand is injured.
Federal and accompaniment adolescent action laws administer the application of abecedarian and avert the achievement of assertive jobs by individuals beneath the age of 18 years. For added advice amuse accredit to the Beforehand for Science Handbook, Chapter 1. Eligibility and Chapter 2. Bloom and Assurance of Volunteers.
27. Should volunteers be acceptable to accomplish chancy appointment assignments?
The USGS is greatly anxious with the bloom and assurance of its employees, volunteers, contractors, and visitors. No beforehand action may be performed breadth accurate assay shows an unacceptable blow to any employee, volunteer, contractor, or visitor. For added advice on chancy appointment assignment, amuse accredit to the Beforehand for Science Handbook, Chapter 2. Bloom and Assurance of Volunteers.
28. What is the aberration amid a Scientist Emeritus and a Volunteer?
A Scientist Emeritus is a accurate blazon of volunteer. A Scientist Emeritus (SE) is a retired USGS scientist or abstruse able who has accustomed administration qualities and contributed to the goals of the USGS during a advantageous career. An alone who has been a scientist or abstruse able may be brash for the SE Program. An alone who does not authorize for the SE Affairs ability accede abiding as a Beforehand for Science. Added advice apropos to the SE Affairs and its opportunities can be begin at https://www2.usgs.gov/quality_integrity/emeritus/default.asp.
29. What is a “Citizen Scientist”?
A “Citizen Scientist” is authentic as a beforehand actively alive with the USGS to discover, collect, and adapt a array of accurate abstracts that is analytical for the approaching of compassionate ample trends and allegation beyond a array of categories. Aborigine science (also accepted as army or crowd-sourced science) has been authentic as accurate analysis conducted, in able or in part, by abecedarian or abecedarian scientists. Examples of USGS Aborigine Scientist Activities:
The “Citizen Scientist” is a analogue acclimated by the Department of the Interior to assort assertive types of volunteers for its “Engaging the Next Generation” Bureau Priority Goal, which encompasses four goals: Play, Learn, Serve, and Work. Abstracts on “Citizen Scientist” volunteers, including counts and hours worked, is appear to the Department in Serve ambition accompanying letters by our USGS Appointment of Budget, Planning, and Integration on a annual basis.
Please absolute any questions on “Citizen Scientists”, the Departmental “Engaging the Next Generation” Play, Learn, Serve, and Appointment goals, or the associated annual letters requirements to Melinda Gaber, Bureau Coordinator – Engaging the Next Generation APG and Secretarial Priority, at 703-648-4439 or [email protected]
30. May volunteers be accustomed to travel?
Yes. Volunteers may be reimbursed for absolute expenses, such as bus and alternation fare, gasoline, and parking fees, while traveling to and from the appointment site. The ambit for which volunteers are reimbursed for such biking costs allegation be bound to the bounded commuting area. If a beforehand is complex in acreage appointment or a adapted appointment that requires travel, costs may be paid by the USGS. Allotment to pay busline costs, beforehand funds, and balance long-distance biking costs allegation be handled on a case-by-case basis, be justified in writing, and be accustomed by the adapted administrator or designee. Acceding is not meant to action as a bacon but rather to account the volunteer’s claimed amount of volunteering. Beneath no affairs may a beforehand acquire a allowance in barter for beforehand service. For added information, amuse accredit to the Beforehand for Science Handbook, Chapter 4. Acceding of Accidental Expenses.
31. May a beforehand drive a government-owned or -leased vehicle?
Yes. Volunteers may accomplish Government-owned or –leased cartage if they acquire a accurate accompaniment driver’s license, are at atomic 18 years of age, and complete the 8-hour Defensive Driving Training. For added information, amuse accredit to the Beforehand for Science Handbook, Chapter 6. General Guidelines at http://www.usgs.gov/humancapital/sw/documents/volunteerhandbook.pdf.
32. May the USGS pay for government and non-government training courses for volunteers?
Yes. Payment may be accustomed if a administrator or administrator determines that specific training is adapted to accomplish the duties of the beforehand assignment; e.g., assurance training, and that the allowances of the beforehand account outweigh the training costs.
33. Is there a adapted USGS identification agenda or architecture canyon that can be issued to volunteers?
Yes. Volunteers are accountable to at atomic a minimum of a fingerprint assay if they will be alive beneath than 180 days. A acknowledged fingerprint assay will acquiesce the beforehand to admission a acting admission badge. If the beforehand will be alive added than 180 days, amuse acquaintance your Aegis Appointment at http://internal.usgs.gov/ops/security/oso.html.
34. What happens if a beforehand is injured, has an accident, amercement clandestine property, or injures addition while confined as a volunteer?
Volunteers are covered beneath the Federal Advisers Advantage Act, 5 U.S.C. Chapter 81, which authorizes advantage for work-related injuries. Volunteers are, also, covered beneath the Federal Abomination Claims Act, which protects them from accountability for abrasion or accident to others while they are acting aural the ambit of their assigned duties. For added advice amuse accredit to the Beforehand for Science Handbook, Chapter 5. Beforehand Allowances and Protections.
35. May a beforehand use class accessories or government equipment?
Yes. A volunteer’s use of class accessories and government accessories allegation be in affiliation with an accustomed USGS action or appointment and not for the purpose of commutual educational requirements. Beforehand use of government equipment, materials, and food are beneath the aforementioned guidelines as USGS employees. Controlled acreage and accessories allegation abide the supervisor’s responsibility.
36. May a beforehand appointment unsupervised afterwards hours?
Yes. With the approval of the supervisor, volunteers may appointment unsupervised afterwards hours. The beforehand allegation be provided with an identification agenda to admittance afterwards hours admission to a government building. For added information, amuse acquaintance your Aegis Appointment at http://internal.usgs.gov/ops/security/oso.html.
37. May a beforehand accomplish casework for the USGS at home?
Yes. With the approval of the supervisor, volunteers may accomplish casework for the USGS at home. An adapted administrator should actuate whether the casework to be rendered by the beforehand may be abundantly able at home, demography into application such things as the allegation to use adapted government accessories or manuals.
38. May volunteers admission clandestine property, back necessary, to conduct their assignments?
Federal advisers and volunteers allegation accede with all Federal, state, and affiliated laws, including breach and aloofness laws. Volunteers are not to admission clandestine acreage unless accustomed by their supervisor. Admiral are amenable for accepting adapted permission to admission clandestine property.
39. Are beforehand casework tax-deductible?
Volunteers are brash to acquaintance their tax accountant or argue Centralized Revenue Account Publication 526 for advice and guidance.
40. Back is it adapted to alter the Beforehand Casework Acceding (OF-301A)?
The Beforehand Casework Acceding allegation be adapted whenever there is a change in the aboriginal altitude of the beforehand assignment, such as change in duties, allotment of biking and/or accidental expenses, or concrete requirements. A change may be fabricated anon on the aboriginal certificate on the Continuation Page. Both the adapted USGS official and the beforehand allegation assurance and date the change to announce acknowledgment. The Webforms adaptation should be adapted as able-bodied as the adamantine archetype form.
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