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4-month Biological Volunteer Position at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge Description The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is seeking two volunteers available from April 8th 2019 through mid-August 2019 to participate in a native forest restoration project at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Volunteers will be in Honolulu for training April 8th, and deploy to Palmyra Atoll mid-April for 3-4 months. Palmyra Atoll is located in the central Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 miles south of Hawaii. Palmyra is a thickly vegetated set of islands with abundant rainfall; hot, humid temperatures; and rustic living conditions. It is uninhabited except for a small crew who manage a Nature Conservancy field station and Service personnel who manage the refuge resources. Volunteers will have the rare opportunity to live in this remote setting surrounded by rainforest, seabirds, land crabs and rich coral reefs. Duties and Responsibilities: Volunteers will be expected to work 8 hours a day 6/days per week for the entire ~3-4 months on Palmyra, without any chance of leaving the atoll. Volunteers will spend the majority of their time working on a forest restoration project involving invasive plant control using manual techniques and herbicide applications, native tree propagation and outplanting, and conducting/monitoring experiments designed to learn more about each. Biological monitoring of seabirds, shorebirds, sea turtles, and starfish is also conducted on a regular basis and requires volunteer to snorkel and work from a boat. Volunteers will be responsible for data management and report writing, as well as the cleaning, maintenance, and repair work needed to keep equipment running in a remote tropical environment. All FWS station personnel are part of the atoll community and work hours may include up to 8-hours a week contributing to basic station chores such as laundry, cleaning, trash collection etc. Refuge personnel work closely with The Nature Conservancy and volunteers will be interacting with a variety of people. Volunteers are expected to represent the US. Fish and Wildlife Service at all times in a mature and professional manner which may include providing interpretive tours and presentations to visitors. Definitive medical care facilities are 1,000 miles away and critical care may take up to 4-days to be received. There is no cell reception on the atoll, satellite based internet can be poor, and opportunities for mail are limited. Volunteers must be prepared to not have any resupplies during their time on the atoll. Most work days will involve motor boat or kayak operations. Palmyra’s marine environment is dominated by apex predators and reef sharks are present and will be seen on a daily basis.



 • Be a U.S. citizens and possess a current passport that does not expire for at least 1-year or a non-US citizen that at the time of the application submission already possess a US visa that allows the candidate to work in the US that is good through September 1st, 2019.

• Physically and mentally fit for living and working on a remote atoll. Strong, healthy bodies are critical.

• Able to lift and carry 50-lbs, ride a bicycle, kayak up to 6-miles round trip, and be able to perform repetitive stooping, twisting and bending motions throughout the day.

• Able to pass a snorkel/swim fitness test.

• Able to walk at least 5-miles a day over variable terrain including water-covered sand flats, thick rainforests and open beaches.

• Candidates must be able to perform all duties in equatorial weather conditions including high heat and humidity, strong winds, and rain.

• Able to supply their own mask, fins, snorkel and wetsuit tops if needed.

Volunteers must be able to work well independently as well as side-by-side for extended periods of time. The best-suited candidates will be easy-going with a good sense of humor, display a mature and professional persona, be flexible under changing conditions and possess a strong physical and mental constitution. Possession of a valid U.S. driver’s license is preferred.

Prior experience in the following is preferred, but not required: remote long-term camping or rustic living; operating small motorboats and kayaks; invasive plant control (terrestrial); shorebird and seabird identification and monitoring; familiarity with computer software such as Google Earth, Microsoft Word and Excel; and general maintenance of equipment and facilities.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will provide:

• Transportation to and from Honolulu, HI from major US cities or neighboring Hawaiian Islands.

• Housing in Honolulu before and after the trip for the days required for work purposes.

• Food, housing and quarantine clothes while on Palmyra.

Honolulu is expensive and volunteers will need to have sufficient finances to provide for their own food for up to 2 weeks of time that they will be in Honolulu both before and after their time on the Refuge.


To Apply:

Please send a resume/CV with at least 3 references and a single page cover letter to Applications will be reviewed beginning March 4th, and will be received until March 18th.

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