Become part of Hawaii’s conservation story

Job Type: Habitat Restoration Worker – Volunteer Positions

Location: Kure Atoll Wildlife Sanctuary, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) 

Duration: 7 months (Approximately mid-August 2019 to March/April 2020) 

Position closed: Applications reviewed upon receipt until positions are filled

Deadline to apply is July 31, 2019

Inquiries: Email Andy Sullivan-Haskins at


Description: The State of Hawai'i’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) is seeking volunteersfor work at Kure Atoll Wildlife Sanctuary in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Kure Atoll is a part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is located 1,400 miles northwest of O'ahu. Kure Atoll occupies a unique position referred to as the “Darwin Point”,which is the northern extent of coral reef development and the atoll is estimated to be 29.8 million years old. Kure is an important breeding site for wildlife, including several rare or endangered species. Eighteen species of seabirdsnest on Kure including Black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes) and Christmas shearwaters (Puffinus nativitatus). The endangered Laysan teal(Anas laysanensis) was recently introduced to Kure. There are currently 16 native and 31 non-native plant specieson Kure Atoll’s only vegetated island, Green Island. Several plant species are invasive and are being removed to improve seabird nesting habitat. DLNR is committed to eradicating the invasive plant Golden crown-beard (Verbesina encelioides) from the atoll. Invasive plants are a significant management concern because they displace native plant habitat and seabird nesting areas, and may entrap seabirds in a dense vegetative mass. Native plants are an integral resource for seabird nesting habitat and dune stabilization. This position is a unique opportunity to protect and recover seabird habitat while living in a wildlife sanctuary!

Kure Atoll is an extremely remote work location. Transportation to/from Kure Atoll is by ship and is infrequent. The ability to live and work in close quarters with a small group of people for an extended period of time is of the utmost importance.The seasonal field teams consist of 6 to 8 people. Due to limited transportation, there are only 2 field seasons per year(approximately 6 months each). Contact on Kure is limited to text only e-mail (no pictures or attachments) through the field station’s satellite phone. There is no internet or cell phone service available.   

Strict Quarantine:Biosecurity protocols are in place to prevent introduction of alien species. This quarantine requires that all “soft” items (clothing, shoes, straps etc.) must be purchased new and frozen for 48 hours prior to departure to Kure Atoll. All “hard” items (cameras, musical instruments, etc.) must be inspected thoroughly and may need to be frozen or fumigated prior to departure. 

Primary responsibilities include:Invasive plant removal; Big-headed ant monitoring; Laysan duck monitoring; native plant propagation and out-planting; vegetation surveys; seabird surveys and assisting with banding events; Hawaiian monk seal monitoring; marine debris removal; data collection and entry; weekly meetings. Additionally, all staff will help with regular camp maintenance and chores outside of regular work hours. 

**Although the work load is diverse, most of the hours are dedicated to invasive plant removal (75-80%)**

Desired Experience:Invasive species control; Hawaiian plant identification; native plant propagation and out-planting; avian reproductive monitoring; shorebird and/or seabird monitoring and identification; binocular/spotting scope use; data management; familiarity with Excel and ArcGIS; GPS usage. Other useful skills include: carpentry, solar equipment maintenance, small boat experience. 

Requirements:Excellent physical and mental health; able to walk 10 miles per day with a 40lb pack over uneven terrain, lift 50 lbs, work for long hours in hot/sunny, rainy/cold conditions, and bend or stoop for long periods of time; must know how to swim; and have 20/20 color vision or correctable lenses. Must be comfortable with herbicide use

Personnel can expect to work 40+ hrs/wk. Although most weeks are Monday-Friday, work hours are project dependent and may include early mornings, evenings, and weekends. DLNR/DOFAWwillprovidetransportationbetweenHonoluluandKureAtoll.Traveldatesaresubjecttochange.LodgingandfoodwhileonKureandintransitbetween Honolulu and Kureare provided.Mostfieldclothesandgearareprovided.Allothertransportation,housing,andpersonalitems mustbesuppliedbyapplicant. Kure Atoll Conservancy will award $1000 at the end of the field season to help offset these costs.

Please send resume, cover letter, and three references to Andy Sullivan-Haskins:

Physical Requirements for work at Kure Atoll Wildlife Sanctuary: Example activities/repetitions are listed above. Weather conditions may be sunny, hot, cold, windy, and/or rainy 



Physical description 

Weight  (lbs) 




Physical conditions  

Lift/Carry supplies in 5 gallon buckets, haul to camp 

Lift/Carry, transfer to boat/ wheelbarrow 

20-30 lbs 

100 per offload/ transfer from truck to ship, etc 


Carry up to 100 feet, plus hauling 700 ft 

4+ hours per offload, plus several times per season 

Uneven surface, soft sand, hills, wave action 

Lift/Carry 5-6 gallon water jugs, haul water to shore/camp 

Lift/Carry, transfer to boat/ wheelbarrow 

50 lbs 

30 jugs per offload, plus  2-4 jugs/week, as needed  

Carry up to 100 feet, plus hauling 700 ft 

1 hour per offload, plus several times per season 

Uneven surface, soft sand, hills, wave action 

Pushing/pulling wheel barrows 


100 lbs 

15  trips per offload and as needed  

700 feet 

6 hrs per offload, as needed 

Uneven surface, soft sand,  hills 

Back pack / Spray herbicide 

Carrying, walking, 




5 days/week 

4+  miles 

4-8 hours/day 

Uneven surface, soft sand, up and down hills 

Lift/Carry nursery trays 

Lift/Carry, transfer to wheelbarrow 

50 lbs 

2 times a week/ as needed 

Up to 40 feet 

Up to 5 minutes 

Uneven surface, soft sand 

Marine Debris 

Lifting/hauling/ carrying, using hand tools 

Variable, can be heavy, cumbersome  


As needed to collect debris  

10-300 feet 

8+hrs per month 

Uneven surface,  soft sand, hills, wave action 


Standing, sitting, swimming, loading supplies 


Up to 4-6 times per season 


1-6 hours, during offloads and surveys 

Bouncing, jarring, jolting, sun/wind/cold  


Repetitive motion 


5 times a season 


4-6 hours 

Standing, reaching 

Tin can crushing for recycling/trash 

Swinging /pounding sledge hammer, 


3 lb sledge hammer 

Continuous pounding/ 3-4 times week  


1-2 hours per month 

Squatting, repetitive motion 

Restraining albatross 

Holding birds, 

repetitive motion 

4-5 lbs 

200 squats /kneeling + 



4 hours/day during banding events  

Uneven or hard surface 

Albatross counting 

Squeezing hand triggers 

Pack weight 10+ lbs 

800 /day 


10 hrs/day,   

5-7 days 

Uneven surface, hills, soft sand 

Shearwater Survey 

Squatting, kneeling, capturing, restraining 

Pack weight 10+ lbs 

60/ survey 


3-4 hours, 3-4 times a year 

After dark, uneven /hard substrate


For more information visit the Kure Atoll Conservancy website: 


Kure Atoll Blog:


Kure Atoll Facebook Page:


Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument:

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