This position is a rare opportunity to protect and recover a unique ecosystem while living in a remote wildlife sanctuary!

Job Type: Habitat Restoration Volunteer
Location: Kure Atoll Wildlife Sanctuary, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI)
Duration: 7-8 months (Summer: February-October, Winter: September-March)
Position closed: Applications reviewed upon receipt until positions are filled
Inquiries: Email Matt Saunter & Naomi Worcester kureatoll@gmail.com
Apply: Send resume, cover letter, and three references to email above

Description:The State of Hawai’i’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) is seeking Habitat Restoration Volunteers for work at Kure Atoll Wildlife Sanctuary in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. 

Primary Responsibilities: 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 workload 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: carpentry, solar equipment maintenance, small boat experience.

Experience Gained From This Work: Volunteers will acquire skills in: Data collection and entry, Excel and GPS equipment, binocular/spotting scope use. Hawaiian cultural activities are incorporated into the program.

Requirements: Strong interpersonal skills, excellent physical and mental health, able to walk 10 miles per day with a 40 lb. pack over soft sand and uneven terrain, able to lift and carry 50 lbs., data collection and management skills, able to work for long hours in uncomfortable and/or unpredictable weather, bend or stoop for short periods of time, ability to swim, 20/20 color vision or correctable lenses. Must be able to obtain medical clearance for embarking/working on research vessels. Must be comfortable with use of pesticides.

Must be comfortable with herbicide use.

Volunteers 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. Additionally, volunteers will assist with camp upkeep and chores outside of regular work hours. Travel dates are subject to change. DLNR/ DOFAW will provide transportation between Honolulu and Kure Atoll. Lodging and food while on Kure and in transit between Honolulu and Kure are provided. Most field clothes and gear are provided. All other transportation, housing, and personal items must be supplied by the applicant. 

Background Information

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 Atoll provides important habitat for wildlife, including the endangered Laysan teal (Anas laysanensis) and Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi). Eighteen species of seabirds nest on Kure including Black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes) and Christmas shearwaters (Puffinus nativitatis).

Management Priorities

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. There are currently 16 native and 31 non-native plant species on Green Island–Kure Atoll’s only vegetated island. Several plant species are invasive and are being removed to improve seabird nesting habitat.

Field Transportation and Communications

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 the 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.

Physical Requirements

Example activities/repetitions listed. Weather conditions may be sunny, hot, cold, windy, and/or rainy

Task Physical description Weight  (lbs) Repetition Distance Duration 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 Pushing/pulling 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,lifting 20-40lbs 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
Boating 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
Painting Repetitive motion   5 times a season   4-6 hours Standing, reaching
Tin can crushing for recycling/trash Swinging /pounding sledge hammer,Squatting 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 +restraint   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