The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking volunteers for six months at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge for the biological program from April 21, 2020 to November 3, 2020. The biological program focuses on controlling and removing non-native species and to maintain, conserve, and restore quality habitat to meet the needs of indigenous plants, seabirds, water birds, monk seals, and sea turtles. In addition to being a National Wildlife Refuge, Midway Atoll is also designated as the Battle of Midway National Memorial and is part of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Midway Atoll is a remote field site located over 1,300 miles from the main Hawaiian Islands and is inhabited by a small community of ~50 residents comprising FWS staff, volunteers, and contractors.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Volunteers work 40 hours/week, Monday-Friday with additional nights, early mornings, and weekend work as needed. Volunteer work includes invasive plant and rodent removal using manual and chemical applications of pesticides, native plant propagation, seed collection and processing, seabird and Laysan duck monitoring, marine debris removal, data entry and proofing, equipment maintenance, and other tasks depending on current projects and refuge needs.
A large part of this year’s volunteer work will be associated with a mouse eradication project. Mice have been documented attacking nesting albatross, and have been responsible for several albatross deaths and abandonment of nests. Volunteers will be helping with mouse eradication for 3-4 months. Work during this period will include spreading mouse bait on land and in buildings and helping with the care of non-target birds. Work may include camping on Eastern Island to take care of captive Laysan ducks for one-week stints.
Midway Atoll is an extremely remote site and receives supplies occasionally by plane or ship. However, this can be not be reliable and due to weight restrictions, volunteers must be prepared to have all necessary amenities (i.e. toiletries and medications) with them upon arrival. Communication is limited to landline phones and slow internet access. Transportation on island will primarily be by foot or bicycle. Weather conditions can be harsh with strong winds, tropical storms, and hot sun. Safety is of primary concern. Volunteers should be aware that evacuation for emergencies or medical issues can typically take at least 24 hours and can be very expensive. All volunteers will need to carry medical-evacuation insurance. Any medical concerns should be discussed prior to arrival to Midway (i.e. adverse reactions to jelly fish or bee stings, food allergies, asthma, etc.). If an issue is of concern, we can work with the incumbent and their medical provider to determine if being on a remote, isolated island is in the best interest of the volunteer and the Service.
Selected applicants will be sent a packet of additional information on the island, duties, and suggested items to bring, as well as required forms. These required forms must be submitted before the volunteer arrives for duty in Honolulu. Volunteers are required to obtain a government PIV card before arriving to Honolulu which can take up to one month. A current physical, tetanus shot, and TB test are also required. The Service will provide transportation between Honolulu and Midway Atoll, and housing and meals while on Midway Atoll.
• Remote field experience in the Hawaiian archipelago with a focus on:
o invasive species control
o plant identification and plant propagation
o avian identification, handling, and reproductive monitoring
• Ideal candidates will possess:
o strong interpersonal skills
o able to work well independently as well as closely in a small group
o easy-going with a good sense of humor
o flexible to changing conditions
o boating, kayaking, and snorkel experience
• Must be willing and able to work 40+ hours per week.
• Must be in excellent physical and mental condition; able to walk 10 miles a day over variable terrain, lift and carry 25 lbs., ride a bicycle, swim, and be able to perform repetitive stooping and bending motions.
• Must be able to perform all duties in inclement weather including high heat and humidity, strong winds, and heavy rain.
• Must be able to pass a swim test (100 m swim, 100 m snorkel, and 2 minutes treading water).
• Must be comfortable with the use of pesticides.
• Must have a valid driver’s license and current passport that does not expire for at least one year.
Please email a single PDF file in the following format: YourLastName_Spring2020.pdf that includes your cover letter, resume/CV, relevant certifications, and at least three references. You may send your application materials with the subject line “Midway Atoll Volunteer Application” to Theresa Geelhoed at email@example.com. Please direct any questions to Theresa as well. Applications are due by March 2nd, 2020.