7-Month Biological Volunteers Needed for
Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking four (4) biological volunteers to work at Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. This expedition is an expansion of the Crazy Ant Strike Team project (CAST). A major goal of the work effort remains the eradication of the Yellow Crazy Ant (YCA), Anoplolepis gracilipes, but a greater emphasis is now being placed on seabird and other biological resource monitoring. Start and end dates will be determined and dependent on the ship schedule. However, start dates will fall between May and June 2019. When applying please provide your earliest date of availability.
Johnston Atoll is located in the central Pacific Ocean, 720 nautical miles west-southwest of Honolulu, and is uninhabited, except for the four volunteers and one crew leader. Transportation to the atoll is a 3-day ship journey. Volunteers will have the rare opportunity to live in this remote setting surrounded by abundant birds and sea life.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Volunteers will be expected to work about 48 hours/week, 6 days/week for their 6 months on island. Some projects will necessitate working evenings or consecutive days, including weekends. The first month will be spent in Honolulu, Hawaii. Volunteers will pack and prepare gear, food, and all items necessary for field camp; and, complete necessary training. Volunteers are expected to remain in Honolulu for a minimum of 2 days and are provided housing for up to a week post return to participate in clean up among other tasks. For the 6 months on Johnston Island, responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
• Ant monitoring and pesticide application
• Ant species identification - using a microscope and dichotomous key to identify and count ant
• Additional entomological surveys
• Conducting mean incubation counts for Red-tailed Tropicbirds, Red-footed Boobies, and Great
• Survey Red-tailed Tropicbird reproduction plots
• Band Red-tailed Tropicbirds
Other Biological Monitoring:
• Invasive plant management (mechanical and chemical)
• Habitat restoration - plant nursery care and outplanting
• Weekly snorkel transect surveys
• Marine debris shoreline surveys
• Biweekly shorebird and sea turtle surveys
Data Management and Camp Maintenance
• Data entry and management using Excel, Access, and GIS
• Participate in writing sections of the weekly and final summary reports
• Camp maintenance and chores – there are expectations of keeping a clean and organized camp
in order to limit pests
Johnston Island is an extremely remote site, where all but emergency access is by ship, which takes 3-5 days from Honolulu. No re-supply or ship visits during the 6-month camp are anticipated. On the island, transportation will primarily be by foot or bicycle with 1-mile daily commutes to the work site. Living conditions are primitive and consist of 10’x14’x6’ personal sleeping tents and a bunker that is used for communal/food storage/kitchen and office areas. Weather conditions can be harsh with strong winds, tropical storms, and hot sun. Bathing is done in the ocean and washing is done with salt water. Communication with the island has proven to be reliable but is limited to inReach®, satellite phones, and slow internet access. Internet access is not guaranteed and team members must be prepared for the possibility of communication being limited to text-only e-mail via the satellite phone with no internet browsing capability. Direct medical attention is a minimum of 1-3 days away. As such, safety is of primary concern.
Volunteers must be physically and mentally fit. Must be able to walk 10 miles a day over variable terrain, lift and carry 50 lbs, ride a bicycle, swim, and be able to perform repetitive stooping and bending motions. Strong, healthy bodies are critical. Must be able to perform all duties in various weather conditions including high heat and humidity, strong winds, and rain. Must have strong interpersonal skills and be able to work well independently as well as closely in a small group, be easy-going with a good sense of humor, and flexible to changing conditions. The ability to communicate safely and effectively amongst the crew and especially with the crew lead and Honolulu support team is also imperative. All Johnston crewmembers must follow rigorous pesticide and safety protocols. Qualified applicants must possess a valid U.S. passport that will not expire before January 2020. Possession of a valid U.S. driver’s license is preferred. Must be a U.S. citizen.
Prior experience in the following is preferred, but not required:
Remote long term camping, invasive species control, seabird and shorebird identification and monitoring, bird handling, entomological surveying, use of microscopes, familiarity with GIS tools and software, data management, pesticide application and habitat restoration.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will provide:
Airfare to and from Honolulu from a major US airline hub, bunkhouse lodging and some reimbursement for food costs while in Honolulu, transportation between Honolulu and Johnston, clothes for use on island, and food and housing on Johnston. Hawaii is expensive and candidates are encouraged to research cost-of-living in Honolulu prior to their arrival. Volunteers will need to have sufficient finances to provide for their own food during the one-month preparation period in Honolulu, to be reimbursed at a later date.
Please include “JA – Biological Volunteer Application” in the e-mail subject line. Please provide your earliest date of availability.
Submit a cover letter, CV or resume, and at least 3 professional references to:
Application deadline is March 1, 2019 but will remain open until positions are filled.