Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

Mackay Island & Currituck

National Wildlife Refuges
Internships Summer and Spring

NOTE: Mackay Island is not currently participating in the intern program. For information about refuge internships in North Carolina, visit:

Summer Intern assists with banding wood duck

Questions and Answers about our Intern Program:

When does the internship begin?

Summer internships will begin shortly after your spring semester through the end of the summer usually lasting about nine weeks. Internships can also be arranged for Spring.

What would I be doing?

One purpose of this internship is for you to have a quality experience. It will provide you with a "real world" experience in the field of wildlife management that you will hopefully enjoy and learn a lot from. Keep in mind though that the real world is not all fun and games, that’s why it's called work.

Secondly, having this internship helps the refuge to accomplish its goals. We do not have a refuge biologist so the biological program here is minimal. You will be able to perform some of the activities that a biologist would do. You will also be helping out with administrative tasks (what management positions do). These will be sort of random tasks but it is doubtful that being in the air-conditioning from time to time will be a problem. In addition, your personal goals will be considered and your talents utilized when possible.

You will be involved on both Mackay Island NWR and Currituck NWR:

Mackay Island NWR

  • Wood duck baiting/banding - bait the site every other day; banding will begin in July
  • Wood duck box checks to determine nesting success
  • Usually two days spent at Pea Island with the other interns banding terns and pelican chicks in June (very smelly)
  • Collecting water monitoring data.
  • Trash and litter pickup (twice weekly)
  • Mowing and weed-eating in public use areas
  • Various other maintenance tasks as they arise
  • Present interpretive/educational programs as they are requested by schools, etc.
  • Work in refuge booth at Knotts Island Wildlife Festival (July)
  • Office Work: answering phones; providing information to visitors
  • Administrative tasks: summarizing survey data for waterfowl, wading birds, etc.; organizing catalogs, supply closet, slide file; filing system, other misc. jobs that arise.

Currituck NWR

  • Sea turtles - complete stranding reports for any dead turtles that wash up on shore (not too common, but wonderful job!).
  • Sea Beach Amaranth Surveys - an endangered plant on the beach
  • Piping Plover Survey (one in June)
  • Bi-annual survey of a colonial bird rookery (where egrets, herons, etc. nest)

What are the housing conditions?

You will stay in an apartment that is built into the end of a storage building. The outside isn't that great, but the inside is sufficient. It has a combo living room/kitchen (sofa, coffee table, TV stand (TV NOT included) dinning room table, refrig., stove, microwave, pots/pans, washer/dryer, telephone). It has one bathroom and two bedrooms, each with a single bed, chest, and night stand. The only thing you will need to bring is some entertainment (TV/VCR w/ antenna, radio, books, etc.).

Is there a town nearby, and if so, how big/small is it?

The refuge is located in the community of Knotts Island, NC (pop. 2,500) - it's pretty safe and quiet. There is a gas station/grocery store with basically all you need (even movie rentals and a deli) but the prices are a little higher. There’s also a post office and a restaurant (if it’s in business) on the island. Virginia Beach and Chesapeake are about a 30-45 minute drive away. These are large cities with plenty of everything. There’s a movie theater, fast food restaurants, nicer restaurants, and a nice recreation center about 35 minutes from the refuge in Va. Beach. Plus there's a public beach.

What hours would I typically work?

Its mostly normal hours (7:30 to 4:00). May occasionally be some weekend and evening work. Baiting wood ducks may occur in the evenings. Banding occurs before daybreak.

How much do I get paid?

This is a volunteer internship. However, you will receive a food stipend of $75.00/week.

Where can I find more info on the refuges and this internship?

Mackay Island NWR (252) 429-3100

Also, be sure to check out Friends of Mackay Island.


How do I apply for this internship?

To apply, please send your resume, including GPA and references to:

Mike Hoff, Manager
Mackay Island NWR
P.O. Box 39
Knotts Island, NC 27950

or email:

Last Updated: 5/19/14