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2013 VolunteersBecome a Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge wildlife biology volunteer (see details below) within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument or join the Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, a 501 (c) 3 organization that supports the Refuge in its efforts to preserve, protect and restore the biological diversity and the historic resources of Midway Atoll.

Duties: Volunteer work will include seabird and Laysan duck monitoring, habitat restoration, native plant propagation and outplanting, removal of invasive plants both by hand and through chemical application of herbicide, marine debris removal, data entry, and equipment maintenance, along with other tasks depending on current projects and refuge needs. Volunteers are expected to work a minimum of 40 hours/week with additional weekend work when necessary.

Requirements: Must be physically fit and able to confidently ride a bike, hike up to three miles in the sand or on uneven terrain, lift 50 pounds, and be willing to spray herbicide with proper protective gear. Preferred skills include ability to swim/snorkel. Successful applicants must also be willing to handle albatrosses and other seabirds for banding and monitoring studies, and willing to perform all duties in sub-tropical wind, sun, rain and humidity extremes. Volunteers should have a strong work ethic along with the ability to live and work closely with a small group of people for four months.

Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is a remote site and accessible only by plane twice a month. Because of the isolated nature of this work, safety is of the utmost importance. Volunteers should be aware that evacuation for emergencies or medical issues can typically take at least 24 hours and be potentially very expensive. Because Midway is a small community where volunteers will be working and living with FWS employees and contractors, we cannot stress enough our zero tolerance policy for harassment or abuse of any kind, including alcohol or drug abuse.

A minimum 16-week commitment is required. One round-trip flight between Midway and Honolulu, and housing at Midway are provided. Volunteers are responsible for their own travel to Honolulu as well as the cost of meals while on Midway. A current passport is required for travel to and from Midway.

Volunteer living quarters on Midway are comfortably furnished and include individual bedrooms, a common living area, and a full kitchen. Volunteers are responsible for the proper upkeep of their living quarters and individuals are responsible for paying for their meals eaten. The rate is currently $3 for breakfast, $4 for lunch, and $5 for dinner. The “Clipper House” on Midway serves cafeteria-style food with a wide variety of dishes, including vegetarian options and a full salad bar, courtesy of Midway’s hydroponic garden. There is also a small store on Midway that provides some basic food and necessities.

Applicants who are selected as volunteers will be sent a packet of additional information on the island, duties, and suggested items to bring, as well as required forms. These items must be submitted before the volunteer arrives for duty in Honolulu. A current physical, tetanus shot, and TB test are also required.

Volunteer time periods and application deadlines; exact start times may vary depending on plane schedules, and selected individuals should coordinate travel plans with Midway staff prior to departing home: 

  • November - February, applications due between July 1 and August 1
  • March - June, applications due between November 1 and December 1
  • July - October, applications due between March 1 and April 1

If you are interested in more than one time period, a separate application for each time period is required. Because of the large number of applications received, preference will be given to those with a science/biology degree, remote field experience, bird banding experience, and/or habitat restoration experience.

To Apply: If you are interested in applying, please email a pdf single file that includes a cover letter, brief résumé outlining relevant education and work experience, three work-related references (with phone and e-mail), and your dates of availability to: For more information call: 808-772-5317.

The National Wildlife Refuge System has owed its very existence to concerned citizens eager to protect America's natural resources. Over 42,000 volunteers and more than 200 nonprofit Refuge Friends organizations support national wildlife refuges. Friends and volunteers are crucial to conserving and protecting our nation’s wildlife and teaching millions of Americans that their actions today determine the conservation legacy of tomorrow.

Last Updated: Jul 17, 2014
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