Kupu Conservation Leadership Development at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge

Kupu 2019


Midway Atoll is a globally significant seabird colony located 1,300 miles from the main Hawaiian Islands within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Midway Atoll is a remote field site inhabited by a small community of ~50 residents comprising of FWS staff, volunteers, and contractors. The biological program at Midway Atoll 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. Up to three interns (2 Habitat Restoration Technicians and 1 Volunteer Field Crew Lead) are sought to assist Refuge staff in the implementation of these programs. All positions available upon funding.

These positions are in partnership with Kupu, a 501c3 nonprofit organization which aims to empower youth to serve their communities through character building, service learning, and environmental stewardship. Kupu aims to train and equip young adults in Hawaiʻi and throughout the Pacific Rim with work skills, life skills, and knowledge to help them become successful as individuals and as part of the greater community. Kupu is staffed by people with a heart to better Hawaiʻi while working as a team with a purpose of doing what is pono and doing what is best for Hawaiʻi and its people. Kupu's Mission is "To empower youth to serve their communities through character-building, service-learning, and environmental stewardship opportunities that encourage integrity (pono) with God, self and others." For more information about the leadership development program through Kupu please visit: http://www.kupuhawaii.org   


  • Must be comfortable with the use of pesticides.
  • Must be able to perform all duties in inclement weather including high heat and humidity, strong winds, and heavy rain.
  • Must be in excellent physical and mental condition; 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.
  • Must be able to pass a swim test. 
  • Must have a valid driver’s license and current passport that does not expire for at least one year.
  • A current physical, tetanus shot, and TB test are required.
  • Ideal candidates will 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. Boat operation, kayaking, and snorkel experience are a plus.

Position 1 - Volunteer Crew Leader


  • Schedule tasks for Volunteer Field Crew.
  • Supervise day-to-day field activities to ensure volunteers are performing assigned tasks correctly and are working within specified hours.
  • Manage performance and conduct of volunteers.
  • Lead volunteer crew orientation and training.
  • Oversee and follow protocol for C02 sample collection and data recording.
  • Assist and coordinate with Wildlife Biologist on Albatross Demography Survival and Reproductive Success Monitoring Program and proper bird handling and banding practices. 
  • Assist and coordinate with Wildlife Biologist on regular Laysan duck health and population monitoring, botulism outbreak response, sick and dead duck intake, and captive care.
  • Coordinate with Wildlife Biologist on invasive rodent control both manually and with pesticide application.
  • Coordinate with Wildlife Biologist and supports the needs of Native Plant Program including native plant propagule collection, potting, watering/nursery care, out-planting, and restoration site maintenance.
  • Coordinate with Wildlife Biologist and supports the needs of Invasive Plant Program on control/eradication including hand-pulling, cutting and treating stumps with herbicide, foliar herbicide application, and basal stem herbicide application,
  • Routine maintenance, cleaning and repair of Refuge equipment, vehicles/vessels, and office space.
  • Working with refuge staff and volunteers on manual labor and construction projects including but not limited to: digging holes, guzzler maintenance, painting, marine debris beach cleanup, rodent trap maintenance, pond management and landscaping projects, etc. 
  • Support various research projects and management actions that occur on refuge (such as Laysan duck, Hawaiian monk seal, and seabirds).
  • Support and assist contractors on wildlife-related work.
  • Data collection, entry, and revision. Maintain records in Access and Excel databases in accordance with FWS protocols.
  • Coordinate with Refuge staff of marine debris management and clean-up.
  • Oversee volunteer housing needs and upkeep. Coordinates with Refuge Management needs outside of routine upkeep.   
  • Coordinates with Refuge Management and supports Refuge outreach and education including monthly activity reports and social media postings.
  • Assist Refuge Management with the administration of volunteers which may include advertising, interviewing, and hiring volunteer crews.
  • Support Hawaiian cultural program including outreach with the community and visitors.

Additional Qualifications:

  • 2-3 years’ experience in biological field work including animal handling, habitat restoration, and/or invasive species control.
  • Remote field work experience.
  • Supervisory experience.
  • Self-motivated, fast learner, flexible, and excellent problem solver.

Desired Skills/Experience:

  • Hawaii plant identification.
  • Previous experience in Hawaiian archipelago.
  • Previous experience with rare and T&E species.
  • Previous ArcGIS, GPS, and Access Database experience.
  • Familiarity with Hawaiian culture and practices. 
  • Motor boat operation experience or MOCC certification.


Position 2 & 3 – Habitat Restoration Technicians                                          


  • Assist with efforts to eradicate Verbesina encelioides, conduct transects to remove plants manually and through chemical application of pesticides and preform quality checks.
  • Survey and map invasive plants and assist prioritizing, coordinating, and implementing control efforts.
  • Monitor treatment efficacy of invasive plant control.
  • Monitor phenology of invasive plant species.
  • Assist with research and development of effective and efficient prescriptions for invasive plant control and management.
  • Assist with design and implementation of restoration projects with clear goals and objectives.
  • Propagate native plants from seeds and cuttings in nursery for restoration projects.
  • Maintain nursery stock including fertilizing, watering, repotting, and plant health monitoring.
  • Monitor habitat restoration areas for overall site condition including native plant health and weed abundance.
  • Monitor focal and rare plants. 
  • Maintain records in Access databases and ArcGIS on data collected pertaining to invasive plant control, herbicide usage, and propagation.
  • Support Hawaiian cultural program including outreach with the community and visitors.

Desired Skills/Experience:

  • 1-2 years restoration experience including plant propagation, nursery experience, and weed control.  
  • Hawaii plant identification.
  • Previous experience in Hawaiian archipelago.
  • Previous experience with rare and T&E species.
  • Previous ArcGIS, GPS, and Access Database experience.

To Apply:
For more information on Kupu’s Conservation Leadership Development Program please visit: http://www.kupuhawaii.org/conservation/
Link to application: https://kupuhawaii.tfaforms.net/174

Applications are due by June 30th, this includes written references. We encourage you to apply early to give your references ample time to respond to the questionnaire.