Palmyra Volunteer Announcement

Palmyra Volunteers 512x416

 We need you! We are looking for a few good volunteers to work on Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge!


Rainforest Realignment Volunteer 

Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge 
September 2019 to January 2020



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is seeking six volunteers available from September 15th 2019 through late January 2020 to participate in a rainforest realignment project at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Volunteers will be in Honolulu for training September 15-27th, and will be deployed to Palmyra Atoll for approximately 4-months on September 28th.

Palmyra Atoll is located in the central Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 miles south of Hawaii. Palmyra is a thickly vegetated set of islands with abundant rainfall; hot, humid temperatures; and rustic living conditions. It is uninhabited except for a small crew who manage The Nature Conservancy’s Climate Adaptation + Resilience Laboratory and Service personnel who manage the refuge resources and palm control project. Volunteers will have the rare opportunity to live in this remote setting surrounded by rainforest, seabirds, land crabs and rich apex-predator-dominated coral reef communities.

Duties and Responsibilities: Volunteers will work 8-hours a day 6-days a week for the entire ~4 months on Palmyra without any chance of leaving the atoll. Volunteers will spend half of the work hours controlling an invasive palm using both manual techniques and herbicide applications. The work is extremely strenuous and requires crew members to be in excellent physical condition to cope with repetitive stooping, swinging and hauling in hot and extremely humid conditions. Approximately 8-work hours of each week will consist of a variety of other biological conservation tasks such as native tree propagation and outplanting and monitoring of seabirds, shorebirds, sea turtles, and starfish. Volunteer must be able to swim, snorkel and work from a boat. Volunteers will be responsible for data management and report writing, as well as the cleaning, maintenance, and repair work needed to keep equipment running in a remote tropical environment. All volunteers are part of the atoll community and work hours will include up to 16-hours a week contributing to basic field station chores such as laundry, cleaning, trash collection, rust abatement etc. Refuge personnel work closely with The Nature Conservancy and volunteers will be interacting with a variety of people. Volunteers are expected to represent the US. Fish and Wildlife Service at all times in a mature and professional manner which may include providing interpretive tours and presentations to visitors.

The closest definitive medical care is located 1,000 miles away and critical care may take up to 4-days to be received. There is no cell reception on the atoll, satellite based internet can be poor, and opportunities for mail are limited. Volunteers must be prepared to go the entire time without any resupplies and there is no capacity to provide for any specialized diet other than vegetarian. 


Qualified volunteers must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen and possess a current passport that does not expire for at least 1-year or a non-US citizen that at the time of the application submission already possesses a US visa that allows the candidate to work in the US that is good through June, 2020.
  • Be physically and mentally fit for living and working on a remote atoll in small community for an extended period. 
  • Be able to lift and carry 50-lbs, ride a bicycle, kayak up to 6-miles round trip, and be able to perform repetitive stooping, twisting and bending motions throughout the day.
  • Be able to pass a snorkel/swim fitness test.
  • Be able to walk at least 5-miles a day over variable terrain including water-covered sand flats, thick rainforests and open beaches while carrying up to 35-lbs.
  • Be able to perform all duties in equatorial weather conditions including high heat and humidity, strong winds, and rain.
  • Be able to supply their own mask, fins, snorkel and wetsuit tops if needed.

Volunteers must be able to work well independently as well as side-by-side for extended periods of time. The best-suited candidates will be easy-going with a good sense of humor, display a mature and professional persona, be flexible under changing conditions and possess a strong physical and mental constitution. Possession of a valid U.S. driver’s license is preferred. Prior experience in the following is preferred, but not required: remote long-term camping or rustic living; operating small motorboats and kayaks; invasive plant control (terrestrial), plant propagation; familiarity with computer software such as Google Earth, Microsoft Word and Excel; and general maintenance of equipment and facilities. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will provide:

  • Transportation to and from Honolulu, HI from major US cities.
  • Housing in Honolulu and Palmyra.
  • Food while stationed on Palmyra (but not for periods in Honolulu).

To Apply

Send a resume/CV with at least 3 references and a single page cover letter to

Applications will be reviewed beginning July 29th and will be accepted until August 9th.