Habitat Restoration Volunteer Winter 2024 Field Season

The State of Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW)

Hōlanikū (Kure Atoll), Hawaii

Job Type Unpaid
Salary Details N/A
Deadline Sep 16, 2024
Required Experience 0 - 1 years

Winter 2024 Field Season: October 2024 - May 2025

The State of Hawai'i’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) is seeking Habitat Restoration Volunteers for work at Kure Atoll Wildlife Sanctuary in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Hōlanikū is a part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and is located 1,400 miles northwest of O'ahu. Hōlanikū provides important habitat for wildlife, including the endangered koloa pōhaka (Laysan duck) and 'llioholoikauaua (Hawaiian monk seal). Eighteen species of seabirds nest on Hōlanikū (Kure Atoll) including kaʻupu, (Black-footed albatross) and ʻaoʻū, (Christmas shearwater).

DLNR is committed to eradicating non-native and invasive plant species such as Golden crown-beard (Verbesina encelioides) from the atoll. Invasive plants are a significant management concern because they displace native plants, which are necessary for wildlife habitat and promote dune stability. This position is a rare opportunity to protect and recover a unique ecosystem while living in a remote wildlife sanctuary!

Hōlanikū is an extremely remote work location and transportation to the atoll is limited and infrequent. Deployment to any remote field station is a serious undertaking. Delays in travel dates due to weather or ship mechanical issues may occur. Due to Hōlanikū being a remote location and difficult to access, response times for emergencies, including evacuation, may be uncertain. The ability to live and work in close quarters with a small group of people for an extended period of time is of the utmost importance. Field teams typically consist of 3 to 5 personnel. There are only 2-3 field seasons per year (approximately 3-8 months each).

Strict Biosecurity: Biosecurity protocols are in place to prevent further introduction of alien species. This quarantine requires that all “soft” items (clothing, shoes, straps, etc.) must be purchased as new and frozen for 48 hours prior to departure to Hōlanikū. All “hard” items (cameras, electronics, musical instruments, etc.) must be inspected thoroughly and may need to be frozen or fumigated prior to departure.

The program objectives are diverse with the majority of time dedicated to invasive plant removal. To learn more about the work we do please visit: http://kureatollconservancy.org/our-work/

Volunteers will be trained to conduct: Invasive plant removal (manual and chemical), invasive species monitoring, plant identification, wildlife monitoring and species identification, native plant propagation and distribution, safe animal handling, and beach cleanups to remove wildlife entanglement and ingestion hazards

Volunteers will acquire skills in: Wildlife monitoring, data collection and entry with Excel, operation of GPS equipment, binocular/spotting scope use. Hawaiian cultural activities are incorporated into the program.


  • Strong interpersonal skills; a desire to live in a close-knit community
  • Excellent physical and mental health; be able to receive medical clearance from a physician for remote fieldwork
  • Must be able to obtain medical clearance for embarking/working on NOAA research vessels
  • Able to walk 10 miles per day with a 40 lb. pack over soft sand and uneven terrain; ability to bend or stoop for short periods of time
  • Able to lift and carry 50 lbs.
  • Data collection and management skills
  • Able to work in uncomfortable and/or unpredictable weather
  • Able to swim
  • 20/20 color vision or correctable lenses
  • Must be comfortable with the use of pesticides

Volunteers can expect to work 40 hours per week. Work hours are project dependent and may include early mornings, evenings, and weekends. Weather conditions may be sunny, hot, cold, windy, and/or rainy. Additionally, volunteers will assist with camp upkeep and chores outside of regular work hours. Travel dates are tentative and subject to change. DLNR/ DOFAW will provide transportation between Honolulu and Hōlanikū. Lodging and food while on Hōlanikū and in transit between Honolulu and Hōlanikū are provided. Most clothing and work-related gear is provided.

Examples of tasks and physical requirements for the position are listed below:

Onloading/Offloading (minimum 2x per season)

  • Ability to lift, carry, and cart loads in a wheelbarrow up to 50 lbs. for multiple hours over uneven, sandy terrain.

Treatments (5x per week)

  • Carry/lift a backpack sprayer weighing 20-40 lbs. for 4+ miles for 4-8 hours per day.
  • Use tools, such as loppers, to cut trail for 4-8 hours per day.

Wildlife Surveys (1x per week)

  • Ability to walk 5+ miles in sandy, uneven terrain.
  • Carry/drag/cut up entanglement hazards up to 150 lbs. as needed.

Seabird Monitoring (1 full-atoll survey per winter/summer season)

  • Multitask counting via a counter, marking areas with a spray wand, and checking GPS points for 4+ miles, up to 800+ times per day for 8+ hours.

Inquiries: Email Cynthia Vanderlip & Bri Bishop at kureatoll@gmail.com 

To apply: Send resume, cover letter, and three references to kureatoll@gmail.com

Application deadline: Applications reviewed upon receipt. Applications may be contacted for an interview beginning in July 2024.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category General / Stewardship, Restoration, Wildlife
Tags Ornithology