Inouye Regional Center at Ford Island
The Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR)/Pacific Islands Fisheries Science
Center Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program (HMSRP) utilizes volunteers every year to assist with
Hawaiian monk seal field seasonal research camps (~4 months duration) at Papahānaumokuākea Marine
National Monument in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI).
As part of an effort to recruit more locally-based personnel for the field camps, we are currently seeking
individuals to volunteer with our program in Honolulu as a Field Training Volunteer for several months
before the field season begins.
The field training positions require a commitment to volunteer approximately 8-10 hours/week through
~March or April 2020. Volunteer hours must occur between approximately 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday
through Friday. Selected individuals will receive training and gain experience with various monk seal
activities on Oʻahu such as data collection and entry, specimen archiving and processing, identifying
seals, bleaching and tagging seals for identification, assisting with necropsies, inventorying and packing
field supplies, and other program activities. Field training volunteers gain experience to become better
qualified for a position as a NWHI Field Camp Volunteer in the NWHI, a position we will begin recruiting
for starting ~November 2019. The NWHI Field Camp Volunteer position is described on page 2 below.
Although selection for the Field Training Volunteer position does not guarantee a field camp volunteer
position, we are seeking candidates with a strong desire to become a NWHI Field Camp Volunteer
and who would be available for the 2020 field season if selected for a NWHI Field Camp Volunteer
position. Thus, ideal candidates for the Field Training Volunteer position must have the right
personality, qualifications, and capabilities to live on a remote, isolated atoll in rugged conditions for
approximately 4 months with only a few other people.
NWHI Field Camp Volunteers will gain invaluable conservation and field experience living and working
in a unique Hawaiian ecosystem, as well as the following skills:
• Field data collection and observational skills
• Small boat operation skills
• Wilderness First Aid
• Remote field experience, “living off the grid”
• Animal handling, seal tagging
• Population monitoring
• Endangered species conservation
• Invasive species monitoring and control
• Marine debris monitoring and removal
The dates for the 2020 field season are unknown at this time but will most likely range between March
and September 2020. To be considered for a position, applicants must be available to begin mandatory
40 hours/week M-F field camp training beginning approximately early to mid-March. Field camp
deployment is expected to be approximately 5 weeks after training begins and is expected to run as late
as August/September 2020. This schedule is subject to change at any time so flexibility is required.
Field Training Volunteer positions will be located at Inouye Regional Center at Ford Island. Applicants must be able to meet the U.S. Department of Commerce and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) security requirements to access the work location.
To apply for the Field Training Volunteer position, email a resume and cover letter to
firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Positions will remain open until filled. Email subject
line when submitting application should read “2020 Field Training Volunteer application”
Cover letter should include the information below (please read and follow instructions carefully):
• Statement on why you are interested in the Field Training Volunteer position
• Clearly address each qualification listed in the NWHI Field Camp Volunteer position
• Availability in days (M-F only) and times (e.g., 8:00-4:00 every Monday and Wednesday).
• Availability for the 2020 field season if later selected for the field camp volunteer position
Information on the 2020 NWHI Field Camp Volunteer position is below. This position must be
applied for separately when the position is announced at a later date.
Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program NWHI Field Camp Volunteer:
Approximately five weeks of training/packing in Honolulu will be required before deployment, with an
additional week or more after the end of the season for unpacking, cleaning, etc. All other qualifications
being equal, preference will be given to applicants who live on Oʻahu so they can be incorporated into our
program as soon as possible to gain useful experience before the official training begins.
Field camp volunteers will be working in groups of ~2-4 people per camp. Living conditions are rustic
(e.g., living in tents, bathing in the ocean, no internet or cell phone coverage, and limited communication
with the outside world via satellite phone/email). Deployment to a remote field site is a serious
undertaking. Delays in scheduled pick-up and drop-off dates due to weather or ship mechanical issues
may occur, as well as long response times for emergency responses, including evacuation.
Applicants must be able to meet both the U.S. Department of Commerce and National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) security requirements to access the work location, and also the
health requirements to board a NOAA vessel.
For more information about our program, go to:
JIMAR HAWAIIAN MONK SEAL NWHI FIELD CAMP VOLUNTEER POSITION
JIMAR Hawaiian Monk Seal NWHI Field Camp Volunteer, located at the National Marine
Fisheries (NMFS), Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) in Honolulu,
Hawaii. DUTIES: Under guidance of field camp leader, field camp assistant, and/or NMFS
personnel, assists in camp preparation, collection, entry and editing of data. Maintains a safe
working environment for field personnel. Collects census and life history data on Hawaiian
monk seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands or on remote shorelines in the main Hawaiian
Islands; enters data into computer databases; collects, inventories, and removes debris capable
of entangling seals and turtles; assists with collection of tissue samples for DNA analysis;
assists with tagging and measuring weaned pups under the guidance of field camp
leader/assistant; may assist with the disentanglement of seals and other recovery actions which
may include mitigation and deterrence of shark predation by assisting the leader/field camp
assistant while translocating weaned pups from areas of high shark predation to areas of lower
shark predation risk. This may also involve assisting the field camp leader during shark fishing procedures by photographing, recording data, handing equipment and supplies to the leader, and holding the line taut, all while standing at a safe distance away. Also, assists with preparation of equipment and supplies for field camps; packs equipment and supplies for shipment to Northwestern Hawaiian Islands; loads and unloads gear from transport vessel; assists with establishing field camp at remote site. At the field site, under guidance of field camp leader, field camp assistant, and/or NMFS personnel may assist with necropsies; collects and assists processing of scats and spews for food habits analysis. Participates in daily maintenance and operation of field camp. Assists with return, repair, and clean-up of field equipment and supplies. May participate in boating operations under the direction and at the discretion of the field camp leader. May also assist with other protected species research. Performs other duties as assigned.
EDUCATION: High School Diploma or equivalent.
EXPERIENCE: Previous field or remote/wilderness experience, including working in small
groups. Previous experience collecting and working with natural history/biological data.
Experience with ocean activities (e.g., diving, boating, sailing, surfing), particularly in Hawaiian
ABIL/KNOW/SKILLS: Good communication and team skills. Keen observational skills. Ability
to perform accurate data entry. Ability to follow directions and abide by the restrictions of living
and working in a fragile (and federally protected) ecosystem. Capable of maintaining a positive
and cooperative attitude in challenging environmental conditions and succeed and thrive in an
isolated environment with and capable of coping with minimal contact with family/friends during
the extent of deployment. Demonstrated ability to be a good team player. Working knowledge of
personal computers including use of word processing, spreadsheets, and databases. Ability to
collect observational data and visually identify individual seals unaided and with the use of
binoculars. PHYSICAL/MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS: Ability to swim. Ability to work in remote
locations for extended periods of time. Must be able to work long hours in the sun. Must be
able to walk long distances (up to 7 miles) in the sand carrying 25-35 pounds of field gear. Must
be able to manually restrain immature seals (up to 200 pounds). Must be able to obtain medical
clearance for embarking/working on NOAA research vessels or other appropriate vessels which
includes providing proof of required immunizations and/or obtaining the necessary
immunizations as required by NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations.
SECONDARY QUALIFICATIONS: Prior field or remote/wilderness experience, including
experience working within small groups in remote settings. Wildlife or other animal handling
experience. Prior monk seal experience in the main Hawaiian Islands or in a Hawaiian monk
seal field camp. Previous experience in field or laboratory studies of marine mammals, previous
experience handling marine mammals, previous data entry experience. Prefer applicants
interested in pursuing a career or with a strong interest in conservation of Hawaii’s natural
resources or in marine biology or related field. Prior experience with small boats and/or the
ability to conduct routine maintenance on small boats. Possess NOAA certification for small
boat operations (having completed Motorboat Operators Certification Course (MOCC), open
water module (OWM) and NOAA small boat component training) to work at multiple-island atolls