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Volunteer Seabird Field Assistant in Alaska

Marc Romano, January 27, 2017

Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge is recruiting several volunteers for the summer of 2017 to assist with our seabird monitoring program. This is a unique opportunity to experience a wildlife refuge that spans much of the coastline of Alaska, covers nearly 3.4 million acres, and provides essential habitat for some 30 million seabirds, hundreds of thousands of marine mammals, and numerous plant and animal species found only in Alaska.

Position Description: Volunteers will perform a variety of scientific and technical tasks to assist in a long-term seabird monitoring program. Species being studied will differ by location but may include storm-petrels, cormorants, kittiwakes, murres, pigeon guillemots, auklets, and puffins. The fieldwork will require volunteers to follow established, standardized procedures for field data collection, biological sample collection and storage, data entry, and data management. Volunteers will be collecting data on seabird breeding chronology, reproductive success, population changes, adult survival, and food habits.

Volunteers will work as part of a field crew consisting of 2-5 individuals, supervised by an experienced crew leader. It is very important that volunteers are able to live and work amicably in small groups for over three months. In addition to collecting scientific data, volunteers will assist with the maintenance and upkeep of the field camp, including assisting with meal planning and food preparation.

The work is conducted at remote field camps spread across the breadth of the Refuge including Aiktak, Buldir, Chowiet, St. George, and St. Paul islands. All of the sites are located along the coast of Alaska, so wet, windy weather and spartan living conditions are the norm. The hard work and remote locations can be very challenging and this opportunity is not for everyone, but for the right person this experience will be very rewarding.

Qualifications: Best qualified applicants will possess (or be working toward) a degree in biology or related field and have some field experience. All applicants should be in excellent physical condition and able to live and work happily with a small group of people in an extremely remote and isolated environment. Applicants must be willing and able to work in cold, wet weather, doing sedentary work, for hours at a time. Previous experience working with birds is desirable but not required. This position requires applicants to be willing and able to work a varied schedule, including long days (10+ hours), weekends, and holidays. Some positions may require applicants to be comfortable with heights.

Duration: May 1 through early September. Only applicants available for the entire period should apply, as transport to and from the islands is very restricted.

Compensation: Transportation to and from Homer, Alaska from any of the 50 states is provided. Housing is provided both in Homer during training and in the field. A small stipend will be provided to cover food costs while in Homer and incidental costs while in the field. All food in the field is provided, and it is prepared by the field crew (so bring your favorite cookbooks!).

To Apply: Please submit a brief cover letter, detailed resume, three references and any college transcripts (unofficial copies are OK) to Marc Romano ( You must be a U.S. citizen or national to apply. We will be filling these positions on a rolling basis, so please apply early.