Palmyra Conservation Science Volunteer

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The Nature Conservancy

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Honolulu, HI, United States

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30+ days ago


Palmyra Atoll, USA


Since 1951, The Nature Conservancy has been doing work you can believe in protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on. As a science-based organization, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that we can create a world in which people and nature thrive.

We’re rooted in our Mission and guided by our Values, which includes a Commitment to Diversity and Respect for People, Communities, and Cultures. We know we’ll only achieve our Mission by hiring and engaging a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which we work. Whether it’s career development, work/life balance, or a rewarding mission, there’s lots of reasons to love life #insideTNC. Our goal is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that all of our colleagues around the globe feel a sense of belonging, and that their unique contributions to our mission are valued.

In addition to the minimum requirements in our postings, we recognize that people come with talent and experiences outside of a job. Passion, innovation, and diversity are all key components to advancing our Mission and we encourage you to apply.

All TNC staff based in the U.S. or a U.S. Territory whose work involves shared housing or who are designated to act as first responders in the event of an emergency or accident, are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Proof of receiving one of the vaccines approved in the U.S. (Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson) shall be a condition of employment and must be provided within three business days of the employee's start date.

Palmyra Atoll is one of the most spectacular wilderness areas on Earth. Located 1,000 miles south of Hawai‘i, Palmyra is a 680-acre atoll with 480,000 acres of lagoons, coral reefs, and submerged lands. TNC’s Palmyra Preserve is located within a US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Refuge within a protected Marine National Monument. The Nature Conservancy owns and operates a Preserve at Palmyra to care for this special place while learning and developing innovations to improve ecosystem health and resilience and enhance biodiversity. Supporting research and management at Palmyra is a rewarding challenge for the right applicant (see

Established in 2019, the Climate Adaptation and Resilience Laboratory (CARL) at Palmyra focuses on three key strategies for investigating actionable solutions to the increasing effects of climate change: coral reef restoration, pelagic ecosystem protection, and conservation of island ecosystems.


Conservation Science Volunteers are recruited for six-month assignments to support the conservation science and management projects that are a part of CARL. The duration of this term of service may be amended for safety purposes – volunteers will be notified and supported by TNC if any such decision is made. Volunteers will work six 8-hour days with one day off per week, in hot, humid, and/or wet weather, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances. These conditions will involve considerable physical exertion and/or muscular strain, frequent possibility of injury, long hours in isolated settings, exposure to chemicals (e.g. herbicide), contaminants (e.g. WW2-era fuel), and hazards (e.g. rusted metal from WW2-era equipment).

Volunteers must possess (or be able to obtain) a valid passport and, if applicable, the appropriate visa and/or work permit for working in the US with an expiration date at least one month later than the term of the assignment. Additionally, all volunteers must provide evidence of a physical examination, current tetanus and COVID-19 vaccination, and health insurance. TNC provides remote medical coverage for non-emergency physician consultation and emergency evacuation insurance for all staff and volunteers. Volunteers must possess (or be able to obtain) a valid First Aid and CPR certification before the start of the volunteer term.

TNC will provide up to $900 reimbursement for round-trip airfare from the volunteer’s home to Honolulu as well as board and lodging while in Honolulu. Prior to traveling to Palmyra, volunteers will participate in a one-to-two-day orientation that gives an overview of TNC’s mission, values, and Code of Conduct, and of the Palmyra Program, including CARL. TNC will also provide round-trip travel to Palmyra from Honolulu, board and lodging at Palmyra, and key supplies and equipment for the period the volunteer is at Palmyra.


The Conservation Science Volunteer is responsible for aiding scientific studies and conservation initiatives led by TNC, USFWS, and/or our research partners. This position will be remotely supervised by the Palmyra Science Manager; therefore, volunteers must be able to operate safely with minimal guidance. Tasking priorities will be discussed with the Science Manager on a weekly basis. Daily, weekly, and monthly tasking varies according to the needs of priority conservation science projects, which may include native plant establishment and monitoring, invasive species control, seabird and shorebird monitoring tasks, insect monitoring and collection, and many other varied conservation science activities. Regular tasking also includes equipment and facilities maintenance, lab operations, data management, and reporting.


  • Live and work productively, following TNC’s Code of Conduct, within a small, isolated, and confined community in a remote island location for approximately six months.
  • Communicate effectively with a diverse group of people, including TNC staff, USFWS personnel, preserve staff, scientists, and others, to confirm understanding of priority tasking and to provide and obtain necessary information to ensure completion of tasks.
  • Implement tasking priorities without direct daily oversight.
  • Share observations and provide feedback and input on fieldwork and data management methods to increase project efficiency and accomplish project objectives.
  • Identify solutions to problems and take action as appropriate or communicate the situation to an appropriate party as needed.
  • Maintain and share organized files to describe projects, record data, document best practices, summarize field trials, etc.
  • Document and report activities, tasks, findings, and interesting observations via weekly and monthly reports and by taking and sharing photographs and videos with TNC.
  • Assist TNC and USFWS staff and research partners with community, housekeeping, maintenance, or other community-focused tasks as needed.
  • In the event of an emergency, volunteers may be tasked with specific duties to ensure safety and welfare of the community. This may include participating in a response to minor or major medical emergencies, high-water evacuation events, marine rescue events, fuel spills and/or fire containment, etc. Volunteers will be supported if they opt out of any activities that exceed their training or comfort level.


  • High school diploma/GED and 1 year of college-level coursework in biological sciences, conservation science, or natural resource management, -OR- equivalent combination of education and relevant work experience.
  • Experience with scientific studies and following established scientific protocols, including recording, entering, and organizing observation-based data.
  • Experience living and/or working in remote environments or small communities.
  • Experience working independently with minimal daily guidance AND ability to work collaboratively within a team.
  • Experience performing work that requires physical mobility in a hot, humid, wet, and salty environment, and ability to lift up to 50 pounds.
  • Experience with swimming and traveling by kayak or small boat in open water.
  • Experience with MS Office and associated programs, notably Word and Excel.


  • Experience in conservation science and/or applied biology.
  • Experience managing diverse activities (task management skills).
  • Experience operating and piloting a skiff with outboard motors of up to 30hp.
  • Experience using hand tools and equipment, including power and construction tools.
  • Experience with handheld GPS units, Google Earth, and/or ESRI’s ArcGIS.
  • Advanced First Aid training (e.g. Wilderness First Responder).


To apply for job ID 50843, submit your materials online by using the Apply Now button at by 11:59 PM EST on November 30, 2022. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact Applications will be reviewed as needed throughout the year.

IMPORTANT: Your application must clearly indicate how you meet the minimum qualifications presented below. If you have any questions about this position, please contact the Palmyra Science Manager, Katie Franklin, at

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

Do you have military experience? Visit our U.S. Military Skills Translator to match your military experience with our current job openings!

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.