• Halema`uma`u Just Before Dawn

    Hawai'i Volcanoes

    National Park Hawai'i

Meet Volunteer Susan

Volunteer Susan from Dublin Ireland
NPS Photo

In Ireland I have been teaching for the last 8 years. I recently graduated with a diploma in Field Ecology and have been working on a voluntary basis with various conservation groups over the last few years. Since March 2010 I have been working as a International Visiting Wildlife Biologist with the US Forest Service in Oregon. There my initial stay of 9 months was extended to 18 months. As I have a "Government Visitor" J1 Visa I enquired if I could also work with the National Park Service. When I was told I could, I was delighted and found a volunteer job with Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on http://www.volunteer.gov/. I will stay here for 5 months and then I return to Oregon.

I have always wanted to visit Hawaiʻi. The first time I heard ukulele being played by a Hawaiian, I fell in love with the music and thought that such beautiful, special music must come from a very beautiful and special place. I chose to apply to this park because it was looking for Interpretation volunteers online. After I applied I researched and realised what a unique park it is. Active vulcanism, conservation and an emphasis on culture all make it an excellent and interesting place to volunteer.

I hope to use my teachings skills when working in the Visitor Center to help the visitors understand what a unique place it is they are visiting. I am also working with USGS (based in the park) banding and tracking forest birds. I hope to use my experience banding birds for the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) in Ireland and USFS (U.S. Forest Service) in Oregon to help gather data for a long-term demographic project at Hakalau Forest NWR (National Wildlife Refuge). The native birds in Hawaiʻi need as much help as they can get and I feel very privileged to work with them.

I hope to leave with a wealth of experience from opportunities that would not be available in Ireland. I would love to work with the National Parks and Wildlife Services in Ireland and believe my time spent here will definitely bring me closer to achieving my dream. I also hope to leave with many long-lasting friendships and a song or two on the ukulele.


Did You Know?

Baby Hawksbill Sea Turtle emerges from its nest.

The endangered Honu`ea (Hawksbill Sea Turtle) comes to shore on the main Hawaiian Islands to nest. They lay multiple nests throughout the season with an average of 175 eggs per nest. Only one in 5,000 hatchlings survives to adulthood.