What drew you to volunteer at Haleakalā National Park, Why have you come back for repeat seasons?
As a volunteer you look for National Parks that offer an opportunity to learn geographically and culturally those things in which you have an interest. Haleakalā was a great fit. Added to that is the hope that your own expertise will support the day-to-day operations and overall objectives of the Park. Thus far I have volunteered for six years at Haleakalā. What I have experienced is a very professional and friendly staff that is passionate about what the National Parks represent and individuals who appreciate my efforts as a volunteer.
What type of work or projects have you done for the park and how did they help the park achieve their mission/goals?
My first assignment as a volunteer was to work with the Park in their efforts to manage their way through a Department of Interior Environmental Safety and Health audit. This, over time, led to projects to create, update and implement a multitude of programs such as the Integrated Solid Waste Alternatives Plan. Over time, this effort expanded to projects to ensure desired compliance and results within the Facilities Management Division.
The Management Team and staff in general appreciate volunteers who bring a different perspective and in my case took the time based on my expertise to figure out how I could best support what they needed done. They genuinely care that any volunteer experience is rewarding not only for the park but for the volunteer.
The Volunteer Coordinator and Management team gets credit for taking the time to understand my pre-retirement work experience and matching that with existing priorities within the Park. That becomes a win/win for all involved. The NPS gets needed support and I feel I have helped in a meaningful and perhaps unique way.
I was drawn to volunteer at Haleakalā National Park because I wanted to gain work experience in the field of nature conservation and resource management. My position of wildlife management intern enabled me to do this while helping out with conservation projects that are important to me. The unique environment of Haleakalā appealed to me as well.
As a wildlife management intern, I primarily worked on controlling introduced predators that prey on endangered nēnē and 'ua'u. I also monitored nēnē and 'ua'u for nesting and reproductive activity. While doing this work I was able to spend a lot of time outdoors checking predator traps, looking for signs of 'ua'u nesting activity among the cliffs, and surveying the park for nēnē. This helped the park achieve its goals of protecting endangered species and controlling
Volunteering at Haleakalā was a great experience for me. Some of the work was not glamorous, but it was meaningful and supported the cause of nature conservation, so I was happy to do it. I spent most of my days working outdoors in a beautiful, unique environment. The different settings in the park, such as the cliffs around the summit, the floor of the crater, and the historical non-native forest, kept things interesting. I worked with several highly experienced wildlife biologists who were happy to share their knowledge about all aspects of wildlife management and the paths they took to get to where they are in their careers. I also met dozens of dedicated, professional people from all career backgrounds who work for the park or some of its affiliates. Learning about the inner workings and structure of the NPS was a great benefit for someone like me who is considering pursuing a career with a federal conservation agency.
Helping to protect endangered species is meaningful work that any nature lover will appreciate. I am proud to have done this at Haleakalā and I hope to somehow support this cause again in the future. Volunteering at Haleakalā was an excellent way for me to learn more about the different types of positions within the NPS and more about nature conservation work in general. I am grateful for the experience and I believe that no matter what career path I end up choosing for myself, I will be better prepared for it because of the time I spent at Haleakalā.
Last updated: August 5, 2015