We are seeking volunteers to assist with data collection for the 2016 summer field season. This is a great opportunity to gain valuable field experience while working in the remote and beautiful Isle Royale National Park.
Duration: Approximately five weeks between early-May and mid-June.
Work Environment: Work is conducted on-trail and off-trail throughout Isle Royale. This is a physically demanding position; the climate, insects (mosquitoes and black flies), and terrain are often difficult. Volunteers may be required to carry up to 60 lbs. for varying distances (up to 10 miles per day) over trail and cross-country conditions. The primary mode of living is backpacking. Most travel is by foot.
Work Schedule: Typically spend 6-8 days in the field followed by 1-2 days at base camp. Work schedule varies depending upon conditions, project needs and logistics.
Compensation: Food stipend of $15.00/day to help defray the cost of field food you must bring with you. (There are no housing or transportation expenses once you arrive to Isle Royale.)
You are extremely unlikely to see a wolf during this job, but are likely to see moose.
Application Period: Applications must be received by March 1. Potential candidates will be asked for a phone interview by March 20. If you have not heard from us by March 31, we have selected another assistant.
How to Apply: Submit a cover letter and resume detailing educational and employment backgrounds, along with the name and contact information (email address and telephone number) of 3 work-related references. In addition, complete the Summer Intern Application Form and the Summer Intern Health Form.
1. What equipment is provided?
A. All research equipment is provided, including data notebook, pencil, map, compass, GPS unit.
B. Field work is usually most comfortable using one’s own equipment, so consider bringing your usual backpacking equipment. However, we can provide a tent, stove, fuel bottle, fuel, cook kit, backpack, binoculars, water bottles and water filter.
2. What equipment must I provide myself?
A. All your food and equipment for the current trip must be carried in a single backpack, so choose light weight items. Temperatures may range between 30 and 90F, and you may experience rain or snow. Bring clothing that can be layered to suit the conditions. Plan carefully so you have enough clothing, but not more than you need. There are no medical facilities on the island; be sure to bring any medications you require. Alert us and your field partner to any medical conditions that may require attention.
B. Any required medications, sleeping bag, rain gear (pants & hooded jacket), sturdy hiking boots, comfortable camp shoes, socks, warm hat, gloves, turtle-neck shirts, t-shirts, fleece jacket, pants (warm & light weight), long underwear, shorts or zip-off pants, “baseball” hat, mosquito head net, camp towel, small soap, shampoo, toothpaste, insect repellent, personal notebook, packable daypack, headlamp, sunscreen, pocket knife, watch.
3. How will I get to the island?
Summer Interns take the Voyageur from Grand Portage, MN to Windgo on Isle Royale. You are responsible for getting yourself to Grand Portage the night before the internship begins. We will make and pay for your boat reservation to the island. We also pay for all four interns to share one motel room in Grand Portage the night before the internship begins, as the boat leaves early.
4. What type of weather can I expect?
Temperatures will likely range between 30F and 85F. You will experience rain, and possibly snow. Bring clothing that can be layered to suit the conditions. Plan carefully so you have enough clothing, but not more than you need.
5. What is field life like?
Work is conducted on and off trail throughout Isle Royale. This is a physically demanding position; the climate, insects (mosquitoes and black flies), and terrain are often uncomfortable. Volunteers may be required to carry up to 60 pounds for varying distances (up to 10 miles per day) over trail and cross-country conditions. The primary mode of living is backpacking. Most travel is by foot.
6. May I contact past volunteers?
Click here to contact us.
7. Will follow-up contact to my application improve my chances of being selected?
A. No; please do not follow-up your original application. We will notify volunteers who have been selected between 15 and 20 March. If you do not hear from us by March 31, you have not been selected for this season.
8. What types of food should I bring?
A. All your food and equipment for the current trip must be carried in a single backpack, so choose light weight items. No open fires are allowed. Backpacking stoves and fuel must be carried. Choose items that are easy to cook quickly (< 15 min), mainly by boiling in water, and clean up easily. You may have one (or more) other people with whom to share/coordinate food. There is no refrigeration, so choose items that will not perish quickly. You must pack out everything you pack in - including wrappers, cans, boxes, etc., so consider removing extra packaging at home (bring cooking instructions). Be sure to include items that need no cooking for easy lunches in the field and on the boat to/from the island. If you are selected for the internship, you will receive a list of recommended foods to bring. During your time at base camp, we will all take meals together, eating food we provide and prepare.
9. Will I be able to do laundry?
There are no-frills laundry facilities at base camp. We can provide laundry soap.
10. Must I bring/carry all my food with me?
You should bring all the food with you that you expect to need while on the island. You will need to carry all your food for up to a 6-8 day backpack outing. Extra food may be stored at base camp. There is minimal refrigeration, so non-perishable items are best.
11. Is there a place to store extra food?
Extra food beyond that needed for a 6-8 day backpack outing may be stored at base camp. There is minimal refrigeration, so non-perishable items are best.
12. Is there a place to store extra clothes/equipment?
You may store extra clothes/equipment at base camp, but space is limited, so be sure to clear any storage requests with us before coming to the island.
13. Will I be able to send/receive telephone calls?
There is no reliable telephone contact to/from the island.
14. Will I be able to send/receive postal mail?
You will be able to send/receive letters at base camp.
15. Will I be able to send/receive email?
There is no reliable email contact to/from the island.
16. What if I get sick or injured?
There is no medical facility or pharmacy on the island. Bring any required medications with you. Upon returning to base camp, it is possible to arrange boat transportation off the island. Leaving the island for medical reasons will likely require ending your field work for the season.
17. What can I do on my days off of work?
On your days off of work, you are free to hike, read, rest, do laundry, go birding, write letters, etc.
18. Will I work with a partner?
You will usually work, camp and backpack with one other person.