USGS
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
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About HVO

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Volunteer program

Volunteer Program of the
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)

Volunteer sets up a GPS receiver at summit of Mauna Loa Volcano Dozens of volunteers contribute thousands of hours each year to help HVO's staff monitor the active volcanoes of Hawai`i and conduct research on various aspects of Hawaiian volcanism. The volunteers in turn gain experience working on active volcanoes and participating in scientific research--collecting and analyzing data, building and installing instruments for experiments and volcano and earthquake monitoring, taking photographs and conducting surveys, and working on team or individual research projects.

Volunteers help install a tiltmeter into a hole about 3 m deep Volunteers range from undergraduate students to retired educators, computer programmers to chemists, and writers to electricians. People come from around the world to volunteer or work at HVO. Hawai`i's active volcanoes and natural beauty make the volunteer positions very popular and highly competitive.

If you are not a citizen of the United States the USGS Exchange Visitor Program will enable you to collaborate and work with USGS scientists, similar to volunteers.

HVO provides free lodging for as many as 7 volunteers at a time in a fully-furnished house about 4 km from the Observatory. Volunteers staying in our guest house must be willing to work for at least three months on a full-time basis. Transportation is provided between the house and HVO, but volunteers are responsible for all non-work-related travel expenses (travel to and from Hilo, Hawai`i, and travel on the Big Island and neighboring islands). Volunteers are also responsible for all food and health-care costs.

Volunteer conducts a VLF (very-low frequency) survey over a lava tube Many of the volunteer positions require work in the field, sometimes in remote areas of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and other parts of the Big Island. For these positions, volunteers often must hike several kilometers over rough and irregular ground in hot, humid conditions, or sometimes in raw, bone-chilling cold and wet weather high on the volcanoes. Also, some of the field sites are near active fumaroles, and many sites are intermittently swept by the plume of sulfur dioxide gas from the Pu`u `O`o vent--the noxious plume poses a health hazard by aggravating preexisting respiratory ailments (for more information about the plume, see Volcanic air pollution--a hazard in Hawai`i).


Please note that that the number of applications from qualified candidates often exceeds the number of available volunteer positions at HVO, so not every applicant can be selected to volunteer with us. If you do not hear back from us within one month of submitting your volunteer application to HVO, it has not been accepted. You are welcome to re-apply, or to apply for another position, at any time.

We do our best to accommodate requests and to reply promptly, but we do not have sufficient staff resources to answer all applicant inquiries individually.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at HVO.

Volunteer information

 

Type & date of volunteer work and opportunities at HVO

NOTE: If you do not hear back from us within one month of submitting your volunteer application to HVO, it has not been accepted. You are welcome to re-apply, or to apply for another position, at any time. We regret that not every applicant can be accepted and that HVO does not have sufficient staff resources to contact each applicant individually. We appreciate your understanding that the number of applications from qualified candidates often exceeds the number of available volunteer positions at HVO.

HVO supports a variety of volunteer opportunities. Although each volunteer is assigned to a research or support group and supervised by an HVO staff member, volunteers are provided with opportunities to learn about the other research activities at HVO. Check the categories of work listed below for detailed descriptions of volunteer opportunities available at HVO and to submit an application form to supervisors. You may also submit an application to all supervisors (see last entry in table below).

Type of Work Next Available Opening
Seismology Now
Geodesy/Deformation June 2016
Geophysics No Openings
Gas Geochemistry Now
Mauna Loa Geology April 2016
Library No Openings
Field Technician Now
GIS April 2016
All HVO Work No Openings
 

Volunteer opportunities with the Federal Government are available to both citizens and non-citizens.

Some universities and other educational institutions will grant academic credit for participation in volunteer projects. Student volunteers are personally responsible for making all arrangements with their instructors or department heads. The Federal Government will cooperate in this process by providing a record of specific service upon request.


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How Hawaiian Volcanoes Work

The URL of this page is http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volunteer/
Contact: hvowebmaster@usgs.gov
Updated: 22 January 2016 (pnf)