Penikese Island Tern Interns: Penikese Island, MA

Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Penikese Island, MA
Job Category
Volunteer Openings
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
Interns are needed to restore rare and endangered terns to Penikese Island in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. We are seeking either individuals who are vaccinated OR two people in an existing relationship who live together. The island supports Common and Arctic terns and the federally endangered Roseate Tern; active management to protect the populations is critical to recovery. Terns are small, ground-nesting seabirds that are highly charismatic. The species we are working with nest in dense colonies and are very aggressive. They protect their nests and young by diving at, pecking, and defecating on intruders, including researchers. Extreme care must be exercised when working around their camouflaged eggs and chicks. The pandemic has forced us to adapt our typical internship program to limit exposure to and spread of COVID-19 while allowing interns to gain a variety of project planning, data collection, and data management skills. Interns will remain on-island for approximately 7-8 weeks total with one mainland break in the middle. Interns will gain hands-on field skills through activities such as include censusing of Common, Roseate, and Arctic Terns; monitoring tern growth and productivity; possibly trapping and banding; reading bands on adults through spotting scopes; monitoring productivity of American Oystercatchers; and discouragement, censusing, and monitoring of nesting gulls. Most work is conducted during daylight hours, but occasionally there is nighttime work. Early mornings, occasional long days, and changes in plans with little advance notice are normal for field work and should be expected. Interns can expect the workload to vary through the season, to work around the weather and the tides, and to work on weekends and holidays. Flexibility, patience, and a sense of humor are essential for all staff. HOUSING – Penikese interns may stay at MassWildlife’s crew house for no charge when preparing for the field season, taking a mid-season break, and when cleaning and organizing gear at the end of the season. DATES – Dates are flexible to accommodate college calendars. Our greatest need is from early May through mid-July. COMPENSATION –You may be eligible for credit or a monetary stipend through your college; however, MassWildlife does not provide financial compensation. For interns not receiving a stipend through their college, a small reimbursement for food may be available. TO APPLY – Please email the following to Carolyn Mostello ( (1) a cover letter, including the name of the person with whom you are applying, if applicable, (2) a resume detailing your education, experience (paid or volunteer), and any special skills, and (3) names, email addresses, and phone numbers of three references Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
QUALIFICATIONS – Previous experience with biological data collection looked upon favorably, but enthusiasm and strong work ethic are more important. Candidates should be organized, detail-oriented, self-motivated, and strong communicators. They must be able to work cooperatively with others, maintain a positive attitude, and able to be productive without an on-site supervisor. Additionally: • Having a vehicle is helpful, but not required. • You must be in good physical condition and able to carry heavy field equipment a distance of ½ mile for camp set-up and break-down. • You must be able to live and work cooperatively with others. • You must be comfortable living in a remote island setting with limited facilities for up to for 3-4 weeks at a time. • If you have allergies to poison ivy or pollen, you may not be comfortable at this site. You must follow all other state guidance relative to entering Massachusetts. For full details, see: As of March 22, all visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, are advised to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival. Travelers in the following categories are exempt from this quarantine advisory: • Travelers who have received a negative COVID-19 result on a test administered not more than 72 hours prior to their arrival in Massachusetts. Travelers may also test out of the quarantine advisory after arrival in Massachusetts, as long as they quarantine until receiving a negative test result. • Travelers who are fully vaccinated (i.e. who have received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 14 days or more ago) and who do not have symptoms.
Contact Person
Carolyn Mostello
Contact eMail
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