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"Never doubt that a small group of thought, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has" Margaret Mead




Are you Meant for Something Extraordinary?

Ready to make some waves? Are you a self starter, able to work both independently and as a team? Live on O`ahu, or have both a place to stay and transportation? The Wild Dolphin Foundation's boat and land-based volunteer opportunities are open to a wide variety of participants who feel conservation and environmental protection of dolphins, whales, turtles, coral reefs and ocean Dolphinshabitats may be part of their life mission.

Marine research is difficult and challenging work, and not for everyone! Those wishing to participate must be in good physical health, especially free of back and leg injuries, as field hours can be long - though very satisfying! This is an experience that delivers a unique opportunity for education, development of field ecology research skills, and enjoyment of Hawaii's marine wildlife.

Desired skills include ability to work in a conscientious, responsible and reliable manner, enthusiasitic, interest in wildlife and conservation, background in biology helpful- particularly marine biology/environmental science, enjoy working with the public, good verbal and written communication skills, and literate in computer skills. All volunteers must be self-directed and self-motivated, willing to work both alone and within a team, and have the ability to follow printed directions, have a biology degree or working towards one. If you do not fit criteria in the 2nd to last paragraph below, or give us the needed information, we probably wont answer your email. We not only just plain don't have the time - you have just failed 'ability to follow printed directions'.

Volunteers interested in field research must commit to a minimum 8 week period (applicants available for longer periods will have be considered first) and be available at least five days each week. College credit internships can be available.

Volunteers must be able to commit to one or more of the projects described below.  There is neither compensation nor a charge for the program, but we emphasize that accepted applicants must treat the position with the same dedication they would a paid job.

  • Diversify, add to, and strengthen our Board of Directors
  • Perform shore-based observations. Watching from shore is priceless and can be done anywhere there are dolphins, but the Waianae Coast is preferred to get baseline data before and after visitation to the dolphins by tour boats.
  • Design, facilitate, and/or present awareness programs at hotels. Volunteer will need to identify target hotels and may need to contact/ find other volunteers to help implement programs
  • Design, facilitation, and presentation of educational programs in local
  • Design and facilitate multi-day Camps: Dolphin Research, Turtle Treks, Underwater photography, etc. for different user groups – teens, single women, seniors, etc.

Vessel-based research takes place opportunistically on a dolphin and whale-watching tour boat - and often hire from our volunteer pool. Participation in field research includes: recording false killer whales

  • Photographing dolphin/whale dorsal fins or other identifying marks to aid with individual identifications, recording of sighting information including location name, total number of animals, number of calves, initial behavior, field times and direct dolphin observation time determining and recording of latitude and longitude by using a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and keeping track of all relevant times recording of group activity patterns during behavioral surveys assisting in unloading and cleaning of all equipment, as well as transcribing and analyzing data, reviewing dorsal fin photos and data entry at the field station
  • Contributing to all aspects of the research program, including the upkeep of materials, house or boat-keeping, cooking, cleaning, acting as naturalists while onboard vessel, etc.

Participants will gain valuable education throughout the program and will meet potential role models who work in the fields of resource management and conservation biology. In addition they will gain career experience, improve in intrapersonal skills, gain knowledge in conservation, and develop professional skills necessary for advancement in conservation and other fields. Volunteers help to preserve some of the most precious natural resources in Hawai‘i. 

Individuals interested in becoming volunteers should apply for the program by writing a letter of interest. Please include a brief sketch of personal goals (what you hope to gain), special skills, experiences, and interests you think would assist us. It is very useful to be informed about the Wild Dolphin Foundation's background and interests and point out ways that your interests interface. Please be specific about your availability; days, hours, length of commitment, and that you have both lodging and transportation on O`ahu in place. Please note that we do not provide monetary compensation for related costs, nor assist you to find transportation or lodging. Being short-staffed and busy, we usually scan for the phrase "I will be on O`ahu X amount of time and have transportation". If this is not included, we will probably not get around to answering letter. Letters of Interest should be sent to us by e-mail.

Any data or media gathered, analyzed or disseminated in any fashion while interning or volunteering under the Wild Dolphin Foundation are solely the property of the Wild Dolphin Foundation, unless otherwise cleared in writing by the Program Director.

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