Volunteering at AIMS

Volunteering at the banding station on Appledore is sometimes challenging but always rewarding. Many of our volunteers have been coming season after season for many years.

The location of the banding station on Appledore Island is one of the things that makes the experience truly special. The scenery is spectacular and the island way of life can be life-changing. Banding station staff need adequate stamina and physical fitness for long days with a fair amount of walking over rocky terrain.

Volunteers are housed in dorms with shared bathrooms and eat their meals in the Commons with island staff, Shoals Marine Lab professors and students, day-trip groups, and other visitors. Typical stays for AIMS volunteers range from a few days to a week or so.

Volunteers at Appledore are carefully trained in a number of skills, including:

  • Safe handling of birds
  • Working with mist nets
  • Bird identification
  • Data collection and recording

While most volunteers have some knowledge of birds before coming to AIMS, the only requirement is the willingness to learn!

Dangle, Tangle and Drudge

Interested potential volunteers without previous bird banding experience are encouraged to take Dangle, Tangle and Drudge, the week-long introductory training class offered by bander David Holmes in the fall.

This non-credit course is intended to give the participants beginning levels of a variety of mist netting skills with the goal of making them capable of helping with the AIMS banding project (or others) in subsequent seasons. In this course, you will learn about handling nets, birds, and birds in nets. You will also be exposed to the basic processing techniques of identification, aging, sexing, measuring, and weighing. Classes usually consist of between two and four students so participants can get as much hands-on experience as possible.

The course lasts around 6 days and usually takes place in early September. The price for the course is approximately $600. This cost covers lodging in the dorms, all meals, and boat fees. Instructors are not paid.

Interested in learning more?

Please complete the contact form to get more information about volunteering or about Dangle, Tangle and Drudge.