Volunteer / Intern Registration

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Information About You

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... due to insurance requirements we are not able to support interns less than 18 years of age.

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Without valid vehicle insurance we are unable to assign you as a volunteer or intern in a role that requires driving.
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Proceed to review our Policies, Acknowledgements, Waivers, Release and Indemnification:

Policies, Acknowledgements, Waivers, Release and Indemnification



I. About Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR) and Important Definitions


1. Purpose  - Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR) is the registered trade name of Hawaii Marine Mammal Alliance Inc., a Hawaii nonprofit corporation with IRS 501(c)(3) designation.  As a volunteer or intern your activity and support plays an important role in the preservation, recovery and stewardship of protected marine animals in Hawaii. 


2. Purpose of These Policies and Important Definitions  - For us to be successful in our mission, it’s vital that volunteers and interns perform their duties with the same levels of professionalism, reliability, respect and adherence to policies as employees.  We are providing these policies to clearly document expectations and acceptable behaviors.  You aren’t an employee of HMAR but are expected to act according to policies just the same as employees.  We may change these policies when needed and will notify you when that occurs.  Volunteers and interns are responsible for adhering to the most current policies.


Important Definitions:


Volunteers or Interns - “Volunteers” or “Interns” are people who, without compensation or an expectation of compensation, perform a task under HMAR’s direction, on our behalf, and according to our policies.  As such, when performing HMAR activity, volunteers and interns are accorded the liability and other protections contained in the Federal Volunteer Act as well as other insurance coverage provided by HMAR to its volunteers and interns.  Volunteers and interns must have registered with HMAR’s online registration system, shall have agreed to abide by HMAR’s policies and procedures and shall have agreed to HMAR’s Acknowledgements, Waivers, Release and Indemnification.  Volunteers and interns are not HMAR employees.


HMAR Information - “HMAR Information” includes field observation information, animal information, data, documents, photos, videos, public reports of animal sightings, emails and text messages generated or other HMAR activity-related information that is provided by HMAR to volunteers, staff or interns; or that which is submitted by volunteers, staff or interns to HMAR.


Confidential Information – “Confidential Information” includes, but isn’t limited to, “HMAR Information” (defined above), HMAR activity schedule information, information about staff, volunteers or interns or their activity, information pertaining to third-party agreements, records, files, forms, policies, procedures, applications, mail lists, passwords, security codes, correspondence, messages or other information bearing HMAR’s logos and/or name.


3. Categories of Volunteers and Interns at HMAR’s Discretion  - We have different volunteer and intern roles, each with different minimum qualifications, training requirements, activity expectations and physical requirements (to comply with insurance requirements).  HMAR accepts the services performed by volunteers and interns with the understanding that we may coach, counsel or terminate volunteers or interns at our sole discretion.


II. Volunteer and Intern Management Procedures


1. Record Maintenance  - Volunteer and intern information will be maintained by HMAR.  This information may include address and contact information, training received, activity performed and other information.  If we request information from you please provide it in a timely manner and let us know of any important changes such as changes in your contact information, changes in your physical abilities or other changes.


2. Non-Harassment and Anti-Violence policy  - HMAR does not allow hostility, threats, intimidation, assaults, violent behaviors, sexual harassment or harassment based on race, religion, national origin or ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age or any other basis protected by Federal, state or local laws.  This policy applies to you as well as any person interacting with you in the course of our operation. If you are aware of any harassment, hostility, threat, intimidation, assault or violence by, or made to, any volunteer or intern, please contact a manager immediately.  If you believe you have been unlawfully harassed, let your manager know as soon as possible.  If you aren’t comfortable discussing the situation with your supervisor, you can submit your complaint to the President of HMAR.  All harassment allegations will be investigated.


3. Conflicts of Interest  - If you have, or develop, conflicts of interest with our mission or our activities, you should not serve as a volunteer or intern for HMAR.


4. Representation of HMAR, Dissemination of Information and Social Media  - Please communicate HMAR Information, photos, videos or other content obtained by you internally within HMAR using the then most current policies and practices.  If any HMAR Information, photos, videos or other content is to be posted to social media sites, or distributed to other parties where posting to social media could occur, volunteers and interns shall follow HMAR’s Social Media Policies.  If you are not sure whether a particular instance of sending or posting content would violate HMAR’s Social Media Policies, it is best not to send or post the material and to consult with an HMAR manager.


In addition, please do not:


·       Make public statements or statements to the press while performing duties for HMAR.

·       Make public statements or statements to the press at any time which appear to represent HMAR.

·       Attempt to create a coalition on behalf of HMAR with other organizations.

·       Lobby individuals, groups, organizations, or government bodies or representatives on behalf of HMAR.

·       Make agreements involving any contractual or financial obligations on behalf of HMAR.

·       Use the HMAR name to organize meetings, gatherings or social events without prior notification and approval from the appropriate HMAR manager.

·       Raise funds using HMAR’s name unless approved by the appropriate HMAR manager.

·       Publish, use or share in any way Confidential Information (defined above) without written consent from HMAR management.


5. Photography and Videography  - The collection of photos, videos and other information associated with marine animal activity are an important part of volunteer and intern activity and help contribute to important research.  Photos, videos and other information you submit to HMAR will be received with the understanding that these items are provided with a non-exclusive, world-wide, perpetual and irrevocable right and license to copy, distribute and display any photos and videos provided to us in whole or in part. HMAR has the right to incorporate the photos and videos, in whole or in part, into other works (“Derivative Works”) for HMAR’s use. Volunteers and interns acknowledge that the photos and videos submitted to HMAR may be altered, excerpted and/or combined with other materials to the benefit of the HMAR mission and objectives. Volunteers and interns acknowledge that HMAR may or may not provide credit on such photos and videos as the medium may allow, and agree to provide images that are free of watermark, copyright symbols and claim of credit.  Volunteers and interns shall abide by HMAR's Social Media Policies when posting or publishing information, photos, videos or other content to social media sites, or when sharing this information or content with others individuals where posting to social media sites could occur.


6. Confidentiality  - You are responsible for maintaining confidentiality of all HMAR Information and other Confidential Information you are exposed to by personal observation, or that is provided to you.  This information is the sole property of HMAR and may not be disseminated without the written approval of HMAR management.


7. Dress Code  - HMAR is a professional organization that deals with the public on a daily basis.  So our dress code policies are important to ensure the maximum impact and success of our activities.  Your dress, behaviors and attitudes are a direct reflection on our organization and our cause.


·       While on duty in field assignments, you must wear a HMAR field response shirt or other HMAR-approved apparel.  This is critical to ensure we maximize opportunities for public engagement and interaction, to build awareness and recognition of our organization, and so that law enforcement or other personnel may easily identify you.

·       While on duty in other public-facing assignments (such as school education activity) you will wear the professional attire appropriate for the activity.

·       If assigned to a role involving potential direct contact with animals, additional dress code and personal protection equipment (PPE) requirements may apply.


8. Drugs, Alcohol and Weapons Policy  - HMAR volunteers and interns are reminded that they must comply with all state and federal laws regarding use of alcohol, illegal drugs or weapons as defined by Hawaii State law.  Before performing any duties for HMAR, please consider that use of alcohol, legitimately prescribed or over-the-counter drugs may affect your reaction times, present a public and personal safety issue, and affects public perceptions of HMAR, our team and our cause.  When in doubt, notify HMAR so we can assign another volunteer or intern.


9. Scheduled or Assigned Activity  - Please make every effort to show up and be on time for scheduled or assigned activity.  We recognize that there may be times when being late or absent for an activity can’t be avoided.  In those cases, it’s your responsibility to contact your manager as soon as possible when you know you will be late or absent.


10. Additional Specifically Documented Policies and Procedures  - In certain cases, there will be additional policies and procedures covering specific tasks, operations or activities.  Due to the additional detail that might be needed, these additional policies and procedures will be distributed separately from this manual.  These additional policies and procedures must be adhered to just as the policies in this manual.


11. Friends, Relatives and Pets  - Friends and family members 18 years of age or older may accompany volunteers during HMAR activity so long as those individuals are not performing the tasks specifically designated for a volunteer, such as animal assessment, animal identification, engagement and education of members of the public, establishment of seal resting areas, etc.  Friends and family members less than 18 years of age may not accompany volunteers during HMAR activity. If family members or friends 18 years of age or older wish to perform tasks specifically designated for a volunteer, they should be registered with HMAR and shall have completed appropriate training for the specific volunteer activity performed.  Friends and family members, who are not registered, trained and accepted HMAR volunteer members are not covered under the Federal Volunteer Act nor any insurance coverage which may be provided by HMAR.  Pets are never allowed during HMAR activity. NOTE:  Friends and family members may not accompany interns during HMAR activity.


12. Ending of Volunteer or Intern Role  - If your association with HMAR ends, you are required to return any HMAR property (HMAR-provided supplies, printed materials, etc.) that is in your possession within 48 hours of the notice of termination.


III. Volunteer and Intern Recruitment and Placement


1. Recruitment of Minors or Court Appointed Community Service Requirements  - Due to HMAR insurance requirements we cannot accept volunteers under the age of 18. HMAR cannot accept interns under the age of 18.  HMAR is also not able to accept volunteers or interns needing to fulfill court appointed community service requirements.


2. Volunteer and Intern Screening, Acceptance and Appointment  - HMAR may employ background and driver’s record screening prior to acceptance as a volunteer or intern.  Costs of screening are the responsibility of the volunteer/intern.  Service with HMAR will begin when you receive a written, email or text notification from an HMAR manager.  You should not carry out the tasks of any position until you have been accepted, and trained for the position.


3. Accident or injury  - Any injury to yourself should be reported immediately to the applicable supervisor. If requested by HMAR, the volunteer or intern needs to complete an incident report.


IV. Training, Supervision and Ending of Relationship


1. Orientation and Guidelines  - All volunteers and interns will attend a general orientation covering the mission, purpose and work of HMAR. Orientations will occur prior to volunteer or intern field training and assignment.  All volunteers and interns must complete applicable release and policy acknowledgment forms.


2. Lines of Communication  - You should have a complete understanding of your work assignments to ensure success.  To keep the lines of communication open, and to impart important information, you are expected to read HMAR newsletters, e-mails, online postings and to attend HMAR training sessions.  HMAR management must approve any communication that uses the HMAR name, or suggests that the sender is acting on behalf of HMAR.  Lines of communication should operate in both directions and should exist both formally and informally. You are encouraged to discuss any concerns related to your position with HMAR management.


3. Ending of Relationship  - You are under no contractual obligation to continue your service at HMAR.  It is requested that if you intend to leave, you should provide advance notice of departure and the reason to your manager.  In the event that you leave your position, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, or are reassigned to a new position, it will be the responsibility of HMAR management, not the volunteer, to communicate these changes to other HMAR volunteers, interns and staff.


V. Expenses, HMAR Property and Materials


1. Reimbursement of Expenses  - You may be eligible for reimbursement of reasonable predetermined personal expenses incurred while conducting activities for HMAR. Your manager must provide prior approval for any reimbursement before any money has been expended.  Upon request, you may be provided with an annual report of the estimated mileage driven in the course of your activity for HMAR.  Certain mileage related expenses reported by HMAR may be deductible as a charitable contribution but you should consult a tax professional.  It is vital that you adhere to the policies and procedures for reporting your activity.


2. Access to HMAR Property and Materials  - If approved by your manager, you may have access to HMAR materials and property to be used in the course of your duties.  These materials and property will only be used when directly required for HMAR purposes.


VI.  Social Media Policies


The Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR) Social Media policy governs the publication of material or content (i.e. written words, photos, videos, etc.) on social media sites by volunteers, interns and staff of HMAR.  This policy also governs the distribution of material or content to third parties who may post the material or content to social media sites.  For the purposes of this policy, Social Media is defined as any communication forum for online publication and commentary, including social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, blogs, wiki's, forums and similar sites. 


Social media has become one of the most dominant forms of communication on earth.  Recognizing this, non-profit organizations are adopting the use of social media as an important way to communicate with the public, while at the same time are increasingly finding it necessary to put policies in place to protect the organization, its volunteers, interns and staff.  Non-profits are also putting policies in place to ensure that the use of social media does not negatively impact the organization’s mission, goals and objectives in which it is engaged.  Especially for organizations that work with protected species, the responsibilities that accompany the use of social media are heightened.


The posting of material on social media, or the sending or communicating of material to parties who then post such items or information to social media, carries similar obligations to any other kind of publication or commentary; therefore, it is important to have an organizational policy that is understood and followed by all HMAR volunteers, interns and staff.  HMAR has developed this policy by reviewing the policies and practices of other organizations that perform daily work with marine and other protected species and has been designed to be as liberal, or more liberal, than the practices of these similar organizations.  If you are unsure of how this policy applies to material you wish to post or distribute, please contact an HMAR staff member for clarification before you post or distribute any content.


NOTE: This social media policy does not apply to information you send directly to HMAR via email or mobile/web applications such as sighting reports, email narratives or supplemental photos and other content that is used by HMAR or our government partners in the course of our work.


HMAR-Managed Social Media Sites


HMAR will manage its own public and private social media sites as well as curated and moderated blogs.  “Official” HMAR content (i.e. information published on behalf of HMAR), will only be posted by specifically approved HMAR staff members, interns or volunteers.


It is important that HMAR manages its own social media feeds for a variety of reasons, including:


·   Ensuring posted content is curated, moderated, accurate and appropriate.

·   Ensuring contributors are identified and to prohibit anonymous postings.

·   Ensuring HMAR’s key organizational messages and its perspectives regarding the work we do are communicated so as to increase awareness of HMAR and our cause.


As a volunteer, intern or staff member of HMAR, you are free to post material to HMAR-managed sites subject to the general and specific limitations listed below. 


You are also free to post material to sites NOT managed by HMAR, and to distribute material or communicate information to third parties where it may be subsequently posted to social media sites, but your activity should be guided by the general and specific limitations listed below.  Please read and ensure you understand the specific limitations below before posting any material to social media sites, or before distributing material to third parties who may post your material to social media sites.


General Limitations


1.  Your opinion - As a volunteer or staff member of HMAR, you are not authorized to speak on behalf of HMAR or for our partners (such as government agencies) unless specifically authorized by HMAR in writing.  If you are going to use social media to voice your thoughts, please make sure your words do not imply you are communicating HMAR’s views or you are authorized to speak for HMAR.


2.  Don't post sensitive information - It's perfectly acceptable to talk about your HMAR activity and to have a dialog with the community, but it's not okay to publish confidential (as defined in HMAR policy) or sensitive information, such as animal locations, sighting dates, animals of concern, volunteer, intern or staff names, photographs of people (except with appropriate permission), etc.  This is particularly important because of our work with endangered and threatened species, privacy concerns and the importance of managing appropriate levels and types of potential human interaction with the animals with which we work.


3.  Protect your own privacy - Be aware your social media interactions carry privacy considerations and you are responsible for personal information you may be making public by your use of social media.


4.  Be honest - Do not post or blog anonymously, using pseudonyms or false names.  Use your real name and be clear who you are.  Nothing gains you notice in social media more than honesty - or dishonesty.  Do not say anything that is dishonest, untrue, or misleading.  If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, point it out. But also be smart about protecting yourself and your privacy.  What you publish will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully. Be cautious about disclosing personal details about yourself or others; your activities; your whereabouts on specific dates and times; and, with whom you may or may not have been with during these periods.


5.  Respect copyright laws - It is critical that you respect the laws governing copyright and fair use or fair dealing of copyrighted material owned by others, including HMAR’s own copyrights and name.  You should never quote more than short excerpts of someone else's work, and always attribute such work to the original author/source.  It is good general practice to link to others' work rather than reproduce it.


6.  Respect your audience, HMAR and your teammates - The public in general, and HMAR’s volunteers, interns and staff, reflect a diverse set of customs, values and points of view.  Please don't say anything contradictory or in conflict with the good work that HMAR’s volunteers, interns and staff do.  Don't be afraid to be yourself, but do so respectfully.  This includes not only the obvious (no ethnic slurs, offensive comments, defamatory comments, personal insults, obscenity, etc.) but also proper consideration of privacy and of topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory - such as politics and religion.  Use your best judgment and be sure to make it clear that the views and opinions expressed are yours alone and do not represent the official views of HMAR or our partners.


7.  Protect HMAR’s team members and our partners - When posting to public social media sites, HMAR’s volunteers, interns and staff and our partners (such as government agencies) should not be cited or referenced without their approval.  Never identify a HMAR volunteer, intern, staff member, partner or an associate on public sites by name without permission.  Follow the policies below regarding specific limitations on posting details of HMAR’s activities, i.e. surveys, sightings, seals of concern, seal moms and pups, etc.  It is acceptable to discuss general information about our activity.


8. Photos of minors - If a volunteer, intern or staff member is taking photographs of minors in the course of an HMAR education or outreach activity, the volunteer, intern or staff member must ensure that none of the minors involved has a "No Photo" request on file with the school or associated organization.  The teacher, school principal or other administrator will know to which minors this should apply. This must be done prior to pictures being taken and anything is posted to social media.


9.  Controversial Issues - If you see misrepresentations made about HMAR and our activity in social media, you may point that out. However, always do so with respect and with the facts.  If you speak about others, make sure what you say is factual and that it does not disparage that party.  Avoid arguments.  Don't try to settle scores or goad others into inflammatory debates.  Make sure what you are saying is factually correct.


10.  Be the first to respond to your own mistakes - If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so. If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as their copyrighted material or a defamatory comment about them), deal with it quickly - better to remove it immediately to lessen the possibility of a legal action.


11.  Other inappropriate content - When posting to any sites (including private HMAR sites), do not post anything inappropriate that would discredit HMAR, its volunteers, interns or staff, if it found its way into general public release.


12.  Posting etiquette - When posting additional information or additional images and videos related to a previously posted item, please post the additional information as a comment or reply to the original post, rather than starting an entirely new posting.  This makes the social media stream easier to follow and decreases the overall size of the social media stream.


Specific Limitations


As stated above, HMAR will designate specific staff members, interns or volunteers to post “official” HMAR content.  This material will be selected and disseminated based on the HMAR’s internal content posting practices. 


If you wish to post your own material or content to social media sites, or wish to send material to other parties who may post your content, the following policies apply based on the type of content being posted or distributed to other parties, and the location where the content is, or may be, posted.  


Please read and ensure you understand the specific limitations below before posting any material to social media sites, or before distributing material to third parties who may post your material to social media sites.



PRIVATE HMAR Sites (i.e. private volunteer Facebook site)

PUBLIC HMAR Sites (i.e. HMAR public Facebook page or website)


Information about or photos/videos of animals not otherwise listed below

Allowed; details of location and specific dates may be included

Allowed, 7 days after sighting; no specific locations or dates should be included

Allowed, 7 days after sighting; no specific locations or dates should be included

Information about or photos/videos of seal mom and pup pairs

Allowed.  Details of location and specific dates may be included

Allowed after weaning; no specific details of location and specific dates should be included

Allowed after weaning; no details of specific location and specific dates should be included

Information about or photos/videos of animals of concern or molting animals

(See Note 1 below)

Allowed but use judgment

Not Allowed unless approved by HMAR staff

Not Allowed unless approved by HMAR staff

Information about or photos/videos of “Permitted” activity

(See Note 2 below)

Allowed with written approval from HMAR 

Allowed with written approval from HMAR

Not Allowed

Note 1:  Animals of concern are defined as specific animals that have been designated as such by HMAR and/or NOAA.  HMAR will communicate the designation of an animal of concern within our private Facebook group page and/or emergency text system.


Note 2:  A "Permitted" activity is an action conducted by HMAR, NOAA or other organizations that require a permit under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) or the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) such as animal tagging, restraint, disentanglement, handling, rehabilitation, boarding, penning, sedation, transport, a directed “take” or other activity that would constitute a “take” as defined in the ESA or MMPA.


Acknowledgements, Waivers, Release and Indemnification


·       I am at least 18 years old.

·       I agree to be bound by all applicable federal and state laws and regulations.

·       I understand that I am not an employee of HMAR, I am acting in a volunteer or intern role and either I, or HMAR, may end my participation with HMAR at any time, with or without cause and with or without notice.

·       I understand that I do not have any authority to enforce any laws or regulations.

·       I have no physical or mental incapacity that would limit my ability to participate as a volunteer or intern.

·       I understand that I may choose not to participate in any activity that I cannot or do not want to perform.

·       I agree that HMAR has taken reasonable steps to provide training and supervisory oversight so I can enjoy activities for which I may not be skilled, I understand that no activity is without risk.  Certain risks cannot be eliminated without destroying the unique character of these activities.  The same elements that contribute to the unique character of these activities can be causes of loss or damage to my personal property, or accidental injury, illness, or in extreme cases, permanent trauma or death.

·       I understand that these risks include, but are not limited to; wild animal bites and injuries, infectious, parasitic or zoonotic diseases, trips, falls, falling objects, tool injuries, toxic chemical exposure, accidents in bodies of water, motor vehicle or vessel mishaps.  I understand the description of these risks is not complete and that other unknown or unanticipated risks may occur.  I agree to assume responsibility for the risks identified herein and those risks not specifically identified.

·       While the Federal Volunteer Act may provide limited legal protections and HMAR may provide certain additional supplemental medical insurance coverage while I am conducting official HMAR volunteer or intern activity, I certify that I am still responsible for obtaining whatever other liability and/or medical insurance that is prudent or is legally required to cover accidents, injury, death, or damage that I may cause or suffer while participating as a volunteer or intern.  

·       I certify that I am fully capable of performing the activities in which I am participating.  Therefore, on behalf of myself, my related entities, children, parents, heirs, assigns, personal representatives and estate, do voluntarily waive and release, to relinquish, to hold harmless, to indemnify and to forever discharge HMAR (Hawaii Marine Mammal Alliance Inc.) and all of its related entities, agents, directors, advisors, officers, employees and representatives (collectively, "HMAR") from any and all claims or causes of action against HMAR related to or arising from my involvement with HMAR and hereby fully and irrevocably waive any claim against HMAR, and assume full responsibility for myself for bodily injury, death and loss of personal property and expenses thereof as a result of those inherent risks and dangers of participating in these activities.

·       I understand that as a volunteer or intern, I will not receive any pay or benefits such as medical insurance or worker’s compensation other than the additional volunteer medical coverage described above which may be provided.

·       I understand that due to HMAR insurance requirements, certain activities may require me to provide a copy of my drivers license, proof of automobile insurance and to authorize HMAR to obtain background information paid for by the volunteer/intern.  I understand that any information obtained will remain confidential and will be used only in regard to determining my qualifications to perform specific HMAR activity.

·       I agree to attend any required training or meetings.

·       I consent to receive medical treatment, including first aid and emergency transport, in the event of any injury or accident.

·       I understand and agree to comply with all HMAR policies.

I acknowledge I have read, understand and agree to be bound by the terms of this document and all HMAR policies and procedures.  I agree that I am doing so freely and voluntarily, without any inducement or assurances of any kind.



Acknowledgement and Agreement

I acknowledge I have read, understand and agree to be bound by HMAR's Policies, Acknowledgements, Waivers, Release and Indemnification.  I am doing so freely and voluntarily, without any inducement or assurances of any kind.
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We are not able to process your registration unless you agree to the above items.