Volunteering on the May

SNH Team

Join the SNH reserve team on the May for the summer


get involved with ground counting of seabird nests (here Arctic Terns)

Puffin ringing

Learn new skills like ringing Puffins!

Visitors enjoying May

Help visitors enjoy the most of their time on the May

Arctic tern 1

Help monitor nesting Arctic Terns

West cliffs

Life on an island – do you fancy it?


Wednesday 17th February comments: Are you looking for a unique opportunity to work on one of the country’s top seabird reserves? You may be looking to gain extra skills for the C.V. to break into conservation, a student looking for a placement or even looking for a career change. Then look no further.

We are offering long-term volunteer placements on the Isle of May which will give you the opportunity to work on this stunning National Nature Reserve. You will be involved in all aspects of the May with a range of monitoring, maintenance and visitor management tasks that will help with the management of the NNR.

Tasks Which We Hope You Can Assist Us With

Main Tasks

  • Species Monitoring: Carry out species monitoring work on ground nesting Arctic Terns (studying the success rate of the nesting attempts) and may include ringing of young.
  • Recording; help to maintain the daily bird log, recording butterflies and moths, carrying out tern predation monitoring and cetacean watches amongst others.
  • Visitor management when the visitor boats are on the island. Everyday visitors are landed on the island for up to three hours. The volunteer will patrol the paths chatting with visitors to explain the natural history that they can see while ensuring visitors act responsibly.
  • Undertaking practical maintenance works as and when needed to maintain the visitor infrastructure, the field station and enhances habitats and species. This can include all aspects of the reserve from toilet cleaning to practical habitat management.

Date Required : 16th April to mid-August but length of contract and starting date can be discussed

Qualifications/skills/experience/qualitiesTo carry out this volunteer role you will need to have the following skills/experience:


  • Excellent spoken English
  • Good level of physical fitness and good eyesight
  • Ability to work on own and in a team
  • Comfortable with living on an island with a range of people for long periods of time
  • Willingness to work in all weathers
  • Willingness to learn and ask questions
  • A keen interest in the natural heritage
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Adaptability and self-reliance
  • Health and safety issues awareness
  • Knowledge of Word and Excel

What will the experience provide? There is lots more information about the Isle of May NNR on the NNR Scotland web site www.nnr-scotland.org.uk and to get an idea of the daily goings on the island you can look at the Isle of May NNR blog: https://isleofmaynnr.wordpress.com/

Further Information

Fancy a unique island experience? This is a chance of a lifetime opportunity to live and work on this special seabird island. We’ll provide you with training, uniform clothing and ongoing support from our NNR team and field equipment. We can offer accommodation and will pay for some travel including the boat to the island.

How to Apply

The deadline for applications is Friday 11th March 2016. To apply please complete an Expression of Interest form that can be found here http://www.snh.gov.uk/about-snh/working-for-us/volunteering/ and return it, with your CV to David Steel, David.Steel@snh.gov.uk or at SNH 46 Crossgate, Cupar, Fife, KY15 5HS

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